Post Script noun
an additional statement or action that provides further information on or a sequel to something.
Seven years ago, I served as the adult leader in a church youth group mission. The teenagers assigned to work with me were from across the country. They were amazing as we were thrust into a situation that none of us were prepared for. Our task for the week was to paint both the interior and exterior of the home of a man who was an alcoholic. A nasty, mean man.
I figured God must have known what he was doing, because I’ve had my share of experiences with alcoholics. Maybe I was meant to learn something from the experience, to be enlightened, and to guide the teenagers through the challenge.
A young woman confined to a wheelchair lived next door, and my crew gravitated toward her. In just a few hours the kids befriended her and learned a lot about her. Including the fact that the man she was living with was beating her.
They were afraid. For her, and for us.
We discussed whether to stay, or to work at a different site. The vote was unanimous. We left.
But, I’d always wondered if we stayed. What difference would we have made in the life of either the alcoholic or the young woman next door?
So of course, I wrote the story, imagining what was never to be in real life.
And I set that first draft aside for five years.
I’m now actively rewriting that story, thanks to a tremendous jump start through the magic of the Highlights Foundation. I participated in an on-line course led by the incredible Sarah Aronson. Eighteen of us involved in the workshop came to know each other and our stories from afar.
We gathered together last week at the home site of the Foundation, featuring cabins, a farmhouse (which I had the pleasure staying in along with a new friend, Elyse) and the Barn, where we heard lectures and ate amazing meals that Amanda the chef whipped up. (I want the gluten-free meat loaf recipe!)
Our stories were shared, listened to and critiqued by Sarah, her co-leaders, and by each other.
What a blessing it was to hear positive affirmations of my writing, my believable 17-year-old Joey’s voice. To hear words such as “crisp, visceral, strong” in describing my prose.
And to have the opportunity to offer the same to my fellow writers.
I’ve made a promise that the final draft of Joey’s story will be available to my group members to read by August 1. Every one of them offered their support and willingness to read again.
What I’m discovering through Joey is the post script. His story is mine. Mine is his.
Maybe writing this story is the lesson intended so long ago.
God works in mysterious ways, they say.