"If Only I Could Write"
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
James McGrady (Jim) described being inspired by the Holy Spirit to give voice to deep yearnings to overcome separations and lostness. His response to write a prose poem led to its public reading by Pastor Drew Shelley at the close of the Society Meeting on February 11, 2018. The poignancy of the message and Jim’s backstory are published here.
During the 8:30am church service on February 11, I was restless, had trouble being attentive. Then a "headline" came to me, "If only I could Write." I jotted the term on my worship bulletin; my restlessness disappeared; I was able to focus. This all happened early in the order of worship, prior to Pastor Drew’s sermon that culminated the series on the prodigal family.
Afterward, when my wife Jackie and I got into the car, I shared the inspired headline and said I knew I was supposed to write that day, but didn't know if it would be a song, a poem, or a story. I became more comfortable with not knowing, feeling confident that, when I got home and sat down with pen and paper, the message would come.
"If Only I Could Write" was the result, a poetic voice given to me through the Holy Spirit and written quickly with few revisions.
I thank Drew for sharing this work with worshipers at the end of that evening’s Society Meeting. I hope others see and feel what I did.
Months before composing this prose poem, I wrote two songs, "Carpenter" and "Stained Glass," and showed them to Kimberly White, hoping they will be shared publicly when the time is right. The two songs are special to me and were prompted likewise by the Holy Spirit.
"If Only I Could Write"
February 11, 2018
If only I could write, I would tell you I am too afraid to talk to you.
I would tell you I am lonely, tired, and not sure I am worth your time.
I would tell you I am ashamed of my past, so I keep to myself.
If I could write, I would send a letter to my children to say how much I miss them.
I would tell them I am sorry I didn’t do a better job when they were young.
Oh, if only I could write, I would tell my family how proud I am of them.
If I could write, I would let you know what a nice car I think you have,
as I see you pull into the church parking lot. I would let you know I love
the laughter I hear as you leave church with your family.
If I could write, I would tell you I was the person in clothes
that don’t look so great but are all that I have.
I would share what has happened in my life to make me who I am.
If I could write, I would be honest and let you know how much I wish
someone would invite me in. I would let you know
I will not hurt you. I would love to have a friend.
If only I could write, I would tell you I am alone again.
On the corner.
Sitting on the bench.
Walking down the road.
Trying to get a ride.
The Parking lot is empty.
If only I could write.