This is a New Chapter

Books

 

This is a New Chapter

this is a new chapter in my life / things have never been this amazing before / for the first time in my life I really feel like I am getting somewhere / for the first time, I don’t have any shadowing & lingering doubts, no fearful & shrouded questions of whether or not things will be okay / now, there is no doubt in my mind I’m where I’m meant to be

I walked into the dusty room on a late afternoon when the house was silent / doves cooed in the rafters of the old attic; slowly I made my way across the floor to the old wood chest where my grandma kept her things when she was younger / the lid creaked & I opened it revealing Pandora’s box beneath the hidden dust rewritten over the years but still spelling out the same thing / she had left this box to me so long ago (she said inside the box was everything I needed to know for life) & yet I’d never had the courage to open it & see what was inside

& to my surprise my sight fell upon stacks & stacks of books, jumbled together all shapes & colors & sizes / none of the books had any titles on them, elusive mysteries – I reach out & grasp one in my hand, feeling the sun warmed cover in the attic & seeing sparkling yellow glow of dust gently floating like feathers / I open the book & I cannot believe what I see

this book is empty / there is nothing written upon the pages, no inscription / only a black & startling emptiness / I pick up the next book & see that it is empty too / every book is the same / empty / empty / empty / her life advice was nothing; she left nothing to me but blank gaping books & disappointment

I sit on the floor my heart feeling heavy / so her life advice to me has been nothing? so she knew that life meant nothing & was nothing, & that it would be the same way for me? / I let my arm drop to my side & I rest my chin on my knees for a few minutes & breathe in the stale dusty air & feel comforting sunlight kissing my skin

& it is at that moment that it all makes sense to me, & the warmth of the book spreads up my hands & somehow finds its way into my heart & mind / only then do I understand the meaning of this gift

she has not left me nothing, but rather, everything / she has not left me with the idea that life is nothing & that nothing is the only advice she can give me / she instead gave me something much greater than a whole chestful of filled books could provide, nor a thousand hours of unquenched speeches, nor a lifetime of personal experience could give me

she gave me these blank books so that I could fill them with my own story / she gave them to me because she knew that your life only belongs to you & you have to find out the meaning of it for yourself; no one can make your choices for you, no one can help you find the path; no one can be your hero but you / here I came expecting to find heroic words written on paper that would tell me who I should be, but instead, I found a blank canvas / & that is beautiful

perhaps the emptiness is most beautiful of all at the start / where there is nothing you have the ability to create anything / where there is emptiness you have the chance to blot it out with happiness & your own light; you have the chance to make it whatever you want

these books are now mine because she wanted me to find out who I was & to be unafraid to record it & prove to myself my own reality / she wanted me not to rely on the heroism of others, but instead find this strength inside my very own soul, a strength that could sustain me no matter what happened, no matter what the odds were, no matter where I was or what I did / she wanted me to be my own hero

& so I jumped up from the floor, still clasping the first empty book in my hands / I bolted down the stairs, shouting, “I am the captain of my soul!” & as I ran, blotting out the emptiness & loneliness that had plagued me for so long, casting it off me like a dusty cloak & leaving it abandoned on the roof until the rain would wash it away & it would all be in the non-existent past

I grabbed a pen & on the first page I wrote, “today, my life begins” & sitting there on the cool tile kitchen floor, I wrote out the first page of my journey, beginning with my discovery, & ending with a promise

from now on, I am going to be the hero of my story / these blank books are mine to write in / let me fill them up with glorious stories, beautiful loves, impossible miracles that happened anyways, & the everyday profundities of life / but more than that, let me fill them up with the unending promise that no matter what, I am going to be the hero of my story

 

because after all this time, I’m not afraid anymore

because after all this time, I know I really can do this

& because after all this time, a new chapter has begun

 

© 2014 Ashlee Craft

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