Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Well, today was a better day.  Tomorrow is my birthday, but today was the day that the Sun returned to its natal place, and I was actually feeling energized and positive.  I have quit working on Missing Michaela.  My primary reason is that I just don't have any answers.  And that is what everyone wants.  Answers.  I don't know what happened to Michaela, or why.  I don't know the answers to the mysteries of the universe.  I don't know anything.  That is where I have come to.  Then there are two other problems with writing Missing Michaela.  One is that I really don't want to lay my life out there for the world -- at least not right now.  And the other is that it is just really difficult to keep going back to those day.  I've written the book several times.  I largely just need to rewrite it.  But I really don't even want to re-read it! So for now, I'm letting it sit.

But I have started working on a novel, and I am finding it to be absolutely amazingly gratifying.  I am able to just rip my heart open and pour it out into fiction in a way that I can't in non-fiction.  It is a little difficult because I know I have to make my characters face difficult situations, or there wouldn't be any story, and I'd like for everybody to just be happy.  But life isn't like that.  My heart isn't like that, and I'm writing from my heart.  It is a multilayered story, primarily involving a mother and her teenage daughter.  It's in part a study on first love versus "old" love, on loss and fear, and many other things, told primarily from the mom's point of view right now, although I will switch to other voices later.  I'm relying on Ann Lamott's bird by bird method of writing, which means I don't KNOW everything that is going to happen to my characters at this point.  I know how it will end, because I have already written part of the ending.  But my characters will have to show me how they will get there.  Of course, the mom's heart is my heart, although her life is not mine.  And the daughter is based to a great extent on my youngest daughter, who has quite an extraordinary depth.  But the life is, of course, not her life, because I have to make things happen that I would not wish on my child.

Words are extraordinary things.  I love them.  They can have such beauty, such powerful beauty.  Writing can lift me, and it can tear me apart, as can reading of course.  It's amazing. 

I feel as though I have become a great disappointment to many people.  So many have looked to me for strength, and for faith.  But here is the truth.  I'm not so strong.  I struggle sometimes to carry on.  My daughter took me to dinner tonight for my birthday, but she said she would only take me if I promised not to burst into tears in the restaurant.  And as for my faith ... well, I'll have to let you know on that one.  But I do have yet things to say, words to weave, and I hope that I may yet touch hearts with them, and that I may yet bring healing to those who are lost in grief and confusion.


  1. Sharon,

    Your feelings on writing Missing Michaela are understandable; I'd probably feel the same way if I were in your position. You are a talented writer, though, and I'm sure your novel will be an interesting read.

    I've been reading your blog for a few months now, and I must say, you have a comforting presence about you. You are frank about your struggles in life and with faith, and a lot of people (myself included) can relate to that. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but reading your blog makes me feel less alone in my struggles.

    You have been carrying a very heavy cross for a long time, and I hope that you will find the peace you desire sooner rather than later. Either way, I firmly believe that you will one day find the answers you seek. If you don't find Michaela in this lifetime (though I hope you do!), you will see her again in Heaven. The joy in Heaven is be beyond our limited human comprehension, but I imagine it's so great that we'd be willing to suffer for thousands and thousands of years just to experience one minute of the joy and the happiness we'll experience in the presence of God and our loved ones.

    You will be in my prayers, and I hope you have a Happy Birthday!

    God bless,

    Jennifer Benjamin

  2. Sharon,

    I just want you to know that you are a very courageous woman. You should never ever feel that are a disappointment to anyone. You have carried a very heavy burden for 21 years - one that a parent should never have to suffer. How can anyone be so cruel to cause a child and her family so much suffering?

    But Sharon, I truly believe that in God's world justice will prevail. I pray that He gives you the answers that you are looking for. And you are not alone in searching for these answers - we are looking for them together with you.

    You need to do what gives your heart comfort, even if it is a new project. I personally hope that you do complete your book Missing Michaela at some point. You write beautifully Sharon - God has blessed you with this gift. And what a wonderful way to honor Michaela and the special bond that connects both of you.

    I am praying that the new year brings good news. Wish you and Michaela all the very best in 2010.


  3. Oh Sharon, I so wish you could see your beauty from others' perspective. Your beauty is your honesty. Your capacity to love and forgive. Your trust. If there were more Christians like you I would not have left formal religeon.

    You have taught me so much through your words. I am comforted that I am not alone in my quest for knowing. I am comforted that there are true people of God who don't need to appear perfect in their faith. When speaking to people who are "perfect" one is left feeling lacking and at fault somehow.

    It is through your words that I have returned to prayer. I have not reached the point of "feeling" Gods hand in my life again yet...but I have come back to seeing his works in the lives of others. I think this has to do more with my disappointment in the way things have occured in my life than anything else.

    As to your new writing endeavor...I will read ANYTHING you write because you heart cannot help but shine through your words. Thank you for that.


  4. Hi Sharon,

    What a wonderful New Year's gift (and all year long) your blog is and has been to me! Thank you for sharing with us your honesty, your hope, your faith, as it ebbs and flows, and most of all, your humanity!! You can't know how much your blog has meant to me in the past year. I don't look to you for strength (though you are amazingly strong). I look to you as you have put into words the feelings I haven't been able to articulate so many times. I am so happy that you are continuing to write. Don't ever apologize, because you never disappoint. How could you when you are sharing your most precious possession -- yourself. I wish peace for you in the New Year, renewed energy, vitality, and hope for the future. I also wish for you to realize how much you have brought to so many, as you bared your soul and shared your pain and your journey. I am so grateful to you and hope to continue my special friendship with you, though you have never met me. Love, Penny V.

  5. Oh, and HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHARON!!! I smiled when you said that your daughter said you could not cry in the restaurant . . . I have had the same thing said to me from my daughters. "Out of the mouths of babes," sometimes in their simplicity, our kids know what we need, and when we need to put away our pain and live the gift of today. It's been a difficult year for you, and for me as well. But I have learned so many, many lessons, and I have gained so much depth in my soul this year. I have learned so much from you, Sharon . . . Write away for yourself and know your readers will always be there to reap the benefits as well. . . Happy Birthday!

    Penny V.

  6. Just to let you know:
    you are NOT a disappointment for me! You ARE an amazing women and - of course - mother.

    Wish you all the best for 2010 - may all your wishes come true and let it be a better year than 2009.

    and Happy Birthday!


  7. Happy Birthday and a blessed, happy new year to you, Sharon. I love your blog - I love your truth and honesty. I am also glad you are writing a novel. Someday - when the time is right you will return to Missing Michaela. For now you sound like your heart needs a break. That's ok and you are NOT a disappointment, ever. Find joy where you can - someday you will have the answers. God promises!

  8. Just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday and many blessings and great fortune to you in the New Year. And of course blessings to Michaela this year too. Thanks for sharing your discouragement - I guess I am not the only one! Thank you for provoking dialogue on spiritual issues - I was impressed with the comments from others in the previous blog.


    It must be so difficult to have a wondering heart that has been wondering where your daughter is for the past 21 years. I am so glad you have a reliable law enforcement whom you trust. I check your blog everyday to see if there is news on Michaela. And when you don't blog for a while I start hoping you are at the police department because they have the final connection on Michaela. I hope that with the turn of events in recent months something will finally lead you to Michaela.

    I think you are doing an awesome job of shining Michaela's light. There is a little girl behind the Unsolved Mysteries episode. The world wouldn't know if it wasn't for your heart openly crying out in words on these internet pages. Thank you for telling us who she is. I love her little child spirit - especially the note to her baby brother for when he turned nine! Sounds like something I would have done. I hope you will continue sharing her and your heart.

    Perhaps God is directing you to reflect on these huge events in your life, He wants you to struggle with Him. He wants you to know His heart. Why won't God lead us to Michaela????? He knows where she is!!!! I don't know, but I hope with all of us praying, He will soon answer. I pray for God to heal your heart, to hear your cries, and to bring sweet Michaela home. Maybe God wanted this time with you, now that your kids are grown and independent, so you could reflect on Him and lead others to Him through your blog. And maybe this is a good time to refocus on your long lost daughter, the pain of her loss, and the hope and will of her return. Maybe a good time to write these books. I think you are a very smart lady- you have learned a lot through your daughter's lost. I haven't read your book on listening to your smart voice, but I am confident you have a smart voice. Maybe and hopefully through your writing, you will draw the answer to Michaela yourself.

    Oh, and I all I wanted to say is Happy Birthday. You are the first stranger I have ever written to on the internet. I don't ever enter chat rooms or anything, so I am behind the times. But I am truly hoping for an answer to Michaela!!!

  9. Somewhere out there,
    beneath the pale moonlight,
    someone's thinking of me and loving me tonight.

    Somewhere out there,
    Someone's saying a prayer,
    that we'll find one another in that big somewhere out there.

    And even though I know how very far apart we are,
    it helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star.

    And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby,
    it helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky.

    Together, Somewhere out there,
    if love can see us through,
    then we'll be together, somewhere out there,
    out where dreams come true.

    ---Don't put your heel down; don't put your heel down! ---

  10. Sharon,
    I am pleased to hear you're writing a novel! What a wonderful way to express yourself. If you ever want to chat about the neuroses of a writer's mind, don't hesitate to find me.

    Here's to your latest endeavor; let go and let God...

    Penny Dawn

  11. Sharon,
    You are not a disappointment to anyone - not EVER! You are a truly a shining light, and you have taught me so much about hope and faith! I think writing a novel will be an ideal outlet for you, enabling you to release some of your emotions in a more comfortable fashion. You have plenty of friends who are willing to keep Michaela's face and her story fresh in the public's eye, so take some time for yourself, too, because you certainly deserve it!