Deciding to move forward with this new blog site, to write again after a lengthy hiatus, came with certain trepidations, several rounds of negotiations between myself and myself, and no shortage of close-your-eyes-and-jump faith. The season of anonymity I found myself in had grown quite comfortable and safe- dare I say drama-free. And to be frank I wasn’t sold on leaving the respite of the calm harbor. Still, waters and words within were stirring, eventually propelling my reluctant little boat back into oceans deep.
Creativity and art on any scale is risky for the soul; add in the public element and easily I can be pulled into rough mental waters. Waters that can haunt and reek havoc on a simple pilgrim and her simple words. While my heart is to encourage, write the true and real, the knowledge of my failure to always do so well, is very present. I want to speak out of obedience not self-service; to reflect and point to my Creator, to seek after His approval only. And yet time and time again I find myself contemplating the opinions of men, which inevitably reveals all the places I have failed them. From inside the waves of doubt and fear, my pen goes quiet. But the stirring- the words- they only grow louder. Quickly, a pressure cooker of poetry, conversation and prose begins to build within, with no place to go. As the noise about my mind and heart escalates to a deafening level, I take up broom and laundry basket in place of writer’s tools. Immersing all energy and time into measurable tasks, desperate to check the box of a job done well. It is in the dwelling upon all the ways I am not enough, where instinctually the seeking out of the tangible opportunity to establish worth kicks in. Hello there organized closets and sparkling toilets.
My eyes- breaking gaze with lighthouse beacon- glance down at the turbulent waves splashing all around; I begin to sink. I know it, God knows it. I’ve betrayed Him again, squandered the call, the voice, taken the pen He himself handed me and buried it in the dirt for fear of what it may or may not produce.
For days now I have stood, and sat, and stood again before my blank computer screen. The white space staring back at me, starting to scream, write sentences of its own in ALL CAPS and exclamations!!! And with the blank page bully breathing down my neck, head and heart full with ideas, thoughts, questions…paralyzing fear…I retreat again to the to-do list. Check off another box in frustration. This morning, amidst more spring cleaning and the constant chorus of need coming from the three darlings now home on summer break, my thoughts wandered to one of my favorite exchanges between Jesus and Peter. Even in the turning of my mind, eyes snap back on Him, forgetting the waves for a moment.
Do you love me more than these?
Tend my lambs.
Do you love me?
Shepherd my sheep.
Do you love me?
Tend my sheep.*
There in the middle of my laundry room, the weight of Jesus’s words penetrating afresh, I find my sea legs. Slowly, words march out across the white flickering canvas.
Experience and a dose of self-awareness remind, rough waters still abound, most likely even rising in fury before they calm. And though the harbor of the anonymous may pull at my sails when I allow fear to wash up over the sides of my mind, I am resolved to stay the course. No doubt, it is a messy course full of scattered thoughts, and uncomfortable vulnerability, but its the one set before me. There are lambs to tend, sheep to shepherd, words to share and wonder to chase after.
In all sincerity, I thank you friends for coming alongside as you do, ask your forgiveness when I let you down, and hope with everything we continue to navigate these adventurous waters together.
*excerpts from the gospel of John, chapter 21