Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Knowing and the Showing Up

It's the eve of my 31st birthday, the crickets are humming and I've got one thing weighing heavy on my mind this warm, stuffy, September night.

This morning, after both the littles climbed onto their yellow school bus, I picked up a treasured friend and we made our way to corner coffee shop at the edge of Northwest Portland.  Even the car-ride time was put to good use, as two women with children know, uninterrupted time is sparse; we must tackle the minutes.

So it was, over deep-cupped cappuccinos and toasted focaccia, we dove in--somersaulting into conversation about passions, goals, God's timing and the like.

In this sort of conversation with this particular friend, there is a deep-rooted place that we walk together and where words collide into heaps of fire.  We get each other when we talk our craft--her's music, mine writing, and the purpose for these giftings.

"I'm thinking of doing 365 days of writing for my 31st year."  I announced.

"You've got to be careful about acts that are religious," she said.  "Because if you fall off the wagon, the enemy wants you to feel like you've failed and that you aren't any good."

I sat for a quick moment, considering fete and failure.

"It's like you and music." I said.  "If you practice daily, you become better and better.  Your inspiration grows, your creativity widens.  It's the same in writing.  Even if it's small, insignificant, just five minutes--it's about showing up."

"Yes!" She agreed.  "It is." 

Something happens when we commit to showing up.

God can work with those who show up.

The truth is, when I initially listed no.13 on my 32 Before 32 list as "Write 365 days of the year,"  I added the hyphen "did I just write that?" and then the list ended.  I remember feeling like my list had become so romanticized that logic had taken a nose-dive out the window.

I'm already praying for more hours in the day, and considering an hourly planner.  My bed is rarely made, the kids' room scares me, I haven't menu planned in months, and I grocery shop on need-for-meal basis. Thankfully, I'm still cooking.

But what's worse than the chicken scrap pile still on the counter, or the laundry that needs to be de-wrinkled, is the know in my spirit that I should be writing. It's the regular reminder that that story deep-down still hasn't been written and is waiting quietly for me to give it narration.  The burden is more so in the knowing what needs to be done and doing nothing about it, again and again.

So this year, I'm lending myself to 365 days of writing.  I'm counting on words, chapters, chewed fingernails, neck cramps, writer's block and shitty first drafts, as Ann Lamott would say.  There will be plenty of those.

But what I know for sure is, if I show up consistently, I'll get better at my craft.

And God can choose to use me if I show up.



“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
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