It’s the last day of November – of course I have to write today! The calendar is going to change, that new month feeling coming round again – look back, look forward, set my face… #daftwoman. But you know by now it’s what I always do – as in, ‘we’ve made it through another month!’ and ‘where are we now and what is next?’ The post 20:20 vision (interestingly from exactly 2 years ago and 40 months is the ‘what happened next that fits with it!) is the one I always choose to exemplify this habit. The stopping to take an overview helps make sense of it all, brings order to the chaos and settles that head-noise I so often suffer from. It’s what the blogging’s all about: write it out! ‘ Out is better than in’, they say, but of course that depends on what is said and how it’s done: I really do try to choose my subjects a little bit more carefully these days – which can cause constraint, but probably necessary constraint!
The headline news is Sam is still well as far as anyone can tell – at least he was the last time we saw him when he came round 3 days ago. Plus Becca’s job is going nicely too, with good reports from Brighton – we are looking forward to seeing her for a couple of days at Christmas. The family holiday season will be very short this year – especially as Martin is working all that week as well – but we can organise ourselves round that and I’ve planned the visits to our respective fathers’ houses and got their presents sorted: I have no idea what to get the kids and I’ve had my new bathroom this year, so we can’t afford anything else!
I’m not a big Christmas fan… I don’t even send cards anymore; I like the tree best – the red and gold and silver shining in the the firelight, dark nights with candles and Kings choristers – I might even put it up this weekend, which is very early for us – but then we can enjoy it longer. Apparently there are 5 Saturdays and 4 Sundays this December, which hasn’t happened/won’t happen again for 800 odd years or something… and of course we have that perfectly balanced date – 12.12.12 – to look forward to, and even the end of the world on 21.12.12 if the Mayan calendar is to be believed! What – no Christmas after all our preparations?! No release of ‘The Hobbit’ movie? Unthinkable! 😉 All the Dyers are died in the wool LOTR fans, our kids brought up on the book and the movies – The Hobbit film is going to be the highlight of our festive season!
Well that’s looking forward – what about looking back? What happened to the summer stories I was going to tell? Well – I still might, you know…. I do have a huge fund of ideas, it’s deciding what to do next that’s the issue, because by far my biggest problem is that the ‘write out’ has to come from somewhere deeper than a memory or a nice tale to tell. I realised after my last post I’d set myself up good and proper (again! again!) – as I said, ‘I manufactured a hook and put myself on it’. Whenever I do that – give myself a pre-arranged list of things I ‘should‘ do – it just becomes a burden! I am shooting myself in the foot – I just can’t write that way… not here, not in the way that honours my story. No – if this is ‘out of the heart’ it has to stay true to its tagline: to find the flow I can’t have an agenda but can only write out of what is going on in me right now. (Can you hear me scolding myself?!) Anyway, I’m certainly not living in the amazing summer anymore, but in the deepening winter, the quite exciting but also overwhelming season change, the continued uncertainty of our family journey and the unseen pressure of Christmas coming – plus trying to adjust my anti-depressants and engaged in the usual battle to stay at peace – along with Martin being under pressure at work, having hurt his back and due to fly to the US next week! Hmmm – no wonder it’s difficult to drift away to long-gone sunny days.
How many times do I have to go round this circle? Why can’t I learn to just RELAX – just be in the moment?! I should be kind to myself – poor little Sally! I should be at peace… I ought to know better! Good grief I even caught myself saying ‘I am fed up with Jesus‘ the other day! As if it’s His fault that I am so driven! As if anything could be His fault! No… He is calling ‘Come to Me and find rest’ and open your presents! Take time to breathe and enjoy living each day. He is eternally kind and doesn’t even think I am a daft woman 😉
So – I have now realised again – the whole ‘must write, must write today, must write about what I said I would, must fulfil expectations’ thing isn’t what God is saying and simply isn’t going to work! It’s the equivalent of a surfer’s ‘wipe out!’ – it leaves me gasping in the ocean of ideas with a case of writer’s block! It even made me want to give up completely for a while – but I don’t really think that is right. Instead, as Laura kindly encouraged me, there are 4 reasons for writing:
Write to discover.
There is no greater discovery than Love.
All Love comes from the Creator.
Write what you will.
A man called Ted Dekker said that – a bit like what the Artist’s Way says about nurturing your little artist and allowing the Creator to do His work through you – see Becca’s self-encouraging colourful picture below. It’s also along the lines of Buechner’s quote of Red Smith that I mentioned in a post called Taking the Pith: “Just sit in front of your typewriter (now keyboard!) and open a vein.” Oh dear, looking back at it, that post seems to be about exactly the same thing this one is about as well! – questioning motives, losing confidence, embarrassment at my wordiness and setting myself up in public… I really am going round in circles – do feel free to jump off the carousel 🙂 I know only writers are interested in writing about writing!
But just before you go I’ll quote Henri Nouwen again. Although I have used them before, whenever I have felt like giving up these lines have helped me keep telling my story – warts and all!
One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as others to see. Each human being is unique and original and nobody has lived what we have lived. Furthermore, what we have lived is not just for ourselves… Writing can be a creative and invigorating way to make our lives available to ourselves and to others. We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told – and that the better we tell them, the better we will want to live them’. Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
So let it be – and I am not going to take any notice of the little voice that says, ‘I thought you were going to write on the Bees Knees blog today? You haven’t got time now! 😉