A friend asked me yesterday if I know what I am going to write before I sit down at my laptop. Not usually. I sit down and think “Well, what’s it going to be today?” Sometimes I just start typing. Sometimes I look at a blank screen for a very long time. Sometimes I get two or three paragraphs in, delete the whole thing, lather, rinse, repeat.
On rare very blessed days, I wake up with an idea in my mind, sometimes in the middle of the night, and I can’t get to the keyboard fast enough. I have a start, I don’t know where it will take me, but I know for sure that I have the topic right. In those moments, I feel like I am being instructed by the Teacher himself, as though He is pushing the words through my fingertips onto the screen, because He knows that is where I am most likely to pay close attention to them.
On other days, I get up, drink my tea, eat my oatmeal, skim Facebook, read my emails, do my Bible study, then come to my computer with a general idea of where I am headed. This type of writing is usually an extension of my Bible study, allowing my brain to explore out what I just studied, making it personal.
Sometimes my writing sorts out what is happening in my life — the death of a friend, a change in medication, a potential job. This writing usually reveals the feelings that I typically keep below the surface…the ones that are pressing to be examined…the ones that I really need to process in order to move forward.
And today, I am writing about my writing. Writing allows my soul to breathe. I learned that when I was very young, back in the days of pink diaries that locked with a little golden key. I treasured the time I could lie on my bed and write in my diary. I poured my little heart out into those cheesy little books. Somewhere along the way I discovered poetry and dabbled a little in finding just the right combination of words to cryptically express my innermost emotions. Later, poetry gave way to song lyrics, devotions, and lesson plans.
My students often asked me if I would ever write a novel. “No,” I would say. “I don’t really know how to write what’s not true.” And that’s a fact. The only type of writing I really know how to do is this — putting the ordinary stuff of life on the page in order to make sense of it.
Some people paint. Others dance. Some run marathons. Others garden. We each have to find the language of our heart and use it to say what’s inside of us. We know when we’ve found it because we can’t help but run to it, and getting there, we see that others too, miraculously, are blessed.
It’s a mystery, isn’t it? Someone could be blessed by my fumblings? Your fumblings? But they are! So, I’ll continue to fumble along.
I Corinthians 12:4
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit…