Have you had a strange winter? I have! My writing was pounded out almost exclusively in my head and heart, instead of on a keyboard, and often painfully. The little blips that make life interesting and the deeply emotional experiences that drive us to our knees are supposed to motivate writers to WRITE, right? It hasn’t worked that way for me.
I had unsuccessful eye surgery followed by an unwelcome prognosis in November, and now I must make accommodations for that. Writers observe and read and write. We tend to take seeing for granted. I don’t anymore.
The new laptop I ordered in November (with the newly needed giant screen and lighted keyboard) came in December without the components I’d paid to have. A great deal of time and stress were expended getting it replaced. Then by February the new one was crashing several times a day, and it had to be returned for repair. That took longer than promised, then it came back “stripped.” I’m two weeks into getting everything reinstalled and working. A phone is not an efficient instrument for writing!
This winter, out of vindictive spite, someone very dear to me was falsely accused of a ridiculous misdemeanor, and arrested. My mind almost couldn’t comprehend it. Legal proceedings drag on toward having the case thrown out or taken to trial. Will the judge (or jury?) believe the truth or the lie? It occupies my thoughts and prayers and steals my energy. I can hardly stand to think about it, much less write about it.
A former student, one whose last response to my January blog post included a challenging comment about the “paradox of terminal illness,” has gone on to heaven. So have my husband’s last surviving aunt (his mom had 11 sisters) and the husband of a young friend with three young children. All within a month. Too many losses in such a short time. Time for introspection, contemplation, grieving, and journaling, but for me, not time for public writing.
In February we traveled to Tennessee and spent a delightful evening with old friends. One has more than 60 non-fiction Christian books in print but cannot get an agent or a publisher to even consider her newest one. The Christian publishing world is very different from the way it was even a few years ago! That disappointing news did not motivate me to write for the public, or even my blog follower friends, either.
Then we spent a week with kids and grandkids in North Carolina and were encouraged by their church work there. Then we visited my brother and his extended family in Ohio. The unfailing grace with which he deals with his chronic debilitating illness was a good reminder of how God works in mysterious ways that are sometimes deeply challenging but result in our growth and His glory. A week after that trip, we headed to Arkansas to meet our newest grandchild (#10) and spend a week with kids and grandkids there. Another time of encouragement seeing God at work in our son’s vocational ministry field–incarceration chaplaincy. It was GOOD time–time for doting, observation and participation, but not for public writing.
So it’s hard not to feel like a writing failure–or at least a lazy slacker. But I’m trying to internalize Solomon’s reminder that to everything there is a season. This winter has not been my season to write for public reading, and in spite of the demands to blog and post and just WRITE that I heard in my head and read in my writing magazines and other writers’ blogs, it just wasn’t the season. But SPRING is coming!!! That’s a NEW season!
Are you glad spring is a time of beginnings? I am! I’m ready to leave the disappointments, grieve, heal, take stock in the past, and plan for the future. We had baby chicks in our bathtub overnight before they went to grandchildren’s home on Easter–soft, fluffy, cute, (messy) baby chicks. They’re GROWING. And the hopeful little crocuses blooming in my gardens got blanketed with several inches of snow on Easter Sunday, but rain is driving away the snow, and they are virtually shouting “Spring is coming!” We expect they’ll get snowed upon again this weekend, but they WILL burst through again, and with them, hope and optimism.
I choose growth. I choose hope. I choose optimism. I choose to write again.