I guess I never really noticed but if you think about it, life can be booooring for a child. Waiting in line at doctors offices, running errands, being yanked from one car seat to another and stuffed in uncomfortable shopping carts while aisle after monotonous aisle goes by. Not exactly their idea of a perfect day.
I was made aware of this childhood boredom recently on a shopping excursion with little C. I was looking for summer clothes for myself and you know how that goes. What could have been a quick trip, took over an hour because I kept finding more things to try on and then on the way out of the fitting room I found even more things to try on and so on and so forth.
She was great for about thirty minutes and then she got antsy. I gave her my iPhone to keep her occupied so that I could finish up my task without distraction. I have a bunch of kids games and educational apps that help me to justify throwing electronics at my child in the middle of Kohl’s.
About a week later, I was looking at the photos on my iPhone and came across these. I think you will agree that boredom can have an upside. She definitely found the upside on that terribly boring shopping trip. She made it a happy day even though there wasn’t much at the time to be happy about. If only we could all find this much joy and fun in the mundane!
Fragile. Frail. Weak. Human. Small. Alone.
These are the words I have been weighted down with lately. They lay heavy on my heart like a ton of bricks. I am so human. I am sometimes quite a mess of a human. I shock myself with how much I struggle and fight. Our flesh can overpower our faith and that’s when it must seem like a ripe opportunity for the evil one to lunge and make his move. We don’t want to be “ambushed” as my pastor said recently. It truly can feel like an ambush – a surprise attack that will catch me off guard and cause me to lose my senses. Satan wants me to think I’ve got a handle on certain sins, certain frailties. Like I am somehow “above” that one – stuff we think we would never struggle with but we are as human as the next person and completely capable of making the same mistakes. Just when we think we won’t fall for it, when all our pride is lumped up big in our throats – he comes in for the kill.
We like to make ourselves feel better. We hold onto our superiority as if it can save us. “I would never do that,” “I can’t believe they did that,” “How could he?,” “How dare they?” We compare and contrast each others sins like we are at an auction sizing up the items for sale. Then we put a value on them. That one is the worst one but this one is not so bad. And our own? Of course, they are on the “not that bad” list. I know because I do it. Sometimes it is subconscious but it happens. I have judged without even realizing it. It’s terrible but I think it’s easy to do.
I know the gut wrenching sadness that sin causes. I can safely say that in that moment when I’m hunkered down in the trenches, when I feel the hovering weight of spiritual warfare all around me and the heaviness in my chest – the ache of being fully human and realizing how wretched I really am – I know I can’t judge anyone…for anything…ever. Jesus was the only perfect one. He cleanses and forgives me of my imperfections, my daily mistakes – the ones I try to categorize, justify and file neatly away – even in the very midst of my chaos! He gives me complete and utter grace instead of the punishment that I so desperately deserve. How could I – even for a second – not hold out my hands full of that same grace to everyone including those I have judged – the fragile, frail and weak? For I am just as fragile. Just as frail. Just as weak. We are all so incredibly undeserving of His sacrifice. His cross should have been our cross.
In His love, there are no levels of value. It’s just grace…it is free and it covers all, it is everything.
“You want to know why and how I just began to write poetry – to answer this question, I should say I wanted to write poetry in the beginning because I had fallen in love with words…And as I read more and more, my love for the real life of words increased until I knew that I must live with them and in them always. I knew, in fact, that I must be a writer of words, and nothing else.” Dylan Thomas
I have recently discovered one of the few (only?) joys of packing – finding forgotten things. I found some old journals I hadn’t seen in over a decade, treasured books that I thought were lost, priceless mementos from a trip to London and memories that are beautiful and terrible at the same time.
As I read through the journals, I realized that on almost every other page I wrote about writing. I expressed my intense passion for creating stories and poetry and my need to do it. I guess I didn’t realize how long I have had this yearning in my spirit, this love affair with language. Now I am even more determined to finish my book(s) that have been “in process” for too long. I have made every excuse imaginable over the years but there are no more excuses left. I must write.
In 2002, I wrote this in my journal, “I will write everyday. I will write about nothing. I will write about everything. I will live to write and I will write to continue my living.” Writing is a part of who I am and when I don’t do it, I feel like I am a condensed version of myself – a bad substitute. I have known this dream since I was a child. Words are magic and mayhem, words can create a stirring of my soul that nothing else can, a sentence can bring me to my feet or to my knees, words can be a mirror for my soul and a symphony for my mind. These flames that burn in me to write will not stop even after the pages turn to ashes. It is who I am created to be. It is what I am supposed to do.
What is your dream that has been placed on a shelf? Get it down. Dust it off and go live it.
I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes that inspire me to write…no matter what. I love the way these amazing writers, poets and story tellers express what writing means to them.
“I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.” Richard Wright
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” Sylvia Plath
“Something interesting happens everyday. Don’t let one day pass without recording it.” Virginia Woolf
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” William Wordsworth
“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.” Truman Capote
“Every word born of an inner necessity – writing must never be anything else.” Etty Hillesum
“Life can’t ever really defeat a writer who is in love with writing, for life itself is a writer’s lover until death – fascinating, cruel, lavish, warm, cold, treacherous, constant.” Edna Ferber