Tuesday, May 29, 2018

I Don't Always Feel Like a Writer

It’s true, I like to make up people and put them in weird situations, where I’m the only one who can save them. Or maybe I won’t save them. For the sake of the story, I might just let them suffer the consequences of my imagination. Why do I get a kick out of this? I don’t have a god complex, nor a desire to run the lives of people in the real world. I’m not living out my need for control in a fantasy existence. On the contrary, I do it to give God control of my creative nature. I do it because it makes God smile. When I’m in the rhythm of writing, I’m exercising my calling. I’m soaring in the freedom of being who I was created to be. It’s fun and energizing. It’s also hard and exhausting and frustrating. It’s work, but it’s my work. My assignment.

I’m fresh out of a writer’s conference, which is also hard and exhausting and frustrating. But I got to hang with my people, the ones who don’t think I’m crazy for announcing a new character just told me her name. Instead, they say, “Aw, I love it when that happens.” They understand. I heard some tough statistics that made me want to stop writing. I got some good feedback on my latest project that made me more determined than ever not to quit. I met up with old friends and made new ones, learned new techniques, and suffered a few you’re-doing-it-wrong moments. For instance, this blog has a new look and a more succinct focus.

So where do I go from here? I’ll keep writing, networking, and making up stuff. And praying. That should always come first, because I can’t do this on my own. I don’t always feel like a writer. I’m just somebody trying to build a career around telling tales. But I live in the real world, and I will write about that too. Sometimes the real world is weirder than my fiction, and I write some pretty weird stories. Follow along and share your journey with me. Are you a writer, a reader, or are you simply a real-world, truth-seeking observer? I’m one of those too.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Children Learning About God

More Lessons from a Little Boy

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

My last post, “A Little Conversation” was written a couple of years ago, when my grandson was four years old. I wrote that post when he asked me if some people don’t care what God thinks. Joseph is now six, a rough-and-tumble boy, mischievous, not too compliant when it comes to chores. And he’s still amazing me with his understanding. He recently spent the day at my house, and I caught him walking out to the middle of our property to a low spot filled with what he calls flowers. Of course, they’re just the little purple-blossomed weeds that pop up in the spring. But for now, we’ll call them flowers, especially when they’re picked by small hands and placed in a jar to compliment my kitchen window. Joseph stood very still for a while then came back to the house.

He said, “Mimi, that spot in your field is my favorite place to pray.”

“It is?” I asked. “What do you like about it?”

“You know, the Bible teaches that we shouldn’t pray just to impress people,” he said. “We should go to a quiet place, like a closet, and pray alone. Or someplace in nature, I think, is good too. And your field is just right.”

So, he hadn’t picked a closet for prayer, but a field, which I’m sure was okay with God. But a few days later, he used an actual closet as he exhorted his younger sister.

The two were back at my house, and Joseph joined me in my walk-in bedroom closet to look for something. “Hey,” he said. “This is a great place to pray.” And then he ran off. I stepped out of the closet as he returned dragging his five-year-old sister by the arm. “Eliana, you need a good place to pray and Mimi’s closet is just right.” Then he shoved her into the closet and shut the door.

“Well, leave the door cracked,” she yelled, and Joseph opened the door just a bit. She remained in the closet for a minute or two, stepped out, and said, “You’re right, Joseph, that’s a great place to pray.” And then the two were off to play, sometimes teasing each other to the point of shouts and tears like any other brother and sister. But it was the rare moment of one child encouraging another to pray that I knew would stay with me. I didn’t think the day could get any sweeter. Of course, it did.

We were getting ready to take a trip out in the car, and Joseph decided he needed a bath because his feet were dirty from playing outside. I told him we didn’t have time for a bath, and that he should just wet a washcloth and wash his feet before putting on his shoes.

“Oh,” he said. “You mean like Jesus.” He ran to the bathroom, saturated a washcloth, and sat on the floor to wash his feet. Then without a word he carried the dripping cloth to the living room and sat down at his grandfather’s feet. “Take off your boots, Pops,” he said.

My husband pulled off his boots and socks, and Joseph washed his feet. Just like Jesus.

Perhaps I’ve spent too much time studying theology. I just want to be a child again.