Friday, March 28, 2014


I've been quiet lately. The tick-tap of my keyboard has been silent. My tongue has rested in the hollow behind my teeth. The picture in my mind's eye has been beige papyrus. My paint brushes have lain in the cupboard, completely dry.

I've looked at the trees down our road leading to the church. I've watched them burst into colors, and silently shed their jewels at the time when it seems they would need them most, to warm them from the stinging weather. They've been quiet lately.

I have an uncle I didn't choose. I have an uncle that my aunt chose. She's a good chooser. His wisdom, the way he understands and searches and abstracts, is the closest I've glimpsed to how God must be. The way he pauses to choose his explanations makes me think that he cannot find a method to explain the truths he has wrestled and labored to wrap strong talons around, simply because I have no language to understand. He's been quiet lately.


The quietness has come from questions: questions that you shouldn't ask during Sunday School, questions that the Yellers have answered in their screaming voices, and questions that would once make my stomach fall into that area that doesn't exist.

But now? Now they fill me with comfort-- to my brim. They are evidence that I'm now quiet-- listening, learning, opening, watching. I've finally shut up long enough to hear something.


And who am I listening to? The other question askers. I've heard enough of the black-and-white answers to questions that no one asked. I've had enough of the tight-fisted grasping of ideology and theology. My nails have dug into my palms, and my knuckles are white trying to protect my beliefs, my definitions. I was holding so tightly that I couldn't possible share anything that might benefit another.*

The question askers are honest and vulnerable, and you know what? They look like Jesus. They offer respect and see value. They dialogue and explore. And sometimes they're quiet.

*A credit to Jonalyn Fincher, who is one of the question askers, for the imagery of the posture of holding Truth.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Falling Down: 31 Days is Hard

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."-- Anne Shirley, with an 'e'

Image credit: Andrea_44 via Flickr

Oh yes, I'm glad, too, Anne. A refreshed love for October has been kindled in me this year because of 31 Days, the blogging phenomenon, started by the Nester, that has taken on the blogosphere and showed many of us who's the boss. Hint: it's not us.

Why are we drawn to it? Why are we attempting to bleed out 31 posts of provoking words, eliciting emotion, and pinnable images?

Here's my theory this year, my first year, of why it's an alluring challenge:

31 days is hard.

It's a challenge. It teaches you if you have writing chops, or writing tartare. It teaches whether you have passion for this space of internet real estate that you look at, or... not.

If you started early, with half of your posts written, I admire you. Snaps. If you started like me, with five posts done on October 1, I feel you. Snaps. If you're doing this day by day, I want to meet you. Snaps.

For many, our blogs are our songs, our stories, our diaries, our love letters to our Savior, to our friends, to our families. And if we commit to nurture, nourish, and nurse these blogs for the time it takes to produce 31 posts in a row, we can't help but learn and grow.

What am I learning?
1) My writing style evolves daily, and I love that. I'm an embracer of change, and get bored quite easily.
2) Keeping a promise and completing a challenge are more important to me than ever before in my life. And I take this as a good sign.
3) Slow & steady wins the race. I'm behind by two days, and I've fallen from the original plan; but I'm still plugging along, fully intending to finish what I started.
4) It's okay to take a break when you need it-- to enjoy, to refresh, to listen.
5) I'm learning what works for me as a writer, as an artist, and for finding inspiration. I'm learning how to write-through.

It remains a challenge, and sometimes it seems a daunting and mocking task-master. But then I remember who is the boss... the One who loves me, the One who said it was okay to take on this challenge, and I say to 31 Days: "You're my challenge. You belong to me. I'll be calling the shots."

What is 31 Days teaching you? Is your subject matter or your process? Are you writing or reading this year?