I’ve always loved writing and dreamed of someday writing a novel. It was more a dream than a goal, though. My eyes have been open for the opportunity, but I have not actively pursued it. I never felt I had anything to say that hadn’t already been said.
I’ve heard many times that I’m uninformed or really just don’t understand reality. I shouldn’t speak on something of which I know little. And most of what I say is just blather anyway; by the time I get to the point, nobody cares about the obsolete topic. I’ve been interrupted by people answering questions I haven’t asked because they “already knew” what I was going to say. In time, I stopped talking, or only blurted unintelligibility if someone actually asked me what I thought and then stayed to listen. I came to realize that God gave me two ears for a reason. I should listen a lot more than I speak. Even a fool is considered wise if he keeps silent. I zipped my lips and learned to listen. I read widely.
But one day words began flowing out my fingers, and they wouldn’t stop. The fountain in my head had overflowed and would not be kept down. It soon became something larger than myself. The ideas all clamored for attention until I put them in formation and lined them up under separate titles for publication. The minute I sent those ones out, more filled their places. As Churchill once said, “writing… is an adventure: it begins as an amusement, then it becomes a mistress, then a master, and finally a tyrant.” In my own life, it has quickly moved from amusement to mistress. I’m astounded at how much it affects me; I feel like a surfer riding the waves of a hurricane. It is exhilarating and scary and I cannot stop. I do not plan what will be written next; the ideas flow through me as through a conduit. I’ve merely opened the valve for them to flow. They have a tendency to consume me.
But I was shocked to find people actually reading my little essays. The people I thought most likely to follow me haven’t, and the ones I never expected, follow it religiously. Good thing I wasn’t writing to a particular audience, the way I’d been taught! I am just being me, saying what appears in my head. And it seems to work. Everywhere I go on my daily errands, people want to discuss my latest post and tell me how I’ve touched them. One person actually told me he prints them and passes them out to friends who aren’t online.
Writing has challenged me to become more than I ever dreamed possible. Oswald Chambers voiced exactly what I’ve found: “When you know you should do a thing, and do it, immediately you know more.” The day my first blog published, I understood what it felt like to have my ideas in the public realm. I felt like a new mother with the pride of ownership. And like that rite of passage, I’m now not only admitted to certain circles, but my consciousness and understanding of everyday events and conversation has expanded. Everything is somehow fuller for the experience. The concepts I struggled to express coherently in writing instantly presented themselves in other arenas simply and the world opened itself to me a little wider for my increased depth. My confidence increased. And then one day criticism appeared, and I fell back stunned for a moment. But in that same moment I amazed myself by rising to meet it head-on. I’ve conquered inner demons. Who is this person sitting in my chair? She is stronger than I could ever be.
My last blog caught me completely by surprise. It meant a lot to me, but I thought it was pretty diluted by the time it hit the streets. Controversy and commentary immediately came from all sides. Friends were phoning or emailing and strangers were clogging my moderator’s box. Everybody had an opinion. I felt like Helen of Troy, surveying the littered battlefield in Sparta and the devastation brought by the Trojan Horse, thinking, “It was just an affair!!” Do my words really have that great an impact? Certainly not in the rotations of the Earth – but in those whom it touches? Several people told me resoundingly, yes.
What hath God wrought?