Tuesday, June 17, 2014
The Middle by Christie Smith
I recently read about a literary discussion group that would meet once a week in a little pub in England to discuss its members' works and other various pieces of literature. Some of the group included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. I think of writers such as Jane Austen and Emily Dickinson and I wonder why I can't write something as inspirational and life-changing as some of their works were. Then I remember that they all had something that seems to constantly elude me...time! Life was so much different for these people. They had cooks and housekeepers and nannies. Anytime a thought hit them they could stop knitting or playing cards or smoking their pipes and spend time thoughtfully constructing their musings in beautiful leather journals (don't overlook the envy dripping in sarcasm here!) They didn't have to tell their muse to go away because can't she see that there is laundry to do and dinner to cook and bickering children to referee. Who has time for inspiration in all of that? I mean, anyone could whip out a literary masterpiece if they had more than five minutes of sustained silence and a full night's sleep! (Again with the sarcasm).
My visions of inspirational writing times differ greatly from what actually happens. I'm not sitting against a tree in a beautiful field full of wild flowers and singing birds. A babbling brook does not serenade me as I rush to take down the beautiful prose it's whispering. No, usually I'm sitting on my bathroom floor with the door closed and lights off in an effort to hide from these people who call me "Mom!" I'm at the park full of babbling children trying to write the next great chapter of my book on my iPhone as the other mothers stare at me and talk about what a bad, uninvolved mother I am. I'm hurrying to write down a few lucid thoughts in between changing a diaper and wiping up a spilled drink. I know you're jealous! Jane Austen and C. S. Lewis had the freedom of pursuing their dreams as a way of life, a way of earning a living. My dream of writing will have to happen in the Middle of living my life or After the "living" of this life sleeps for a while. It will happen in the middle of raising my little ones and after supper and baths and bedtime stories. It will happen in the middle of the night and after the laundry is folded and put away along with the groceries.
Then I realize that it's this life I'm living that inspires me. Most of what I write about is about being in the midst of this chaotic life of mothering five children. Luke 6:45 (MSG) “You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds."
These words spoken by Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount couldn't be more peace-giving for me right now in my life. I don't have to set the lofty goal of publishing a book. All I have to do is live this life He gave me the way He wants me to live it and wait for Him to meet me here, in the midst of it. My "call," my inspiration, my writing is born out of living in His perfect will day in and day out. That's all I have to do.
Writing has been a lifeline to sanity for me these past few years. I never even really wrote anything (except journaling) until my last child was born. I found my voice in the middle of my life-giving life. I do have dreams of publishing a book someday, but I know that it's "who I am, not what I say" that matters. And I've experienced time and again that it's when I use this gift of writing that I find my way through the toughest times in my life, because God always meets me there...in the middle of it all.
Is there a dream you've put on hold because you don't see it happening the way you've always envisioned it? Maybe your dreams could come true in the middle of your life-giving life. It's there that God meets us and, not only gives us our dreams, but makes our dreams reality!