You’d be surprised how easy it is to fall out of the habit of writing.
Or maybe you wouldn’t.
Like most things, writing requires exercise. You need to keep showing up. And when you’re on vacation or traveling for work or simply intimidated by all the loud and achey headlines of the Internet it’s easy to quit showing up. Because you start to second-guess everything you plan to write.
(I’ve already deleted this paragraph and re-written it twice).
Because if we’re a body, then so many parts of us are broken and hurting these days. And sometimes I want to write about it less and talk to friends in person and around my dining room table more.
And then it becomes easier to simply focus on what’s in front of you in your real life because it’s quieter and the Internet is so loud and anyway you’ve only got 14 days to take advantage of the Ft Myers sand and surf and shells and miniature golf courses. And there are all the books to be read and the late night TV you love to watch and slowly the discipline of showing up and writing becomes less and less appealing.
One of my favorite lines from the TV show, Friends, is when Ross and Joey are shimmying down a fire escape and Joey asks Ross, “How heavy ARE you anyway?” and Ross responds, “I’d rather not say. I’m still carrying some holiday weight.”
I know how he feels.
It’s good to be present in your life. It’s good to sink your toes into the sand and exhale without a phone in your hand. It’s good to curl up with a book for hours or play Scrabble for the first time with your kids.
These are good and I’m all filled up on them.
But when you’re full like that it makes it hard to exercise your writing muscles because it’s been so long and you’re not sure where to begin.
Because it feels like there’s so much to catch up and all you’ve really got in you is the energy for 5 leg curls, and not fifty.
So last night I thought I’d try and take off some of the weight of expectations and instead commit to simply start showing up again. Every day for the next ten days if I show up and share something then it feels less like that something has to be profound, it’s enough to simply be present.
I’ll start with this story that’s been the theme for my whole summer so far – maybe I’ve already mentioned that I tend to see the world through movies?
Some people see it and process it best through C.S. Lewis or the Psalms. For me, it’s always been movie scripts that help me process the world around me. That’s what you get for having a mother who takes you out of school on important, excused absences – because there’s a movie she just HAS to see with you.
(I hope to continue the tradition).
So, I watched the movie The Adjustment Bureau for the second time about a month ago. (Yes I watch movies more than once. Just like I read books multiple times. They are like good friends – you’ve never spent enough time together).
It’s an OK movie. It does have Matt Damon in it :)
And it deals with the idea of destiny. In it’s own way the movie is trying to answer questions about free will and God by positing a world in which we have a potential million futures and a bureau of men (or angels?) who constantly adjust our choices to make sure we’re picking the best possible of all our possible paths.
There is much you could pick apart and disagree with. That’s neither here nor there.
The part of the movie that lodged in my brain is the scene where Matt Damon, who is on the fast track to the White House, is desperately trying to understand why the adjustment bureau won’t let him cross paths with a woman he met once and fell in love with. His devotion to her is a thing of beauty. He rides the same bus at the same time of day for three years in the hopes of bumping into her again.
Without her his time is all about speeches and potential grandeur.
So he asks the angel – “Why won’t they let me be with her? Why is she so bad for me?”
And the answer is what takes my breath away every time:
“Because they know she would be enough.”
Let that sink in.
They know she would be enough.
That she would fill up all the hungry, insecure parts that feed off applause and accolades. She would fill the gaps and the wounds and it would be enough. You wouldn’t need the White House or the next great book review or that raise or corner office.
There is so much power in the idea of, “enough.”
Now, I actually believe that our God wouldn’t want any future for us in which we’re pushed away from being content with enough. Scripture reads like a curriculum on finding enough in Christ, because HE is enough.
But this concept had never quite resonated with me the way it did when I heard it through the voice of this film. (What can I say? I’m a child of the movies. My mom once drew entire timelines to “explain” Back to the Future to me).
My point is simply that this season has been a season of “enough” for me. And it’s taken me completely by surprise. And is one of the reasons I haven’t needed to fill up on words the way I usually do.
This house and this piece of land with its three ponds and these people who share my quirky sense of humor – they are enough.
Pete and I will have been married 16 years this month and probably for only the last eighteen months have I lived in a place of “enough.”
The rest of the time I’ve spent so much of it desperately working and plotting and begging God and waiting and frustrated. It scares me how little I’ve lived in a season of “enough.”
But as I wake up with my cheek wrinkled from the pillow and the sound of my daughter complaining about how her eyes feel stuck together and this kitchen floor that slopes in a weird way I’ve stumbled into “enough.”
And I want to hold onto it.
Enough doesn’t feel big enough to write about. But it’s becoming my everything. This place where I am confronted by the God who always loved me the same expansive amount through every tired season before as He does now.
There is no making sense of it.
There is just accepting it, I think.
So if you’re still there I’ll keep showing up here to process and unpack (which is really the story of my life these days – so many suitcases and boxes still not unpacked). A little each day for the next ten till I’m ready, with Ross, to feel like my(writing)self again.