Something about sneaking up on the page

Something about sneaking up on the page

I haven’t written a ‘something’ in a couple of weeks. It becomes a lot harder to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, when you haven’t said ‘hello’ to either in a week or so.

It’s not as though I haven’t been writing. Truthfully, I probably wrote too much in March and fried my brain. A confluence of three different jobs with a similar publication date saw me writing 42 stories in three weeks. Pretty much every available moment was a story-writing or interview-conducting opportunity. I even took bus rides over car rides on occasion to try and squeeze in one more story.

Other than one time when I wrote something for respite or was preparing messages for The Big Table, it was all about counting down the 42. One story at a time.

The joy of completion gave way to a quiet convalescence. And, as with many things beyond writing, absence makes the fond heart wander.

Who has time to write? When can I make time to write? Does it matter whether or not I write anyway? I know there’s a writesomething roster and all but, hey, I have a little backlog sitting there, and it’ll give an illusion of industry while I kick back a little.

The problem with kicking back, going cold and staying away, is that it becomes increasingly easy to kick back, stay cold and stay away. The way back becomes increasingly foreign. The energy required, exponentially greater. Until you wonder why you’d bother at all.

Until, perhaps, somewhere in there, you remember: it’s something you like to do. It brings you joy. It helps you process stuff. And it’s something that feels like ‘good stewardship’.

Now you’re in an awkward place. You know it’s what you want to do, but you need to remember all over again how the words go together. Or how you even find yourself at a blank page.

So, you sneak up on it.

You make a date in your diary. You put it on your task list. Perhaps one, two or three days in a row.

You put on the right music, atomise the right essential oils, wait until the house is perfectly quiet, and write.

If you can remember how. By the way, some people stay away from the page for decades waiting for the previous paragraph to come to pass.

In Revelation 2, Jesus gives a revelation for the church at Ephesus. (I love Jesus’ specific concern and unique revelation for the seven churches — it reminds us of his heart and concern for each of our communities.)

He tells the Ephesians what He sees: great industry, patient endurance, and intolerance for evil. But the apparently fruitful Ephesians, in their toil, seemed to have forgotten why they were doing any of this. Amidst their 42 stories, they neglected their heart, their joy, the rock of their salvation.

What is Jesus’ encouragement to them? Get back to where you once belonged. Repent — the beginning of turning towards Jesus in the first place — and return to your first love. Do the things you did at first.

“When our Lord and Master, Christ Jesus said ‘Repent’, he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

Martin Luther, The first of the 95 theses

Repentance reminds us of first love. It says all over again, “those time fillers, attention-grabbers, cheap substitutes, dangling carrots, are all joyless compared to the richness of knowing you, Jesus”. It gets us back to where we belong.

We were reminded on Sunday at The Big Table:

“The most obvious and most overlooked thing about perseverance is that it only makes sense if you’re heading in the right direction. If you’re not, you’re a fool to keep going. If you are, you’re a fool to quit no matter how hard the journey.”

Mark Buchanan

Don’t quit. Write again. Love again. Remember why. Return to your first love. And to the loves that flow from your first love.

I just wrote something.

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