Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.
– Donald Miller
I used to love Don Miller.
I’ve had many writing heroes: Hemingway. Anne Frank. Alex Haley. But after Blue Like Jazz, I felt like Don really got me. He’d written what I was trying to say.
But then somewhere along the way he changed and became what I probably shouldn’t call “MikeHyatted,” and his self-deprecating authenticity started to feel a bit canned and…commodified.
Forgive me. I got tired of feeling sold to.
But then a writer and pastor in LA I really admire named Dave Brisbin, he posts this quote from Don. “Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.”
And I’m right back there with him, resonating like a struck bell.
I’m ringing with the very proof of his statement there. The fact that sometimes you have to watch somebody love something (like this very fact!) before you can love it yourself, that’s what writers like Don do and my friend Dave, and all my writer friends, including this young mom I know named Jenelle, they remind me to love this thing called writing because it’s prayer and it’s abiding and it’s getting away to be alone with my Inspirer, the anchor of my life. And when they just speak to life their invisible thoughts and feelings, their insights birth something for my journey. I see them loving it and suddenly I want to do it.
We talk about this a lot around here. My “Higher Writers Group” isn’t getting higher for their own kicks and giggles. Well, not merely for that. They’re digging deeper and aiming higher because of what it births in someone else, in the larger group and in the world.
And Don shows me the way to do it by writing it and speaking the truth–as you do when you share yourself. And if you knew how often I feel I can’t remember the love for this writing thing or for speaking my truth, how often I forget its true value, how I can’t do this all the time without seeing someone else love it, maybe you’d feel empowered to know I need this as much or more than you do. And quite often, actually.
That’s hard for me to accept sometimes. I want to be self-sufficient. I don’t want to be prone to the same little distractions and fears and stupid old anxieties a younger man obsessed over. But I am. And now I’m supposed to be this committed writer and a coach of writers, but I still forget the joy and the thrill of it at times–and to remember, maybe I need struggling writers like Don and like you to help me see the beauty again.
I need. There. I can say it. I need…
…to get back to my center. Yes, again. And again and again. And I will never stop needing this. And that’s okay. Because that’s how it is.
Oh, I want to remember that. I want to fight for it. And know it’s necessary and vital.
So Jenelle, this is for you. Dave, this is for you. And Don, I get it. This is for you too.
Higher writers, this is for all of us. Keep going and resounding and repeating because this is how it is but we don’t have to forget if we’ll speak our need and remind others how to love this too by showing them our struggle.
It’s worth it.
For the higher purpose,