I received a reply email from an author.
“Looks like I have my work cut out for me,” she wrote.
She’d been a client for several months and I’d sent my final edit laying out several things she’d need to do before and after sending it to the publisher.
Yes, you do have your work cut out, I wanted to say. Because I’ve invested some considerable time to cut it out for you.
Of course I didn’t say it. I like to pretend. I’m too self-controlled. Actually I’m too shy and insecure. But I felt it. And I felt entitled to say it because I’d given a lot. And the book was far better for it.
Was she even grateful?
Should I say something?
Then I remembered how it’s always easy to look around at the problems in the world and see the things we’d like to change. But we can only do that if we’ve first allowed God to change us. And the fear and anger in our own hearts can keep us from ever realizing the thing that most needs to change–
I have to keep saying it until I start believing it: there is only one way to change the world for the better with my truth. And it isn’t by seeking gratitude from clients.
The insight needed to see our truth and our stories requires deliberate self-discovery. Without that, they won’t change anyone. They won’t have the key to how a story heals: demonstration.
What I’m really after is not pointing out what others’ should do, but to see what I must do to finally overcome my barriers to telling my story, which means accepting my own fears and insecurities.
I wanted her gratitude because I love playing the hero.
It seems I need yet another revision.
“Who cannot give good counsel? ‘Tis cheap and costs them nothing.” – Robert Burton
Truth is, no one will care how much you know until they know how much you care. I seek to be served because my needs are what matter most when they’re all I can see.
Like everyone, I tend to feel so trapped and alone.
“One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on ‘going it alone.’ Somehow we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into ‘those who offer help’ and ‘those who need help.’ The truth is that we are both.” (Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection)
We don’t need more writers giving us answers to change the world. We need writers seeking our questions to change themselves.
And when they do, many others will be changed as well.
I say I want to help others. But what I really seem to want is their gratitude. Could reaching out for community help change the way I approach my work, my writing, my life?
The trick to all of this writing life is staying in the process. But that requires accepting help.
I did write back to my author friend. I told her that wonderfully, yes, she DID have her work cut out now! And, I said, you’re welcome. (winky smile)
I said she might need help and encouragement along the way, to stay in her process and not run away when it got uncomfortable or exhausting. Because that’s what writing means.
And I thought how accepting a calling maybe always requires help. Maybe that’s part of the refining, to realize we’ve got to seek help and use our discernment to find it. Our source of strength is always that connection to the Inspirer, but don’t we also have to give up our stubborn independence and learn to ask and receive from the friends God’s provided?
I’ve needed to stop trying to go it alone.
The last thing I told her was that I’ll be praying for her continued stamina in the journey. And then I said I’d be here–I could always use the companionship myself.
If you’re on an interior journey, you need friends to help you stay in the process.
And always welcome your fellow travelers as friends. And simply stay in the process.
Keep seeking, my friends. You inspire me and so many more as you do…