What we do when it all comes down says who we are. And who
you are is a writer. This work of words. All you do is this…this flinging.
What are you really doing? Anything? Sometimes it doesn’t
look like much. People’s huge, busy lives swirl around and you sit here alone.
You take so much time for this, do you realize? When all else is stripped away
do you honestly believe this is your real work, this constant grappling with
concepts extracted from a life that’s not nearly so full as others'? Would
anyone be able to take the simple scraps you choose from the heaps of the
unsaid and be able to point to why in the world you do this?
I believe you might finally find the answer to that question
once and for all today. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Now think about your writing time. Let’s say it’s now (or at
least once you’re done reading here). You’ve heard it before: now is all you
have. And you write because you believe (however weakly) it’s the work you were
It might not look like much—and sometimes it will look
bad—but all the work you do here and now makes everything else you could do, at
least for you, pointless. I know excuses can pile up like leaves but this
shouldn’t need any more establishing: your work is inspiring hearts to prepare
them for their true work.
When I was nine, my grandparents took us to the petrified
forest. Giant log-shaped rocks lay all over in the scorching desert sun.
Chemical reactions, pressure, sediment, I couldn’t follow it, but something to
do with the volcanoes and a lot of time had turned these once living things to
stone. The park center was basically a room large enough to contain all the
signs threatening imprisonment, torture and excruciating slow deaths to anyone
considering laying his hands on a piece of their fascinating wood rock
(actually, several billboards outside assured children their relatives would be
stoned and buried shallow if they so much as thought about stealing rocks). The
experience leaves such a strong impression on me that to this day, I can’t look
at a big rock without losing a little bit of my bladder. So scared I was
(petrified!) of the park officials seeing me eyeing their treasure, I crept
around the desert, my hands sweating in my empty pockets, eager to escape.
Altar boys never felt guiltier.
The more people I meet, the more I think there are unbelievable numbers of people feeling this
way, day in and day out. They haven’t chosen to feel like outcasts, or worse—suspects. But living as though they're unworthy,
and liable to be useless at parties and probably going to steal something given the
chance, they miss out on their dreams, on the party, on life.
And I think it's this certainty of hopelessness that most often makes people into real
thieves—stealing from their better selves to ward off this false belief they should be ashamed.
You’ve done it yourself. Stealing time. Stealing topics.
Stealing words. All to feed a lie.
It’s the writer’s curse. We sit to write and we can't even
see the road in front of us. Yes, we’ve proven over and over how useless we
are. How can we possibly think we’re supposed to write?
Maybe that’s just it. We can't do it ourselves.
God knows we’re useless. That’s why he’s given us everything
we have. We don’t need to steal. We’re free to steal if we want, ignore all the
warnings, even our original design, and fling out whatever words we like. But
what is really ours? Nothing. And if only we'd finally realize that, maybe we
could write what we’ve been waiting to for so long…
This isn’t stealing: take the time you need. What will it
finally take to make you realize that we have nothing else because we need
nothing else? What would you do with anything else anyway? You could have all
the wood rocks in the world but would you write like no one could ever shut you
up no matter what threatening realities they flung at you? Would you give up
this chance to make something of all the beauty in this homesick world, this
sanctuary you're asked to witness and speak to life for someone?
I know it's a dark road, but what if this was your chance,
your one chance to give back? To sit here. Alone. And to think about this.
Isn’t this why you return again and again?
Are we ever really alone?
What better place to remember the point of it
all than right here?
Write, you beautiful, child of the true King. Write, and never, ever stop.