It seems we have to carve out the space, write it in pen in our new planner from Target. The one we anxiously checked the mail for everyday and almost feels too pretty to write in. We have to tell our spouses before we get out of bed, even after pressing snooze twice, “Hey I’m writing at 7am. I won’t be available after that time.”
Because maybe if I make it out of bed and in front of my screen, the guilt will subside. The guilt when I sit down to write and realize the dishwasher needs emptying and the sink is overflowing. When I realize there are random odds and ends to eat - that could somehow form a lunch if he really tried. And so I hear him scrambling to get his lunch made and feel, you know, guilty (even though he's capable, so capable).
I feel guilt when he eats his eggs alone, after I stole some from the pan.
I feel guilt when I ask him for more coffee, that he made, while I sit on the gray couch by the Christmas tree (we still haven’t taken ours down. another thing, right?).
So it seems much of my hesitation with writing doesn’t have to do with writing at all - it’s about guilt and feeling like I should be doing all the thousand other things than fueling a passion.
And goodness, we don’t even have babies yet. Mamas how do you do it?
I used to think writing was like building a house. Even though I have no idea how you actually build a house - a girl can imagine, right? I used to think each word was like a pretty brick or slab of foundation, gradually growing vertically, until you have something people can walk inside and press their hands against. Normally, you’d wait until it’s structurally okay before inviting folks in, because then it’s safe. You wouldn’t want it to collapse or anything.
So different from writing.
With writing, that lot sits empty for a while as you survey the land. You might walk around the block, observe the neighborhood, say good morning to the little old lady on her front stoop, shop at the local convenience store for a pack of gum, before getting back to the lot to do any groundwork or bricklaying. And then all of a sudden an idea hits, a big bag of bricks and tools and nails tumble to the ground. Though they don’t entirely connect, so you’re stacking them slowly but have to keep running out to the store for more supplies. And sometimes you start over, completely, you’ll build a wall or roof and it will be demolished, maybe used for later. Maybe not.
And despite all of that, you have to invite people in. Because that’s what writing is all about - inviting people in to your messy, broken, beautiful heart.
We have to be brave enough to let people in when the foundation isn’t set and the walls aren’t up - you still have to show people what you’re making because while it might look unkempt, that is holy ground you’re walking on. It’s vital for the story. And it might not feel safe to enter, it might feel terrifying and shaky and hard to sit back down and keep typing but you have to do it. We have to do it. If we ever want our story to come to life, if we ever want the words on our heart to live long after we’re gone, we have to do this - over and over again.
And so I’m here writing, without much sense of which way is up or down. Despite wanting a fresh, new look for this space and not being tech savvy enough to figure it out. Despite being unsure of what I want the essence of this space to be other than what it's always been - a retreat for the heart. I have no clue where the words will take me. But I persevere, I sit down long enough to create.
I offer in the becoming. I welcome people in like I would a home that isn't finished yet.
I carve out the space to write even when chores and my own inner critic taunt me. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s really about time, a lack thereof and rather a problem with I how I use it and fill a day.
Do we simply let the dishes be while we hone our craft? Do we say no to things we really shouldn't be filling our schedule with? Do we take off the superhero cape and stop being all the things to all the people?
Lately, I’ve been making decisions through a filter. 2017 is my year to simplify - simplify my stuff and my schedule. I’m a “yes” person. I like to help. And while I know there will be things we just have to do, commitments we have to make - I’ve decided to try and make most choices through a simple filter: Does this draw me closer to God? Does this help me go deeper with the precious few? Does this support my love for writing and hospitality?
And what I’m finding is that these three, simple questions apply to so many things. So really, it hasn’t felt limiting, it many ways it feels like I am widening my reach without running ragged. It feels a lot like freedom. But it also feels scary as I swim into uncharted waters and say no to things I might really enjoy.
Sometimes, the writing process feels romantic - candle lit, hot cup of tea, essential oils diffusing, and quiet home. And most often, it feels a lot like right now, greasy hair, coffee that is now lukewarm, pajamas (okay, I changed from last night's yoga pants to yesterday's yoga pants) and a mascara smudged face. If only you could see this.
But this, in my tired eyes and messy hair, is offering what I have as best I’ve got.
And that’s all we can give most days.
So here’s my offering, my pouring out, my laying of bricks. It’s yours to take and walk inside and press your hands against. While it might be messy, I hope you feel welcome and necessary. I hope you know you’re enough and that I’m really glad you’re here.
This space already feels more cozy with you in it.