I read these words this past week in someone else’s writing. My heart immediately jumped. Confirmation. Me, too. God called me to write, too.
Relief. I did not just stumble into it.
In the early years, I recall enjoying penmanship, doodling, the smell of ink, the feel of paper, the fun of hurling a phrase. I also remember a poem coming like a geyser, me trying to capture it and getting into trouble with a teacher for not paying attention to fractions.
Those poems, just a fun thing to do.
Then came the many seasons when I received degrees, married, raised a family, taught school, counseled others. Just doing whatever I fell into.
Always something more pressing than writing, which waited for me like a gentleman.
Because I ignored writing for years, I had stretches of time when I felt empty. Work and people could not fill that hole in me. Do you know anything about such times? That general longing? That hole?
It was unexplainable and maybe a mute grieving.
I tried to fill the hole with activities: sketching, quilting, gardening, volunteering, church work. Nothing worked well for an extended time.
Don’t get me wrong. I had wonderful times with some lovely people as I gave those activities a sincere try. And I admit it: I smiled my way through my teaching and counseling careers. Much delight there. Meaningful, too. But still, something was sorely missing.
In The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis says …we (humans) want to be united with the beauty we see, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
United with what we see. Yes!
Truly, I did not know how to do this.
The how was missing. I needed an instruction book!
It has taken years of soul searching, group work, Bible pondering, and prayer work to discover that gratitude and God is what it takes to fill my gaping hole.
One thing that consistently woos me to God is my writing. It doesn’t matter if I write poetry or prose, a letter, a blog or a chapter. Gratitude is a vehicle for me. Writing is a vehicle for claiming God in trees, rain, sunshine, chicken soup, sad faces, happy faces.
Somehow, it satisfies my soul.
So what in this round world were the other careers and all those people in my life about? The answer comes quickly: They prepared me for the season I’m living in right now.
Let us look at July in Arkansas. This year it has been sweltering, but the butterflies stayed with us. And at last, we had banjo rains, the kind of rain that falls hard and harsh and staccato. Afterwards, of course, steam rises.
Impossible to not be grateful and have dance in my step. It rained! I did not care if I got soaked to the bone. Impossible to not see the glory of God in it. (Maybe I am getting more tuned-in? Oh, I hope so.)
A desire of my heart: to stay tuned-in and grateful for the rain, puddles, horses, mountains, good experiences, bad experiences. There is a discipline to it. I must stay ready to think grateful thoughts. Ready like a soldier.
Sure, I forget at times, but God keeps giving me exactly what I need, sometimes a mountain I’ve never climbed before. Opportunities to draw closer to Him. And when I write about it, I am linked to Christ.
I can’t have the banjo rain all the time, but I need to catch whatever is before me, whether it is a dragonfly with a broken wing, the stench of a skunk, a child’s little hand, the sun sinking low.
I want to catch whatever is right there in front of me and be grateful for it. I am finding that thanking God for it strengthens me and the art of gratitude.
So here it is:
Heavenly God, I am grateful for my readers. I am grateful for these words fluttering on this page. Thank you for calling me to write, for the desires You have put in my heart. Thank you for every urging, every reminder, every discipline toward learning my lessons. Thank you for staying close, for your immense patience with me. In Jesus’ name.
Dear readers, there is joy in becoming conscious of gratitudes. Maybe you can write, too. When I write it down, oh my! It makes it real, and it cracks open long locked doors.
My hunch is that it also changes the heart. Not the heart of God. My heart, your heart.
P.S. - Bless you as you read, comment, and share my blog. If you have not signed up yet to receive my blogs via email, go to patdurmon.com. The opportunity awaits you there.
A stack of poems and writings in process. Photo by Pat Durmon, July 2018.