November 11, 2015
Snack. Scent. Time of Day. These are the days I’ve missed so far; I trust you would forgive me if I told you why I’ve missed them, but instead, I’d like to add them to this prompt.
You know me. I fancy myself this mysterious, hidden person, but the truth is that I’m quite transparent. I think. At least, to anyone who has read anything I’ve ever written, it should be painfully obvious that I love tradition. I don’t love it exclusively; I love it reverently. And tonight, I’m going to share one of my favorite traditions with you.
On the weekends, I write letters. I sit at the kitchen table with my pen, my scrap paper from journal projects, my doo-dads and envelopes, and I write letters. I brew a pot of freshly ground coffee (my favorite snack), light a vanilla candle (my favorite scent), turn on Christmas music (my favorite of any favorite thing I could name), and I watch the birds scurry around the back yard as the world awakens (my favorite time of day). And there, in that place, I pen a million words that have mostly never seen a postage stamp.
There’s something of a ritual to it. Maybe it’s the familiarity of these things that whispers to my soul, “you are safe here; write what’s on your heart.” Or maybe it’s the simple reminder that for all of my struggling to answer the question of who I am, I find that I already know the answer.
We are not such complicated beings as we like to think.
I do apologize, though. To all of my friends and family who are waiting on a letter that you think I’ve forgotten, I probably have started three or four, and they’ve found their way to a folder titled “letter fragments” on my desk. I have no idea why I’m keeping them.
But I think it’s exactly what I was trying to explain to a friend tonight. Writing, for me, is not simply expressing a thought or opinion. A gifted writer could, after all, argue the flatness of the earth with passion and conviction, having never believed it himself. No, it is more an exercise in fine-tuning a thought or emotion. It’s words and structure and rhythm; it is flow and pause, give and take, yes and no, is and is not. Like that elusive story of the artist who carves the elephant out of marvel without any plan: You chip away everything that is not an elephant. That’s what those sacred moments allow me–a chance to become a marble elephant. And the realization that I already am.
Father God, loving Savior, sweet Spirit; I thank You with all of my being for these gifts You give me–the coffee, the candles, the Christmas music, the birds, the dawn, the ink, the pen, and so many willing recipients. Thank You for the ability to be and to become. I am so grateful. You are so kind.