Thursday, December 13, 2012

Confession, and a prayer

Confession time: when I hear or read about someone having a book contract, or a book being published in the next few months, or a manuscript due to their editor in a week, or anyone in any way making a living as an author, I am jealous.

I want to be purely happy for those people. They have worked hard to get there and are working hard to stay there. From what little experience I have, I know the peculiar mixture of joy and agony involved in writing. I know it is not dreams and cotton candy. It is work.

But instead of being all, "Good for you!" I'm all, "What about me?" I can't help it. I get a knot in my stomach, the hint of tears in my eyes, an ache in my bones.

I want that.

I want writing to be my home, the place I return to daily, the place I work out my life. I want it to be comfortable and uncomfortable, as only writing can be. I want to dance with the muse and wrestle with the words. I want to have the luxury and limitation of writing as a job.

And if it were a reliable source of income, hey! Bonus!

But writing is none of those things for me right now. It's just a side note. It's an infrequent vacation spot.

And so I smile begrudgingly for the income-generating writers, take a breath, and work to trust.

I work to trust that I am where I am supposed to be. To "...consider Immanuel, the with-ness of God, right where we are, not where we wish we were instead." And, truly, I am good with where I am. I'm not unhappy.

But I am a wee bit afraid. Because in the midst of the contentment in now, there is a lingering fear. What if this is all there is? What if my dreams only ever remain dreams? Will there be a time for the writing? A time devoted to making art?

Will there be time at all?

I had a dream once, of singing. Except to me it wasn't a dream. It was a reality. It was going to happen. I was going to put in the time and the work, and I was going to be a professional singer.

Except, as you may have noticed, it didn't happen. Singing is now something I still enjoy, but I do it only occasionally, and not as well as I once did. And I miss it.

There's a long story behind all of that, but the point is, I'm afraid that writing will become my new singing. I think that fear is where the sadness and the jealousy come from.

But instead of giving in to the spiral of doubt and self-pity, I point myself back to the with-ness of God. I remember the Christmas Child come to dwell with me, and reach deep for his trust and contentment and patience.

And I pray, "Oh God, gather me now to be with you as you are with me.

Soothe my tiredness;
quiet my fretfulness;
curb my aimlessness;
relieve my compulsiveness;
let me be easy for a moment.

O Lord, release me
from the fears and guilts which grip me so tightly;
from the expectations and opinions which I so tightly grip,
that I may be open
to receiving what you give,
to risking something genuinely new,
to learning something refreshingly different.

Forgive me
for claiming so much for myself
that I leave no room for gratitude;
for confusing exercises in self-importance
with acceptance of self-worth;
for complaining so much of my burdens
that I become a burden;
for competing against others so insidiously
that I stifle celebrating them
and receiving your blessing through their gifts.

O God, gather me to be with you as you are with me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the times (different yet similar) when I've celebrated with friends who become engaged or those God has decided to bless with a new baby. Oh..those babies.
While I am thrilled for them, sometimes it would lead to crying later or even in the moment my tears might be mistaken for tears of joy.
How selfish. How human. To want what we don't have. To fail to appreciate the moment and all the joy and treasures we've been given to enjoy NOW - today.

Standing with a foot in one of those arenas now and a hope to a future promise, I realize how much I take God's gifts for granted. Thank you for this gentle reminder Amy.