I am not creative.
I do not create
something from nothing.
That was done once,
since the beginning
Today, I give thanks for the gift of creativity. The desire to look at a thing and all that surrounds it and try out the combinations. What goes here? What fits there. How would these work if they were together? This isn’t working, how can I help it? How can I adjust it, reorganize it, so it clicks. So it operates. So it runs full steam ahead.
Life is a puzzle. I am the puzzler.
I do not create
something from nothing.
something from something.
And that creates me.
When you first dabble in writing, no, when you start to get serious about writing, there are questions. What should I write? What am I meant to write? How should I write it? If anyone pretends to have the right answer for that question, run. Run away quickly. Because the most thoughtful and most helpful will tell you, “You have to find your voice.”
Unfortunately, they can’t tell you what it sounds like or even where to go looking. Read, they say. Write, they say. Listen, they say. And if you’re patient, dedicated and diligent, you’ll find it. The “it” is not a thing. It’s a way. A way you are when you write. A feeling you have. A rhythm, a sound, a pitch, a tone. It’s the way you would sing if you could sing. But you aren’t singing; you are writing. And when it pours out of you, it sounds like you.
A voice isn’t something discovered in a classroom, though you can go looking there for clues.
A voice isn’t something to be inherited, though you may discover that others before you have written in their own voices.
A voice isn’t something to be grown exactly, though it can be fertilized and watered by useful application and tender care.
But a voice can go missing.
It is a bit concerning, after all the work it took to discover it, that it can up and leave. Scamper away without a trace. And there you are, searching for something you cannot see, listening for something you cannot hear, calling to something without a name. How do I find you? I miss you. I need you. I am not whole without you.
And so you sit and try not to cry. But it’s so lonely. How odd, when a few short years ago, we hadn’t even met. Now, without you, I’m not whole.
What can I do? Well, write, of course. It goes badly, at first. There are gaping holes with expressions that don’t sound like me. Perhaps they resemble an earlier, stern, factual me. They are gruff and un-inspiring, coarse and ineffective. They read like I’m trying too hard. But trying hard is all I know.
And then I cough a bit and clear my throat, and for just a moment I sound like myself. My voice! It’s still there! Perhaps I have just had a case of writer’s laryngitis – inflamed vocal cords of the writerly sort. It will take some time for those to mend. Will my voice be the same when it comes back?
All I know for sure is that I will recognize it when it comes within shouting distance. Now I see that it must be free to come and go as it pleases. How glad I am to welcome it home – for as long as it will stay.
My mother was dearly beloved by her maternal grandfather, John K. Leigh, or so my grandmother told me. Doted over, actually, and perhaps a bit spoiled. Apparently, he gave her whatever she asked.
“There was one thing she wouldn’t ask for,” Mamma told me. “She really wanted a horse, but she knew he couldn’t give that to her, so she didn’t ask.”
Why? If he loved her that much wouldn’t he find a way to get her that horse?
Until today I thought this was a story of fear. The fear of a little girl who so needed to preserve a perfect relationship with her grandfather that she withheld her heart’s greatest desire. But today, I see it differently. I think mom was so in tune with her grandpa’s love for her that, when he came near, she no longer had this desire. She was satisfied.
God says ask. Yet, sometimes we don’t. Is it because we don’t think He’ll give it to us? Afraid He’ll turn us down? Afraid he’ll turn out not to be the God we thought He was?
I don’t think so. I think we don’t ask because we’re afraid of being chastised for wrong-requesting. How dare you ask when others are so much more in need? Don’t you realize I have bigger things to attend to? Or lack of trust: Don’t you know that I have everything in hand here?
OR do we fail to ask because, from a distance, we look to God and think, there’s really nothing to be done here. He can’t give me that horse. Better shelve it and stick to reasonable requests.
The thing is, God doesn’t want us to pray from a distance. He wants us to pray up close. So much so that He’s promised to be right there next to us. And in that proximity, the asking we had in mind from a distance changes. The please don’t let it be cancer. The please don’t let it be my child. The please don’t let it be terminal. The please let there be another way…those prayers meld into one: Lord, please be their healing.
And the Lord, ever so close, bends and whispers in my ear, I am.
Perhaps He was whispering it from afar, too, but I couldn’t hear Him. Healing may come now or later. It may be complete on this side of life or be completed in the hereafter. But it will come. In fact, it is come, because the Lord of life has said so.
Today I boldly pray without reservation, Lord, be their healing. He loves them that much.