Tuesday, March 17, 2009

writing solo

About seven years ago, I approached the head of our Arts Ministry at church and asked her if we had a writing group I could be a part of. Having recently left singing professionally because the time commitment was too much for my fledgling family, I was looking to find my voice again, and writing was as much a part of my DNA as music, so I picked up my pen and returned to the solitary task of writing.

Lonely for community and desiring the synergy that comes from creating in the midst of other creators, I decided a writer's group would be a great next step. Alas, our church's Arts Ministry did not have a writer's group, so I went away disappointed. I would have to write alone.

Always a little on the slow side, it took me a good six months before I realized I didn't need to "write off" the idea. If I wanted there to be a writer's group at the church, all I needed to do was start one. Psalm 45:1 was born in the fall of 2001, and over the last seven and a half years it has grown into a tight-knit community of deliciously quirky and delightful friends who sometimes have nothing more in common than our desire to put words down on paper. But that has been enough.

Were I to attempt to name them all, I would surely forget someone, so I will not attempt. But this group has been both a creative and spiritual touchpoint for me, and there is not a single life within it that has not touched mine. I have been blessed beyond measure that they have chosen to come hang out with me once a month, and have thanked them for it every time.

But the wind has been picking up for some time now, and I have been keenly aware that a new season is around the corner. I used to think, in my naivete, life would get easier as my children got a little bit older. Things would slow down. I could regain some of my own life again. I was not only mistaken, I was deluded. My children need me home more now, at six and almost ten, than they ever did as babies, and I need to embrace that, turning into the wind, surrendering, arms wide open, to its invisible force.

There are only a few more years left to snuggle in bed before lights out--to hear the confessions of the day, to talk about troubled friendships, to answer questions about the kinds of things I want my children to be asking me about and no one else. I need to be there for every possible moment, before those moments are gone. That means there are other moments I must miss elsewhere--writer's group, card night, working late, evening lessons. It is a trade off.

In my best moments, I have a peace about this. My children are, in truth, my highest priority and I love being their Momma. I WANT to be there. In my less certain moments, it feels a little like a death. How much more must I give up? I have laid down all that is important to me, all that has defined me, all that has given me life. What will the return on that be? Will there be a return at all?

I know the answer is yes. But I am sad tonight, nonetheless. I know these friendships will endure, and I know I will continue to write. My daughter even has aspirations of joining me--perhaps in a few years that will look like me and a group of teenage girls at a coffee shop with notebooks, who knows. I will remind myself, again, that this is not an ending--it is a new chapter. And writing new chapters is, after all, what I do best.


Lisa Biggs Crum said...

It's tough giving up what we think is ourself for what we think is for the sake of others. The funny thing is, the surrender truly does give us our true self, doesn't it? Thanks for another reminder that God's way of humanity is sometimes so very different than what we imagine being fully human is supposed to be.

Blessing on your new chapter. May there be lots of exciting twists to keep your story moving.

lorie said...

Thanks, Lisa! Your comments always help bring perspective! I know God is trying to define me in HIS terms, and I know this is part of it. I'm trying to embrace it!

I.I. said...

I wish I could have been there mnore often, but ...... will miss you! -- Alan M

Newsoul said...

Hm......interesting notes. Nice to read it.