Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Perfect Gift for a Passionate Writer

I've been discontented. I've been frustrated. I've felt like a fish out of water. Despite a dedicated conviction that the very best thing for my boys is for me to be wholly available during their first five years of life, the actual living out of the 24/7 mothering role whoops my butt! I need more than conversations with preschoolers. I need stimulating, thought-provoking interaction (like the kind I treasured earlier this month when I went to my very first book club meeting). My mind craves far more and I find myself adrift.

Thus, for the past few weeks, I have been thinking long and hard about what kind of direction to steer my ship, now that I am approaching the end of this long care-giving stint. I need to determine a passion and follow it wholeheartedly. I am desperate to carve out space for pursuing my own goals and gifts.

In thinking of my giftedness, I remembered a gift that I received one Christmas that was perfect for me. The only problem was that I didn't consider it to be perfect at the time. Indeed, I sort of resented receiving it.

The Christmas of my 18th year, we met with my older brother who was living in Chicago (we had moved to South Dakota). David gave my sister, Dawn, (15 at the time) a beautiful, trendy outfit. She was thrilled. I opened my present and found a college edition boxed set dictionary and thesaurus. It was truly the perfect gift for a passionate writer.

But, I remember vividly the crushing disappointment that I had not also received a beautiful outfit. I remembered feeling put out that my brain was being recognized but not my beauty. It was as if I was hearing the endless message (probably one I internalized all through my growing up years) that my sister was the pretty, fashionable one and I was the intellectual.

Today, my sons once again dragged out my beloved dictionary. They love to heft it off the shelf and look up the last page. They are blown away that it contains 1692 pages of words. The only other book upstairs that comes close to that is our Dorling-Kindersley Complete Home Medical Guide. I yell at them to leave it alone because I am afraid they will push it into the book graveyard. It is already close to the edge. The binding barely holds together and many pages are creased and almost torn.

The set, over the past 28 years, has become vital. Time after time I have reached for both dictionary and thesaurus to hone a passage or word in my writing. I would be crushed if I had to replace those books. They support and nurture one of my clearest passions - writing.

I do not have a passion for fashion or a smile for style. Indeed, I've never been mad for a fad. I truly don't care. As long as it fits and compliments my shape, I'm good to go. Plus, the price usually trumps the trend, for me.

I took time to count my blessings for the dictionary and thesaurus this morning. I imagine whatever trendy outfit David might have given me would be long gone, certainly no longer gracing my wardrobe. Yet, I turn to these books over and over. He saw my passion and he gifted wisely. How wonderful that I learned to appreciate the gift!

Now, my goal - my focus, really - is to appreciate my giftedness and lay it before the Lord for His use. I am reminded of a song written by a wonderful Salvation Army composer, William Himes, during a time when his wife was dying of cancer. I pray these words today:

"All that I am,
All I can be,
All that I have,
All that is me ...
Accept and use, Lord,
As You would choose, Lord,
Right now today.
Take every passion,
Every skill,
Take all my dreams and
Bend them to Your will.
My all I give, Lord.
For you I'll live, Lord,
Come what may.

Often I come with my problems and cares,
Running to You when distressed,
But I must bring You the whole of my life.
Lord, I must give You my best.

Life has no purpose unless it is Yours.
Life without You has no goal.
All that fulfills me is doing your will,
Knowing that You're in control."

You can listen to the song at this You Tube link.


Amy Sorensen said...

Funny you should write this. This past Sunday I taught a lesson in church to my group of 14-16 year olds about the parable of the talents. I have thought about my writing in a whole new way since then. Not that I haven't read and thought about that parable before, but somehow it struck home to me in a way it hasn't before. Perhaps if I try harder to use whatever writing talent I have to be of service to Christ, I might get somewhere instead of spinning my wheels.

Just wanted you to know you're not alone! I am feeling completely overwhelmed this summer and I know it's the lack of solitude and then I feel guilty for needing solitude. I love my kids but I have forgotten during the school year how much energy it takes to always be "on" as a mom.


Wendy said...

Amy - I, too, experience guilt over my NEED for solitude. You nailed it when you described it as the "energy it takes to always be on as a mom."