June 19, 2014
April 25, 2011
I am trying to be faithful to a promise I made to myself. One blog entry a week for the year 2011. It didn’t seem like a big promise at the moment I decided it. I knew it would take time. And intention. Care. Space. Mostly it’s been very doable.
Trying to write today has been like wading through mud. “Nothing to say. Don’t say anything,” the voice of a mentor chirps in my ear. Then I hear another voice, that of a dear friend, former pastor and award winning preacher, who says he can’t stand the “dribble” he often hears coming from pulpits when he goes to church. I don’t want to write “dribble”. God, please don’t let me offer dribble to the world.
My own voice says, “You made a commitment to yourself. Sit back down and do this.”
Do what? The dialogue in my head has shifted from annoying to agitating. “Write about your experience of writing,” I remember I learned this at a writer’s workshop once. “The experience of trying to write generalizes to many other types of struggles,” I wrote in the notes I am now thumbing through.
Okay. I am going with that encouragement. Here’s my experience today. I feel boring. Like I have nothing to say. I’d like to distract myself by gardening, cleaning, shopping, reading, eating or sleeping. I don’t feel like I have an interesting idea in my head. I am wondering why I ever thought this was a good idea. I feel vulnerable and empty. I’ve spun in circles more than a few times as I’ve walked from room to room, trying to find a way to begin.
Did that generalize to anything you are struggling with? I am imagining that we all struggle with commitments we make. At the time, they seem like a good idea. Making breakfast for the homeless one Sunday morning a month, for instance. Seems like a good idea until the Saturday night before and I’m wondering why I committed to this. I now have to get up at 5:00 am on one of the only days I can sleep a bit. But I keep doing it, because I want to be faithful to this commitment. And every time I do it, I remember why I am there and I am glad I’m there. I see the faces of those we are feeding and I am reminded that there are people who really need this food. I am also reminded that I need to do this, this serving humanity in a concrete way.
Perhaps you have made a commitment. To exercise. Visit an elderly parent. Connect more regularly with your children. Save money. Keep your bills organized. Have a daily devotion. Watch less TV and read more books. And like me, perhaps it has gone along well most of the time. And then there’s your day or time, like mine today, when the war gets waged inside and you just can’t decide how to honor your commitment. “Nobody will care if you write today or not!” my inner demon tells me. That may well be true. It’s even okay with me if it is true.
Another truth, however, is that I care that I made a commitment. To myself. I know there are times when things need to be abandoned and plans have to change. But not at the first real sign of struggle. Not just because I don’t want to. There is no legitimate reason for not writing today.
Sometimes just doing what we have promised to do is the reward. That’s how it feels to me today. If this is “dribble”, forgive me. If this has helped you continue to be faithful to something in your life, better still.
Amy Sander Montanez, D. Min.
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