For me a new year is an open, brand-new journal. A pretty one, because I like pretty. The prettier my journal the harder I try to make each story or poem unique. At year ends, I have a treasure house of my thoughts to read. Sadly, the more recent the journals, the emptier the pages. Somehow, I’ve allowed myself to get off track. My direction and discipline have packed up and left.
I need a plan. One to keep me on track. I though back over the previous year. My well-intended writing time had been crowded out by other things. Feeling ashamed of myself for allowing this to happen, I asked God to help me in these areas this year. An element of peace crept into me.
Then, alas, life set in.
The phone rang. My son had suffered another medical episode. I grabbed my coat and keys and was out the door in minutes. Hours later, I returned, totally exhausted. My laptop remained on the ottoman right where I left it. The discipline and direction I’m promised myself earlier shriveled up, and I flopped across my bed, only to be woken up a few hours later. My son needed care. This went on for three days. The next three days I flat-lined. Now, six days later, I retrieve my laptop from the ottoman where I’d laid it all those days ago.
Prepared to continue with my thoughts, I re-read what I’d written, but the discipline and direction no longer felt so important or possible. I prayerfully stared at my screen wondering if my writing days were withering. Self pity popped in to join me for a cup of tea. The tea was delightful, and the conversation was all one-sided. Mine. But, as the conversation moved on, little spots of light appeared and grew. Self-pity excused herself for another appointment, and my mind kicked into gear.
I have less control of my life than most people, so direction and discipline can be no more than an illusive dream. Or I can dwell on them and turn into an old hag. But I choose not to. My prayer for this year has changed to, “Lord, help me recognize the small openings in my life in which I can sit and write, and please enable my mind to kick into its writing mode quickly.”