Soon after my father died in 2013, I started writing stories that became the beginnings of a memoir about me, my family, love, and faith. A few years ago, I outlined chapters and started drafting a book proposal, and late last year I committed to intentionally carving out (a bit) more time for the writing process.
That led to starting this blog and joining hope*writers, an online writing community. Over the last eight months, I’ve participated in many workshops and read books about writing and the creative process. I’ve explored finding my audience and “building a platform.” Some of the exploration has been helpful and fun, and some, not so much. It has been easy to get distracted from what I ultimately want to do, which is write a book.
What surprised me is that over time my understanding of the stories that I wrote has changed – because I have changed. I have lived through a pandemic, 14 years of marriage, almost 13 of motherhood, and navigated a decades-long career. I have matured, forgiven people, forgiven myself, and revived relationships. I have let go of moments long lost, put old feelings to rest, and discovered new loves and deeper truths.
Friends and family often ask, “How is the book coming?” In some ways, I wish I could say it was done and on its way out into the world to be read. But honestly, I don’t think it is done because I have not been ready to finish it…yet. And so I am going to take some time to see if I am ready now.
The last book in the peacemaker’s book club is the Interior Castle. It is not a book that you grab off the shelf and start reading. Teresa of Avila, a 16th-century Spanish nun and mystic, wrote the book “under obedience” as a guide to teach people how to find God within themselves. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to participate in an online class about the book led by James Finley through the Center for Action and Contemplation. For the last eight weeks, it has been such a gift to spend quiet time reflecting on these profound ideas and beliefs with a wise teacher.
The process has encouraged me to continue to go deeper. I will be taking a sabbatical from my day job this summer, and have the opportunity to slow way down. A question James Finley posed acts as a kind of guide for me in this coming time:
“How can I learn to be someone for whom God doesn’t have to run so hard to catch up with?”
As I said earlier, it has been easy to get distracted from what I ultimately want to do. I’d also say, it has been easy to get distracted from who I ultimately want to be. I am going to try to remove distractions for a while so that I can find the words that I truly want to share with the world.
In the meantime, peace be with you.