Six months . . .
Six months is a long time to be silent. It has been six months since I last wrote a blog. That is a long time . . . in the blog-o-sphere that is death warrant certain to kill one’s readership; but, it has been six months since I last wrote a blog.
For a long time I thought that the cause of my silence was a “writer’s block”. Every writer goes through a writer’s block . . . it is a part of the “gift” of being a writer . . . or, as in my case, the desire to be a writer. Yet, in the end, I have determined that it is not a “writer’s block”. No, in the past six months I have written quite a bit . . . just not on this blog. I have written a sermon for each Sunday since I quit writing on the blog . . . and, in my humble opinion, many of those sermons were quite worthy. If anyone would like to check them out they can go to this LINK. For those keeping count, that is approximately one sermon a week for nearly 24 weeks . . . nope, the writing was still. I also wrote a weekly column for my church’s weekly digital newsletter . . . that is another 24 entries into the world of writing. If you are interested in reading any of those you can subscribe to the newsletter—which is free—at this LINK. Apparently whatever the cause of my silence on my blog for six months really had nothing to do with “writer’s block” . . . Shoot! I was averaging two blog-length writings a week during that time. Writer’s with “writer’s block” do not crank out sermons and columns . . . no, they bang their heads against the wall.
“Writer’s block” cannot be blamed for the writer’s silence . . . no, I think it has been something deeper . . . something below still waters.
I think that I am going to blame it on being “adrift”.
Let me explain. In the past year I have read two books by a Billings author named Craig Lancaster . . . 600 Hours of Edward and Edward Adrift. As I guess you can determine, the two books were about a character named Edward. Edward is quite a character . . . a frustrating one . . . especially in the first book. Edward is an individual who is on the autism spectrum . . . and, both books are written from his perspective. If you know anything about autism you will understand what I am attempting to convey about the style of the book and its main character. If you can get beyond the quirkiness of the main character’s disability, the books are well worth the time and effort. They are both excellent stories.
In the first book, Edward is dealing with life . . . basically six hundred hours of his life . . . about a month in his life. Order and ritual is a fundamental foundation of his life . . . routine is his anchor . . . everything in its place, everyone in their role . . . and, life is good. In the first book this begins to fall apart . . . Edward crumbles . . . things change. In the second book, the crumbling of his life continues and suddenly nothing makes any sense to Edward . . . he is adrift. Then he gets a call from his ex-neighbor to come and help them with their son . . . a son who has gone adrift in the move to a new city and life. From there the adventures begin as Edward attempts to right the boat, end the drifting, and get his life back. It is quite an adventure. To really understand the story I encourage you to read the books . . . it will be worth your time.
Bottom line . . . Edward’s life is turned upside down when all of the anchor points in his life are destroyed. They are destroyed through the death of his father, the neighbors moving, his mother being gone half of the year, and losing his job. Nothing is as it was before . . . everything has changed . . . changed when Edward thought he had it all figured out. Someone upset the mobile, and now it was spinning uncontrollably.
I really identified with Edward in Edward Adrift. I could identify with his fear . . . his frustration . . . his anger . . . his sense of loss . . . his sense of being afloat in a vast sea with no way to direct his vessel to a place of safety . . . a place of belonging. For a while now, I have felt adrift . . . adrift in life.
I am not sure that that much in my life has really changed . . . things are still just as hectic as they have always been. That is my life. Yet, I feel adrift . . . lost out in sea. I am not sure if there is any one area of life that I can pinpoint as the main culprit . . . I mean, my life is going on pretty much as it always has; yet, I feel adrift.
And, maybe that is the problem. I am all over the map when it comes to my life. Mine is a life of many hats . . . I am a father with six children (four children and two of their spouses) . . . I am a grandfather of four grandchildren with two of them living in other states . . . I am a spouse . . . I am a preacher of a church, a nice church . . . I am an employee at one of Montana’s universities in which I wear three different hats (of which each hat represents a full-time job) . . . Plenty to keep anyone busy 24-7-365! I am here, there, and everywhere! Some days I have to stop and think about where I am and which role I am in. And, within each of those roles there is plenty that is up and down, high and low, and spinning out of control. It is hard to set anchor when one is roaming all over the map. Nothing seems connected . . . nothing seems related.
As a follower of Jesus . . . as pastor . . . as a child of God . . . I believe that my task in life is to discover who it is that God created me to be. It is in that that I truly believe I will find my anchor . . . that I will find my home . . . that I will no longer be adrift. I believe that God calls all of us . . . all of God’s children . . . to that goal. I think that that is the key to faith and living life as God wants us to live. We are supposed to love others as we love ourselves, but if we can’t find ourselves . . . well it is hard to love ourselves . . . it is hard to love others. Most of us spend our lives “adrift”.
I guess it is a matter of congruency . . . a matter of living one’s life in accordance with who God created him or her to be. The tough part is figuring out who God created him or her to be. That is where one is “adrift”. There is not a whole lot to say when one isn’t too sure who he or she is . . . when one is “adrift”. Sometimes the silence can be deafening.
There comes a time when one becomes tired of trying to stay afloat . . . tired of drifting aimlessly . . . tired of the silence. There comes a time when one has to cry out against the silence . . . even if it is to only hear his or her own voice . . . a time to quit drifting. I am not sure if it has been the events of the past couple of months . . . or the past couple of hours; but, I have come to a point that in which it is time to begin. Time to begin to discover that which is my center . . . my heart . . . my anchor . . . my home . . . and, who I am. Time to begin living as God created me to be. Time to quit drifting.
So, I step forth boldly . . . okay, in all honesty, I step forth timidly . . . to begin the process of being congruent . . . of being balanced. In the end, that is what we are called to and what we are striving towards. Life is fragile. Life is scary. Life is hard. Writing has always been a place where I have been able to wrestle with life . . . wrestle with the “big” questions . . . wrestle with God. In silence there is nothing . . . oh, sure, there is prayer and discernment . . . but, there is no conversation. I am ready for conversation . . . with myself . . . with God. I am ready to come home. I am ready to welcome myself. I imagine it will be just as hard to endure as the silence of being “adrift”.
Confession is good for the soul.
Let the conversation begin. In Edward Adrift the hero, Edward, realizes that one has to paddle towards the unknown . . . one cannot stay “adrift”. He also realizes that there is an uncertainty in moving in any direction, but that that is better than floating aimlessly “adrift” in the sea of life.
I am not sure where I am going exactly . . . but, I know I cannot remain “adrift”. Into the unknown I will venture . . . who knows where I will end up!