I’ve been quiet of late. The consistent blogging some of you came to expect just fell off the edge of the earth and was gobbled by some violent sea monster of folk lore. You probably didn’t notice.
Oh, and by ‘of late’, I mean a year. More than a year. My last bout of consistent writing was back in July of 2012. Here and there I’ve managed to spit out a post about whatever was lurking in my heart that day or week, but mostly I’ve been sitting quietly in the dark hoping that whenever I found my voice back, my friends would still be here.
Turns out you are. Thanks for that.
On a purely practical level, I can attribute my absence to simply being overwhelmed by the day to day situations in life. My mom’s cancer journey, some complicated work situations, being in school, freaking out over agreeing to write a book, and then additional grief when my boss was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. (He has since gone Home to his Saviour.)
On a truthful level, I’d say I disappeared because somehow I needed to figure out I was still a writer if I wasn’t blogging.
They’re not the same, by the way.
Writing is this thing you do because your heart compels you. It bubbles up and slips from you to the page in a way that makes the world seem right. You can close your eyes and words dance and sway before you, laughing and singing as you tuck them into place, making music thrum from the very core of you. Writing is art: expression that won’t be tamed, caged or quieted. It will keep you awake and nudge you from your dreams.
Blogging is something else entirely. Blogging is page stats and referring URLs and comments and link ups and memes and platform and tweetable sound bites and followers and guest post requests and Pinteresting photos. It’s not only that, to be fair, but unless I’m careful that’s all it becomes to me. I blog to attract the attention of so-and-so, and maybe she’ll retweet me. I alter my voice to sound more like this or that writer and in the end I lose whatever tenuous grasp I had on my own voice.
And in the jumbled mess that is blogging, I lose you. Blogging, ironically, provides me with access to you and also a means to alienate you.
I’m frequently alarmed that people see right through me. My father, for example, knows silence means I’m quietly imploding and it’s time to call me or send me an email. My friend, Jenn, knows I have perfectionist issues that I’ll probably never admit without her prompting. My friends know when I’m on the verge of a Mike-Tyson-calibre round of self-flagellation and do their best to coax me back from the ledge.
And you? You know when I’m not being real. Most of the time that freaks me out. Other times that’s a huge comfort to me. The bizarre thing I haven’t yet figured out is why you like the real me and not the fake me I try so hard to be. Y’all will have to explain that to me some time.
And since I’m being all kinds of vulnerable here, let me admit this. Let me just toss this out there and be free of it: sometimes I wish God had given me a different audience. Yep. There it is. I’m sorry.
Over the past year I have frequently had this conversation with God, ‘I don’t feel super infertile most of the time, Lord. So I’m thinking you could point me in a different direction? I could write more like Blogger A, and we could share followers? How does that sound?’
Silence is a pretty effective answer to prayer. I’m just sayin’.
Speaking to me through the voice of my biggest cheerleader is also rather effective. (That’s The Len, by the way.) ‘You’re supposed to do this. Write this. For these families. Someone has to speak for them and God chose you.’
But I no wanna…
I’m nothing if not belligerently stubborn. I will dig my toes in stubbornly for over a year, apparently.
Admission #2: I love y’all. You’re my kind of people. I’m pretty sure I could plop down on a bench beside any of you and we could chat for a good long while. You’re the kind of people who have walked a road that doesn’t scare my introverted self. You come and hang out with me in the comments and you say stuff to me in emails that has me nodding and ‘amen’ing and searching out Scripture for truth.
So… I’m sorry for disappearing. I’m sorry for wanting some audience of readers other than y’all because the vain and fame-hungry part of me wants a different platform of people who will hopefully accept me for someone I’m not. I’m sorry for not realizing the incredible gift that you are to me.
And so I’m back. (From outer space.) (Oh puh-lease, you thought it too.) We’re going to sit here and talk about what matters to us: grief and sadness and infertility and Jesus, and why Jesus loves us broken and beat up and battered by sorrow, and why He is the final word on joy and peace and gratitude.
And when I drift off to sounding like someone else do me a favour and stomp on my fingers, alright? I’ll use that as my cue to get my head and heart back in the game. Hopefully next time it will take me less than a year to figure it out.