My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as to those who simply love to read. You will find snippets of things I am working on and special announcements here.
Psalms 120-134 all begin with words "A song to take you higher" or "A song of ascent" or "A song of the stairway...One Hebrew manuscript titles them "Songs of the Homeward Marches."~Footnote in The Passion Translation
A time of reflection. Like I've ascended an elegant staircase, run my fingers over the intricate wrought iron as I've climbed up. I'm paused on a landing. Leaning against the banister, remembering the steps I've taken over the years.
How can it be that I'm at this place so quickly? Retirement. I've been thinking about all the people I've worked with, colleagues and patients alike. I've said a thousand farewells already. I've felt the exhaustion of endings. "Even good change brings loss and discomfort simultaneous with hope and glorious anticipation of new beginnings," I remind myself.
Around the age of eight my voice began to get itself knitted up. By the age of sixteen the jamming had got worse, and my shyness wasn't helping things. What does a parent do? My father said, "All right, let's do it together" and I loved him all the more.~C.R. Milne
I gazed out the window, the rain beginning to speckle the pavement, the sky moody. I turned from the window and felt my dangling silver earrings brush the sides of my face. I'd fastened them on my earlobes that morning as a way to dress up the day. I wondered if that was even possible, the rain now pelting the roof. Thunder bellowing in the distance.
My sleep had been poor of late, I'd told my husband. Waking several times in the night, that awkward time in the morning when it's too early to get up, and the mind seems almost too sharp, thoughts scrambling around vying for attention. Then the alarm sounds just as you've drifted off. Not even the sparkly earrings could brighten my face enough to diminish the shadows under my eyes. I'd heard from a number of readers over the last weeks, too, telling me of their skirmishes with life--random accidents that had caused injury and pain, another exhausted from care-giving an elderly parent, job loss, health concerns with family members battling COVID, the enormity of loneliness during quarantine. A hurricane barreling right toward them. My meager problems regarding preparing to retire seemed like nothing.
As I perused the journal pages, I wrote of wanting a slower pace and honoring solitude. I wrote of deeply desiring to retire early, that the workplace had become too stressful.~Journal entry, July 3, 2020
Announcing my retirement has brought eclectic responses. Some have said, "So early? You're too young." Or, "What in the world will you do now?" Others have said, "Congratulations. I'm happy for you. Now you'll have time to do whatever you want." And then, "It's about time. You've put in your time."
I've stayed detached from what others say. People have their opinions about life transitions. That's fine. Even with the challenge of practical matters to put in place, I've felt a quiet confidence to move forward. That it's time to place punctuation at the end of the sentence. And I'd punctuate with an exclamation mark. My time as a counselor has been successful. I've harbored in a brilliant port, with fair winds and a good many sunny days. I've had the support of fellow sailors, my colleagues, family and friends who've loved me and championed me. My God has kept me with His grace.
I don't write because I think I have something to say. I write because if I don't everything feels even worse.~Lily King (From Writers and Lovers)
When a book is published, it feels like a birth. I don't remember the years of gestation--the rewrites, the monotonous edits, the labor. What I see is the beautiful brain child with all its uniqueness. A sort of falling in love. A mother bear instinct kicks in, for no other reason than the book is mine.
Writing is primarily a refuge for me, not a burden. I started writing The Light By Which We See in 2016. The manuscript sat idle for months, until in 2017 my oldest sister passed away and I was diagnosed with cancer. The majority of the manuscript was written when I underwent chemotherapy and grieved my sister's death. I discovered that when I could get to the page and write, I was transported out of the grief and despair. Writing the book became my way of escape. The page was always there for me. A retreat and steady companion. I cannot underestimate the peace and grace of God I found when I wrote during this period in my life.
I have a sterling silver ring that I wear every day. The ring is shaped in a curve. I bought it as a reminder that life is not lived in a straight line, from A to B to C to D. In our culture, though, that is somehow the belief and expectation. I find myself demanding those outcomes from my brief life. "You're supposed to be at this place on the line now. What is wrong with you?" I look at my life and it's not a line--it's a collection of arcs and drop-offs where I quit things. Some of the circular paths are worn down like a beaten path to a favorite spot. Other paths have high grass that has never been mowed and likely never will be. What's the answer? I think for me it is embracing and accepting that life is imperfect. I'm imperfect. Other people are imperfect. And so the task is to keep re-accepting this truth and allowing my life to be lived with circuitous routes, knowing that because the Lord is with me, I'm successful.~(From my book, On A Clear Blue Day).
This morning I feel as if I'm on a journey that has plunged me into territory that is wild and untraveled. I decided to formally retire from my job as a substance use counselor, the job and identity I've had for the last 23 years. I feel fear about what I don't know. Simultaneously, I sense I "know" more than I give myself credit for as I follow the pathway to what's next.
Maybe I'm trying to be too careful, too perfectionistic as I move forward in this landscape that is unfamiliar. What if I could embrace the mystery, enjoy the views that I could see nowhere else? What if I could enjoy myself? What if I could trust that the tools and supplies in my backpack are enough? More than enough? What if I'm walking in abundance and not scarcity as I fear? What if this place is filled to overflowing?