Words

There Will Be Laundry

Blog_MountaintopThe thing about mountaintops is you can’t stay there too long. There comes a time when you have to leave the awe-inspiring landscape behind for another, less magnificent view. Like the mountain of laundry overflowing from the hamper. Or the colorful vista of dishes in the sink. Or the panoramic scenery of toys strewn across the living room floor.

I recently returned from a mountaintop of my own—a writers’ conference not far from where I live, giving me the luxury of commuting the short distance rather than staying on campus. While others enjoyed a much-needed escape from the daily grind, I had the benefit of returning each night to a house full of responsibilities. At least it made the last-day transition more bearable. It wasn’t such a shocking jolt back into reality when the glorious mountaintop vista finally faded from view.

As hard as it can be to face daily life after being immersed in something more appealing, reality can teach us something most mountaintops can’t. Especially if you’re a writer. The greatest of words flow from the humblest of circumstances, from the grit of everyday living. We can’t write what we haven’t lived, and if we haven’t lived. Yes, there’s life on the mountaintop. But there’s wisdom in the monotony of the valley that can’t be gleaned from anywhere else.

I’m grateful for the mountaintops. But I’d get bored if I had to live there. Give me a rugged terrain, filled with highs and lows and in-betweens. There, I find life. And there, I find words.

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Writing and Servanthood

Blog_TypewriterRibbonWhat do you picture when you hear the word servant? Probably not a person sitting at a computer keyboard. The more typical image associated with servanthood would be a person tending to the sick or helping in the food line at a soup kitchen. Or maybe you picture someone on their hands and knees, scrubbing a dirty floor or washing filthy feet. And such people truly are servants.

But did you ever think that you could serve through writing? I didn’t used to think so. After working all day at an inner city outreach, I’d come home hungry to write, yet feeling a tinge of guilt that I wasn’t doing something more worthy of a servant. Though I’d be up late into the night for days on end, wrestling for the right words, I was convinced that those doing the more evidently sacrificial works were the only real servants.

True servanthood is using your gifts, whatever they may be, to bless others. Yes, there are times we’ll be called out of our comfort zones to serve in less-than-ideal settings. Yet if your gift of words will challenge, encourage, or inspire others, it is a pure act of service.

I’m grateful for those nameless ancient scribes who translated scriptures that we might have wisdom for today. I’m grateful for those authors who speak encouragement from beyond the grave because they devoted themselves to pouring out their lives in ink. I’m grateful for those living servants who write words in season for our generation.

To be a servant is to invest your talents for the benefit of others. It’s to sacrifice your time and resources that others may reap from your labors. For those who write, your words may travel to places where even the greatest missionary could never go. And they may touch lives even the most devoted of servants could never reach.

 

Photo Credit: mess of typewriter ribbon | the both and | shorts and longs …

Red Ink

Blog_QuillPenAndJournalSitting on a padded lounge chair on a sandy beach, waves lapping over my feet as my pen easily flows across the paper to the rhythm of the swaying palm trees. That’s how I envisioned the writing life. How wrong I was.

For me, the ink has flowed more like blood than anything else. And the view has been a far cry from the idyllic writer’s retreat. But at least I’m not alone. Some of my favorite writers have written from depths far deeper than I’ve ever gone.

The world’s most meaningful words are wrought in the fires of affliction. They often go unread, unnoticed by the masses for years, decades, centuries, until they, and their writer, have stood the test of time. When they finally emerge, they are as liquid gold, yielding wisdom for generations to come.

Today’s bookstores are filled with words that will fade with the passing seasons, blowing away like dust from the shelves. They’ve endured a short while to feed a passing trend. Yet they’ll be long forgotten as time moves on.

As for me, I’d rather write with red ink, words written from a life of sacrifice and struggle. Words that stand through the fires of adversity. Words not meant for the fickle masses, but words for those hungry for something more substantial than a quick fix. Words that don’t fade with the passing of time and trends.

 

Photo Credit: Free stock photo: Feather Pen, Defense Group, Ink – Free Image on …

The Power of Words

Blog_ButterflyFlower

Words have the power to free and encourage, strengthen and uplift. If our words are to gain such power, we must go through many difficulties to bring them to birth.

Source: The Writer’s Burden

Photo Credit: File:Butterflies looks like flower.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

The Writer’s Burden

Blog_ValleyIt’s hard to write when the heart is heavy. Hard, but therapeutic. There’s something freeing about weaving thoughts into words. I’ve often said I don’t know what I really think about something until I get it down on paper.

And so in the pain and confusion that so often is life, I’m grateful for pens and journals and computer keyboards. Even though I just spent a half hour pouring my heart out on this topic and the computer deleted every last word. Ugh. Admitted, I attempted to strangle my computer after the fact. Not so therapeutic.

Anyhow, I’ve found that writers are called to bear burdens. One is called modern technology, but that’s the least of them. Often, we’re called to walk through valleys long before anyone else gets there—just so they won’t be alone once they do.

When Moses was called to lead a nation of former slaves through the wilderness, he asked for help from a man named Hobab, telling him, “Please do not leave us. You know where to camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes.” This man had been through the wilderness, and now his calling would be to help others make their way through.

Every burden we’re called to bear endows us with strength and wisdom to help others when they encounter similar trials. Each of us has been entrusted with a gift of suffering in whatever form it comes, which enables us to lighten the burden for others when they walk under the heaviness of life’s trials.

This is true for everyone, but I find it to be true for writers in particular. Words have the power to free and encourage, strengthen and uplift. If our words are to gain such power, we must go through many difficulties to bring them to birth. In the end, it will be worth it, if even one life is changed as a result.

Photo Credit: Free stock photo: Valley, Mountains, River, Stream – Free Image on …