My family and I dodged through a congest Dallas. Just earlier, we witnessed where rain had swollen creekbeds until they raged with rapids. But now cars jammed together like a snake of metal along highways, participating in the normal big city traffic.
I clutched the arm of our car door as semi’s bee-bopped between lanes, without so much as a care to cars. I pointed my finger, “There, there,” along the interstate, “We need to get over!” Then, I pretended the manic traffic wasn’t just one white line away from disaster as I read on my phone, head tucked down, and eyes averted. I tried to not be annoying. I failed a time or two.
As we reached west of Fort Worth, each congested exit emptied the road with it’s straddling highways playing their concrete game of Twister. My pulse slowed. My eyes lingered out the window. My muscles relaxed as the road opened up and mesa’s of Central Texas came into view.
The sky was a strange gray. Humidity hung in a fuzzy layer like a dome over us. Behind it, hid our normal Texas, sapphire canopy. My youngest son noticed with a, “What’s up with the sky, Dad?”
Tropical Storm Bill had left. The day before, in its wake was more flooding. Interstate highways had closed yet again, becoming a tourniquet between us and Dallas. But since Bill was making his way upward and away, this was temporary.
Ebracing the Ebb & Flow of a Creative
I didn’t want to go. Originally, I wanted to stay behind. To bury myself in to-do’s. But.
There are times you need to go. I need to go. I pace myself. I have to remind myself to not be my own taskmaster with my passions. If I want to notice my life, I embrace the ebb and flow of it. I live as a #wholemama. I live empowered.
And I choose again. I choose to write. Because just two days ago, I wanted to quit. It’s familiar now, this other ebb and flow of a writer. The want-too and the not want-too’s. The fact I even claim such a word was a years-long (decades really), process. But taking the next step or the first step is always so tiresome and fearful.
I’m terrible with time. I’m not good at keeping track of years or which year an event happened. I live signpost to signpost. From his book, Super Structure–The Key to Unleashing the Power of Story, James Scott Bell writes about outlining fiction stories, signpost to signpost. In other words, describe the events you, the writer, see as part of the character’s story and write around those. For me personally, I see life’s signposts and the events that surround them until time turns into a minor character. It recedes to the background, nearly forgotten.
But I’m noticing my life, the one God has given me. And I don’t just notice the signs in my present day, but also those of my past. I notice the things He has called me to do before others marred them. Before discouragement stole them. Before doubt waylaid me. Before adulthood belittled them. Before I myself pushed them to the bottom of my deep dark soul and drowned them out.
The Practice of an Attentive Life
On the backroads of Central Texas, signs are long distances apart. If you don’t catch the speed limit on its first place along the way, good luck. You won’t see another one until a major highway crosses or you enter a city and leave.
But there were other signs on our drive. For instance, the white sentinel of windmills that dotted the landscape in their noble cause of clean energy. They lined up in rows like soldiers turning their outstretched blades.
There was silence as we noticed an acre or more of cactuses like prickly warts speckled about behind barbed wire.
We ate on top a hill. Stood under an unfamiliar tree, took pictures, and noticed on the west side, an abandoned church down below it.
We said good-bye to our fourteen-year old’s longest camp away from us and noticed how the wind whipped our hair up, down and around our face. It was as if a desert caressed our faces.
So I went. I chose to go on a road trip. Hours across scrubby landscaped and sweeping Mesa’s.
“We arrive in this world with birthright gifts–then we spend the first half of our lives abandoning them or letting others disabuse us of them.” Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak
As you listen to your life, you begin to notice how God created you. Then, you begin to spend the other part of your life, reclaiming it.
Look for the Signs
Perhaps life took a wrong turn or the direction was very much off target. But you see the signs. They are lighted all along the way. Some are neon bright and big as billboards. Some are only seen when you first leave and not seen for long periods of time. Others are flashlights waving off darkness. Still yet, some are candles beside the road, little flickers only seen by foot. But when you notice your life, your eyes adjust and focus on the signs.
You begin to see. All along you had this super power, right there beside you. It’s been yours. “Too late” is never associated with your super power, although you’d thought that to be true. You realize it now–it was not.
You have it. Your super power is–choice. You can look at your life and your gifts, the one you were told didn’t amount to much. The ones you were told were stupid and dumb. The same gifts, talents, or passions, you were told cost too much. The same ones you were told, required more than could be given or were even worth pursuing. But instead, you look at them through this power. You view them, hold them, and inspect them.
You can choose. You can choose, this day forward. Or backwards.
You can re-claim. Those the gifts or talents you’ve given up on, can be re-claimed. You can choose to live differently than before. Your life can be re-claimed. You can. Just like that. Although, it won’t always be easy. By far, it can be very hard. The biggest obstacle is yourself and fear.
Taking Your Super Power to Task
Fear stands against you like a wall asking you to penetrate it’s formable structure. Some days, you want to run away. Or back down. You may even wait for someone else, instead. You may ask the wall, to kindly take it’s leave. Or you may leave before you even ask. Despite the belly-aching fear, you also feel a strange flutter of, excitement?
Jesus has not left you as an orphan or as a slave to this world. You’ve been called. You can take your super power, that thing He has freely bestowed upon you, and you can choose.
You can choose to notice your life, to notice the Life within you. And you can choose to act.
You also can also re-choose.
You can choose to claim and be a good steward. You may have to notice your life first, to know what He’s been saying along, but you can choose to notice. You may not maneuver life with finesse. It may get bumpy with a head-down-eyes-averted to get past fear and harrowing places, but you can accept how He perfectly made you. To accept not only the person you are, but the person you used to be. No part of you is separate. We each hold a choice-thing. It’s our super power.
So go and use it.
Join other #wholemama’s by linking up your words here.
What signposts are you ignoring in your one creative life? What is God showing you that is scaring the fire out of you? Where should you be using your super power of choice in your own faith journey?
June 26, 2015
Such encouraging words! And your writing is always beautifully breath-taking. Thank you for creating space and offering grace in the process.
June 27, 2015
Jamie, you encourage ME.
June 26, 2015
You have such lovely story elements in your writing. And this line struck me and stuck. “’Too late’ is never associated with your super power.”
June 27, 2015
Amanda, thank you. That means a lot to me.
July 11, 2015
The choosing thing was big for me this year. I finally realized at the ripe old age if 25 that if I didn’t choose and pursue things that made me feel whole no one else was going to do it for me. Thanks for this beautiful thoughtful piece. Well done. 🙂