Are these ponderings slowly dying?

I want to write words that mean something. I don’t want it to be something that disappears, a line that’s said and never remembered, a movie you watch and can’t quite remember how it ended. I haven’t sat down often these past few months to pen my thoughts. Maybe I’ve been less pensive. Maybe I’ve been too busy. Maybe I just don’t care. We all have dry spells. I have been thinking. I’m always thinking. You can’t walk a mile and a half each day by yourself and not think. I probably come up with ten good ideas during every walk home from the bus stop, and forget nine of them by the time I get home. I usually forget the tenth one, too, just after supper.

Neglect. I don’t mean to neglect. I have been writing. A few things have been published, a few thoughts committed to paper. I certainly haven’t been focused. It’s hard to be focused when you’re married. Part of me loves to just dive into the computer when I get home and type and type and type. And then part of me remembers that I have a wife and I can’t spend all my free time in front of a computer. And some days I’m absolutely sick of sitting in front of a computer and you couldn’t pay me enough to sit in front of one at home. But those days aren’t too frequent.

Focus. It’s also hard to focus when you consider the medium. Audience is a blessing and a curse. Knowing your mother reads what you write is not always encouraging. Sorry Mom, that’s the way it is. What do you think Shakespeare’s mom thought? She was probably always reading into his work and wondering if he was suicidal or gay or just plain nuts. And you can’t really avoid audience. I can’t tell my mom not to read what I write. But sometimes it makes you hold back. That’s the problem with these online journal things. They’re the latest and the greatest, but they’re really not as real as everyone thinks they are. Some people are so careful in what they say and what they imply. They know who is reading and who’s probably not, and they know what they can say and what they need to insinuate. It’s almost a game.

And it’s not just my mom. It’s my wife. It’s my friends. It’s my in-laws. Sometimes you have things on your heart that you really don’t want others to know you’re thinking about, or at least you’re still trying to work them out for yourself. Or it’s an issue you just don’t want to be open about at this point in your life. That’s what the old physical pen and paper is for, but I’m a child of the 90s and I just can’t move the pen as fast as I can think. I have a better chance with a keyboard.

So what do you do? You drift away. You lose focus. You find another medium.

Some days I wonder if these Ponderings are slowly dying. I hope not. But in some ways they may be. I’m 23 years old. I’m married. Children are on the horizon. What happens then? Can I blabber about my kids for the whole world to read? Is that really something I want to do? Won’t they be embarrassed in high school when the Google archives uncover their dad’s ponderings about the time they peed everywhere but the toilet while potty training. Do I really want to subject my kids to that? I suppose the answer is yes. After all, I am a writer. Most other writers just publish a book and rake in the royalties off their kids’ embarrassing childhood moments.

Sometimes it’s just a wash. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. Maybe I’m just afraid of talking about certain subjects with certain people. Is that a healthy fear? Or is that just a societal impulse that keeps us from being open with each other? Maybe I just need to loosen up and say whatever I want and offend whoever gets offended.

Maybe I’m just moving on. Maybe it’s another phase of my life. I used to love making Web pages. I haven’t made one in a while. I don’t even take the time to archive the proper months of these ponderings. Is that just a shift in my focus? A change in my priorities? Are the insignificant things in my life suffocating me? But what else are you going to do, drown in dirty dishes?

I can only ask questions and wonder why. Wonder as I wander, and some day we’ll get to where we’re going. Children ask questions. They’re always wondering why. Sometimes we can learn something when we stop to ask. We may not get an answer, but the wonder is still there. The openess is still there. The ability to learn and grow is still viable, and so there is still a chance.

I Still Want to Write a Book

It would be an interesting sociological experiment to catalog my thoughts over the past five years or so. I’ve changed a lot in the past five years. I graduated high school and college, my parents divorced and remarried, I dropped out of a major ministry and ended a three year relationship, I left my fundamentalist Baptist church and started going to a liturgical Episcopalian church, I started a 9 to 5 job and I got married.

A brief overview of my writing from the past five years would give you a glimpse of the vast changes. I’ve always had a lot of swirling thoughts and dreams and competing ideas of what I wanted to do. I’ve always seen myself as a writer and always wanted to do something with that. I graduated with a degree in writing, and now I work as an editor. I love the work, but I still have that yearning to write. I want to write a book. Part of it is probably wanting to see my name in print. That bit of pride whispering to myself how cool it would be to see my name in print. Of course when that voice starts speaking another voice is telling me how quickly my name in print would be lost in the sea that is the modern publishing business.

But I still want to write a book. I want to tell stories. I want to impart wisdom. I want to challenge. I want to inspire. I want to make people see the world in new ways, the way books I’ve read have challenged, inspired, and made me see the world in new ways. I’m not even so concerned about what kind of book I write, I just want to write one. Another voice tells me that’s a good sign that this is an egotistical drive. But maybe it’s just the writer in me wanting to put words on paper one way or another.

A psychotic thought has gripped me the past few days, and I finally realized it was centered around what would have been an ideal writing environment. I was able to ignore all the downsides of this idea because it would force me to do the writing that I so want to do. Which really makes me think about my priorities. Maybe I just need to suck it up and start writing that book. Maybe I need to be anti-social (or more anti-social) and write this book. Maybe I need to let other commitments go and just fuel this need to write and see what happens.

I would expect my pride will take a big blow. And I need that. I think once my ego is deflated and I learn whether or not I can write, and whether or not anyone will ever see my writing, then I’ll be in a position to see the real value of writing and (hopefully) it will all be worthwhile.

It’s funny; if you surveyed my thinking over the past five years you’d find many rantings just like this one. One of these days I’ll act on it; hopefully before I’m 65.


And in all things, this too shall pass. I never thought it would. I didn’t think the dove with the broken wing would ever soar again, but it has. The bones have somehow been reset and mended and the glorious bird is hoping to take flight again, to soar like it never could before. My faith didn’t have room for answered prayers. Those things just don’t happen. I guess I put my God inside a box. You were supposed to be a statistic, an all-American badge of honor, a rite of passage. But you showed them. People change. They grow apart. And they can grow back together again. I was rocked with agony that mid-summer’s eve some three years ago. I wanted to scream to the blue, blue sky, I wanted to fall on the ground and bleed, I wanted to cry until I couldn’t cry ever again. I tried to find grace that night, I tried to find hope. I let the emotions come, I let the reactions come and I typed like a fever, letting the words flow and flow and not pausing to see how it sounded or if the tenses were correct, just getting it out. And when the gushing flow slowed to a calming river I stopped and tried to smell the roses. I never thought they’d grow again. It was simple and sweet and I hope you know what you’re doing. People change and things change and life changes so you better get used to it. Sometimes people become so ingrained you could die, and sometimes something beautiful happens when your back is turned and they wake from their slumber and want to smell the roses with you. I can’t explain what happened. I wouldn’t want to. All I know is my sensibility is no longer pulled to two different states, to two different loyalties. I’ve listened to your words and I’ve watched your actions. I’ve raised my voice in accusation and pounded the steering wheel in frustration. I’ve sat with the phone to my ear, nodding and not saying a word, simply taking it in. I’ve been the listener, the counselor, the advisor, always trying not to overstep my bounds, always wondering if it would ever mean anything, always wanting to scream, always hanging up the phone and letting my head drop in my hands wondering if it was ever really worth it. I don’t claim credit. It’s completely beyond me. I never even had a chance to say I told you so and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Now I’m just wondering what happened. Sudden changes and quick plans and it’s all sewed up again. You can still see the tear, but it’s one piece again. That’s more than most people can say. I’ve survived ground zero, and it’s not such a bad place. Good can come here. For all the frustration and anger and hatred and remorse and sadness and self-pity there can be healing. There can be restoration. Flowers grow in cemeteries and people laugh at funerals. Just remember what it took. Remember what this means, what those words you whispered with tears welling in your eye, remember the vow you took. Surely you can’t break them twice. What God has joined together again, let no one separate. There is always grace, buried somewhere deep beneath the hurt, and there’s a new life waiting, not just for some, but for each of us.