Reaching Beyond My Reach

Last week you read that we’ve moved to Virginia. So, now what? What sort of work am I going to be doing while David is off being a rock star professor? I’m about to tell you, but I feel like a major phony just thinking about typing these words. I am going to be a writer. This is where I should do something clever like draw a line through that last sentence and say, “Scratch that, I am a writer.” It’s true. I am a writer. Now, if I can just get myself to believe that, we’ll be in business.

I have trouble believing it, because I think people see that as a nice way of saying that I’m going to be a housewife…a lady of leisure… a kept woman. Granted, most of my family and closest friends have been more than supportive and encouraging about this announcement. The thing is, it is scary. I’ve had a lot of moments where I have almost psyched myself out of this whole Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) because I believed that people would not view this as a real job since I’m not going to get paid for now. But, it is. Writing is what I am called to do.

I’ve been writing at least since the second grade when I somehow convinced my teacher to let me direct my own version of The Little Mermaid during school in front of an audience of those in my class who weren’t acting in the play and some of our parents. I even convinced her to let us have brownies. Oh. And then there was third grade, when I wrote an Emily Pereira original, “The Lost Sea Captain,” and held practices at my classmate, Matt’s, house and then put on the production in front of the entire elementary school during chapel. Personal poems and short stories were sprinkled throughout my elementary age writing career as well. I’m having an “aha” moment as I reminisce over these early foundations in my call to writing. It would seem that the reason why these teachers let me get away with these things was because they believed in me. Wow. Why has it taken me 18 years to realize this? Those sneaky little things…making me feel like I was being the sneaky one by convincing them to let me shut down class time to show my productions… all along they were encouraging my call to writing.

Can I just pause to say that I’m sorry for using the word, “I” so much in this entry? It’s just inevitable for this week. Next week, hopefully that word will appear a lot less. (See that…I’m tricking myself by putting in a commitment to show up again next week. There it is, for all the world to see.  I have to come back next week. Hopefully you’ll come too).

When I started college, I was going to be a History major because I loved the subject. After a semester of staying up until 4 AM memorizing dates and facts, Elementary Education had me at “Hello, cute arts and crafts”. As I got into it, I didn’t really feel as if I was like the rest of the elementary ed majors. I just wasn’t as into it as they were. Those Standards Of Learning lesson plans just plain out made me uncomfortable because I was afraid that the kids I taught would miss out on something the government wanted them to know and it would be all my fault. I wanted to teach kids so I could have an impact on them like my teachers had had on me. I didn’t know how to mix teaching the facts with teaching life lessons like so many talented teachers do.

So, why do I believe that writing is my calling? After all, it’s been nearly two decades since my whole interest in this trade started and I’m not really that interested in writing fiction anymore. Life is far more attention grabbing than fiction to me these days. The truth is, I didn’t realize that it was what God had for me until He developed my story just a little further. Further till the point of crisis. My crisis started when I got the phone call from my Daddy the last week of my Freshman year of college after he told me that he had stage four osteosarcoma and that the doctors had given him six months to live. I was literally sitting by his deathbed coloring pages for my elementary education notebook final that was due when I realized that I had a much more pressing calling on my life. I had the calling to share the stories of God’s faithfulness through some of the darkest moments of my life with the rest of the world- even if just one person could be encouraged and know that there is a way full of hope out of the pit of despair. Even if that person was just…well…me. That’s when I decided to become an English major.

Since then, I’ve had several different jobs. They have been great learning experiences and opportunities to impact the world around me. But all along, I have said, “Well, I was an English major because I want to be a writer some day, but something has to pay the bills in the meantime and I see this as a time to gain stuff to write about.” Someday is here and it scares the stew out of me. But it’s time to put that training into action and to do what the co-founder of my Alma Mater, Elmer Towns, challenged this particular student in his class with, “If you want to reach beyond your reach, write.” So here I am, reaching beyond my reach. Get ready to read more from the “ink” of the (web) pages that are to come. And know this- what I want to reach you and anyone else out there with is the message that no matter what hurt or change you are going through, the one who I have drawn hope from in my most vulnerable, lonely days is the same one you can draw hope from because He never alters and He knows your pain. His name is Jesus and if you don’t know Him, allow me to introduce you to Him. He’s my most loyal friend and I know He would love to be yours.

Right now, all I can reach is a mouse and a keyboard. Here goes reaching beyond my reach.

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