Sometimes words are the only things that make sense. One after the other, in a semi-orderly fashion, are they thought of and placed just so on a page in order to convey meaning. Order. Sometimes, yes, words are the only things that are.
It’s a plot that is barren and lonely, to belong to the writing craft, though I’d go so far as to say perhaps every craft has its own particular brand of loneliness. There is a sacred hush to the way one buckles up their boots and gets out into the tough, unyielding ground that is a Calling, somehow trying to coax life and nourishment from prospects that have never seemed so slim. But a Calling it is nonetheless, and no amount of running away or skirting around or watering the dry parts or floundering in the mucky parts will change the fact that sometime, eventually, the work will have to be done. And if not by the one who is called to it, then by who?
To most, the word lonely may inspire a feeling of hopelessness, perhaps boredom, and a stifling kind of invisibility cast over them without their consent. Some days, yes, this can be so. But most often I find myself reminded of a particular little creature, a hobbit, resting among a place of specific invisibility, ready to give up his quest and his calling if someone would but ask. And yet, the only one there to ask refuses to take it. Instead, she gives him this token of advice: “This task was appointed to you. If you do not find a way, no one will.” Nestled in this confidence, the little hobbit opts to continue on. Maybe because he’s too small and naïve to understand what his task will cost just yet. Or maybe because he knows, and chooses to be brave. What is bravery, but the selection of terrified grace over safe refusal?
It is the grace that creates warmth within the loneliness. Anyone that has pressed on in the face of monsters, real or imagined, knows this. And it is this grace that leads me to believe the Calling of my particular craft is something to be worked out with fear and trembling. It is no small thing, though I be as insignificant as a hobbit or as invisible as a shielded city, to continually choose “Yes!” over “No.” Even if my yes is muddy, or covered in silt. Even if my yes is only a whisper. Someone wrote once that God speaks in whispers, and I find that comforting. The conviction of a Calling rarely comes in a loud clamoring with many bells and tambourines, though certainly the discovery of one may lead the finder to celebrate in such a manner. The Calling is softer, something unfolding from the soul, holding out a steady hand in an effort to help one’s trembling feet.
Grabbing that hand is my “yes…” today. Hanging on to that hand is my “Hallelujah!” and taking the first step forward is the sacrament of my worship. I keep writing because I have been given the words, however hard they are to find. I keep writing because it is the small whisper that confirms and refines my heart in the face of uncertainty. Believing that the voice sustaining me finds its origination in a Being far more understanding and at peace than I am, naming word after word onto a sheet of paper begins to look more like a hymn with each line. I could say they tumble across the pages like a fountain, but it’s not just about a fount of blessing anymore. It’s more a font of blessing.