Well, gosh, where do I start? Without telling you my whole life story, let me just tell you that I've spent the last few months dealing with a few major crises. The most recent was a health scare that took the wind out of my sails--to say the least. I hate to be public about these things, and yet I want to share it because I know how many others go through painful things. The experience made me want to reach out and hug the world. If you've been in pain lately, please consider yourself hugged! I was blessed in that, mine turned out to be fine. I am healthy and strong now, released from that terrible period of worry. But it gave me a wonderful gift.
(Fairy house by my daughter.)
It showed me that, no matter how long my life is, the clock is in fact running. I don't have forever to write these books of mine. I don't have forever to cuddle my kids to sleep and watch them traipse through their days with their quirky brilliance. I don't have forever to have a glass of wine with my amazing husband. Even if I live to be 107 (which I plan to) these times will fade and evolve into something else. Before I know it, these children will grow into little adults. (Then who will I blame for taking away my writing time???)
This song by Sweet Honey in the Rock gets to the heart of the matter. It's called Meeting at the Building. They sing about the sweetness of our time together, and the truth that one day it will come to an end. It expresses how that joy and sadness live right beside each other.
So, it was a very painful blessing. It's too bad that I had to go through that but... I am grateful for it. I loathe the cliche of this. But when it's happening to you, it doesn't feel like a cliche. I am able to see the glorious chance before me quite clearly. The irony is that, I was always a person who felt the beauty of the world keenly! I honestly didn't take much for granted. But I've gone even deeper now. I have changed.
As I was walking through the library today, I was thinking about my work-in-progress. I'm embarrassed to say that even today I was thinking WHINY thoughts: "Ugh! It's too hard! I don't know how to fix it! Phooey!" Then I stopped myself, and I thought: "Just don't f***ing bother, unless it ignites you." Period! Just don't do it unless your soul is on fire!
It was cold water in the face. But, honestly, there's no point in festering about writing. If we're lucky enough to do what we love, we should just get down to it.
Wayne Dyer said this on one of his PBS specials:
“Don’t die with your music still inside you.
Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul.
Listen to that inner voice, and don’t get to the end of your life and say,
‘What if my whole life has been wrong?”
So, that's my plan. I'm going to work like my soul is on fire. There are stories trying to come through me, and I swear to God I'm going to bring them out! I'm also going to build more fairy houses and play more Candy Land and freeze tag while my kids are still young. I'm going to keep going for the double turn in dance class. I'm going to sing harmony, even when I get it wrong. And I'm going to clink glasses with my husband tonight, thankful for all that we have, and all that we're able to give.
As Robin Williams says in Dead Poets Society (quoting Walt Whitman):
"The powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse."
I'm really clear on that now. I've got a few verses to contribute. I bet you do too.