If I were an artist I’d love to sketch a comic to describe a small part of how I feel. Bereft of all skill with a pencil, I must ‘use my words’.
As soon as I left the elevator I could hear it. Behind the closed door across the hallway there was heavy breathing. No, not just breathing: a multitude of heavy grunting noises, and the occasional tired sigh. It made me of the effort involved in squeezing into jeans three sizes too small. It was the sound of simultaneous exasperation and desperation.
I approached the wooden door cautiously, expecting it to spring outwards at any moment. As I edged closer I imagined I could see the door bowing in the centre. Surely it was just my imagination? As though in answer to my query the door creaked as though under great stress. The bolt holding the door shut stood firm, for now.
I looked around and could see no in the hallway. A dozen questions filled my mind. Who was in the room? Why had they been locked in? And by whom?
“Hello?” I called, unsure if I would be heard over the grunts. The noise didn’t change. To my ears it lacked the quality of ferociousness. Someone, or something, was trapped.
As a boy, I’d been trapped in a dark, strange place and I hadn’t liked it. I remembered the feeling well, now decades later. Tentatively my hand reached up to the bolt. The outward pressure being applied made it hard work but with great effort I managed to slide it across.
I was ready when it released, and leapt backwards as the door flung open.
Inside was the pitiful display of an elephant crammed into a space too small for it. The elephant could barely move more than blink is eyes, and even as I watched it moved it’s trunk into the hallway with a look of relief at a momentary chance to stretch, even a little bit.
The elephant was well and truly in the room, and no one – even attempting to enter the room could ignore its presence.
Acknowledging the Presence
The elephant in the room is I haven’t written in a while.
I had planned to be revising The Rebel Queen. Well, that’s not happening at all at the moment. Nor am I working on any of the other projects which I had previously been so excited about.
Why am I not writing? I’m not sure to be honest. You could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps I’m in a funk because I’m yet to hear about my submission of Vengeance Will Come. That’s a reasonable assumption, but it’s not true in this case. Even before I submitted a disquiet inside of me was growing.
Something which has haunted me for quite a while were the examples of (the late) Keith Green, musical extraordinaire and Francine Rivers, the successful Christian author. Both of them, at different points in their faith were called to give up their craft (music and writing) for a significant point of time. They had to make sure they were doing ‘it’ for God, and not for their own glory. Their example has always haunted me. Would I be willing to give up my writing? Would I be able to? I could never answer that question. Maybe this is my own season of putting it down – or at least – refocusing it?
I’ve also been feeling more convicted that my time should be spent on things of the eternal – things that will last – not the temporal.
The truth is I’m not sure quite what is happening, but for this season in my life writing is taking a back seat to other priorities. I’m putting more effort into relationships and building up the men’s ministry at my church.
So what have I been doing?
I’ve also been reading a lot. I’ve got more books on the go — too many — at the moment. I’m re-reading Keith Green’s autobiography No Compromise and Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn. I’m also reading How to Build a Life-Changing Men’s Ministry by Steve Sonderman and Living Water by Brother Yun. I had also started (and understandably put-down-for-now) The Book that Made Your World by Vishal Mangalwadi, The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan and SPQR by Maggie Beard. All this from someone who normally reads one book at a time!
My (lesser) free time has been spent programming.
Will I be Writing?
I’m sure I’ll be writing something. Probably a lot more faith-related material. I might even write some non-fiction, but likely that it will be much smaller size. Writing something smaller takes a lot less time than writing or revising an entire novel.
What does it mean for this blog?
I think it will continue (at this stage). It will broaden: I’ll write about more topics than writing; probably much more on faith and other things which I am passionate about. It probably won’t be every week (as has been my normal rate). Right now, it’s hard to say – because everything feels up in the air.