The Belief in Time and Practice

Doubt is torture...It is a constant test of perseverance...Instead, have a tenderness and determination toward your writing, a sense of humor and a deep patience that you are doing the right thing. Avoid getting caught by that small gnawing mouse of doubt. See beyond it to the vastness of life and the belief in time and practice.
— Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

I am not sure why it matters so much that I write. There are already so many writers writing for readers reading. There are so many books that say what I could have said or want to say. 

I only know that when I read something I love, my way to capture it, process it, and love it even more is to copy down the lines in my commonplace book. I write them down in hopes that they are written in me. It feels as if the lines are given to me as gifts, with one caveat: Take these gifts and make more magic with them. I want my life and my stories, both as ordinary and as OCD as they are, to be the way I love the world. 

Is this just a hobby I have? Something to fill up the occasional gaps in my day? Something to say I've done: this blog, this blabbering, this blank-page-filling? 

Or what if, instead, all these words I've collected and curated from writers I love over the past twenty years have set me on a course to capture something beautiful in my own words? What if all the copying has been practice for what is to come? What if this constant test of perseverance when I sit with the blank page yet again is the fire that burns on in me till the day I die, lighting the way to hope and beauty that will outlast me? What if all that matters is pursuing the life of a wordsmith because words are what have saved me, are saving me, and will save me?

Doubt does torture, and I wonder how Father Seth feels each Sunday, preaching his sermons that are gone with the wind in a day or two. Yet it matters hugely in the formation of me individually and our church body collectively that he crafts his words into a sermon that speaks life and truth to us. Over time, the words have their effect on me, simply because of the time and practice of showing up and hearing the words ring true in my presence. Even if I'm absent, the words are spoken into the world, and Father Seth has once again endured the constant test of perseverance to infuse a blank page, a listening audience, and a sacred space with words that work wonders. I witness it for myself each week, and am a grateful recipient of another person's determination with words and The Word. 

My word is not The Word, but it is still to be written and shared. I cast down my doubt and find deliverance in the discipline of the day-in and day-out pursuit of a life of words. Through this belief in time and practice, may these wobbly, waning, weak, and wonderful words work their magic in me and in the ones my words reach.