Birthing a Dream | Part 2 of 2
“No, I will not do that.” Tough words, particularly when I’m not clear about what I will do. Many times I’ve ended up making excuses or alternative arrangements instead of just saying No.
For at least 15 years I’ve had, in theory, a clear mission and a concrete vision for my personal writing. Yet I was still vulnerable to other people’s plans and dreams for my life.
A few days after I located my mission and vision statement, I found another piece of writing I’d forgotten about. I wrote it in November 2012.
I was considering options for publishing selected personal pieces I’d begun writing after retiring. Blogging was on my list of possibilities, but I wasn’t 100% committed to putting my ‘stuff’ out there. I was imagining how I might introduce a collection of selected writings.
At the top of the page I recorded my mission statement from 2001. Below that, I wrote the following:
I love words bursting with truth, hope and honesty. Nice words? Not always. Just true words. Beautiful from time to time. Not because of themselves, but because they keep me grounded in God’s mission instead of veering off in a ‘safer’ direction.
Telling the truth. That’s all I can do. Life is difficult and short; my days are numbered. I just celebrated my 69th birthday; last year I retired from the seminary where I taught and served in the dean’s office for 28 years. My heart, my files and my journals are brimming with words that paint a picture of my life as God’s beloved daughter child. A collage of verbal images.
One by one, piece by piece, I’m offering them here to you—beginning with personal words about myself as a child and young person. Why begin here? Because they’re the most difficult to offer and the most revealing about me. At the same time, they may also speak into the experience of many sisters and brothers whom I’ve never met. I’m not alone—unless I choose to maintain silence that protects secrets.
As a child in an overtly Christian home, I was groomed to be a victim. What does that look like? And how does that reality become concretely available to others?
The hard reality is this: It’s more acceptable to talk generally about myself than specifically. I’ve done that often—in order to protect myself and others. At this point I don’t have that luxury. The first words I offer aren’t general. They’re painfully specific.
Thanks for listening.
I wouldn’t change one word of it—well, maybe one or two! Nonetheless, I have a more important matter on my mind:
Elouise, where are you going with this?
Nowhere! For starters, I love working on this blog. I can’t imagine changing it substantially. I can, however, imagine taking a few additional approaches. Here are three examples.
#1 – In 2001 I left behind a research project on a woman who began one of the earliest homes for girls and for boys rescued from prostitution. She was a missionary and a writer. Intent on making a difference and telling about things as they were. Not things as people wanted them to be. I’ve already decided to begin highlighting bits and pieces of her writing in this blog, particularly as they impact my journey and spiritual formation.
#2 – I also want to work on what I describe in my 2006 vision statement—brief theological reflection pieces based on personal meditation on scripture and on my life. I don’t know whether I have another book in me. I’m open, though, to thinking about a collection of short pieces such as those I’m writing for this blog.
#3 – Most of all, I’m eager to learn more about writing poetry. As a child I had at least one ‘inspiring’ experience with poetry that seemed to go nowhere. I’m surprised how much I’m enjoying many of the short poetic pieces I’ve been posting. I’m looking into things like writers’ workshops. And, as always, reading books on writing along with memoirs.
To put this into my life context, my goal isn’t to create a new career. It’s to build on what I’ve done until now, changing what I can. I can’t change my story. I’m at peace with that. I can, however, change the way I live it out at this time in my life.
No, this is not a wild goose chase. It’s for real. It’s why I’m here, and not there anymore.
I will happily receive any questions, suggestions or comments you have. Thanks for listening!
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 October 2014