These words froze me this morning:
“What we really need is somebody who loves us so much we don’t worry
about death, or about [anything for that matter]… We need this; we need
this so we can love other people purely and not for selfish gain, we
need this so we can see everybody as equals, we need this so our
relationships can be sincere, we need this so we can stop kicking
ourselves around, we need this so we can lose all self-awareness and
find ourselves for the first time, not by realizing some dream, but by
being told who we are by the only Being who has the authority to know,
by that I mean the Creator.”
They are by Donald Miller, and if you have known me or been my facebook friend for more than five minutes, you know he is my favorite author. I usually distinguish him as my favorite non-fiction author, but honestly, you could take away all my novels and leave me with Miller's words and I would be content. I can make up stories in my head all day long, but I can't match his graceful realness.
Back to the words-
The death part hit close to home this morning, as we are still grieving the passing of Ron's grandpa on Saturday. I can't seem to stop crying, but tears are a blessing. But the words spoke to me about my entire past week, the past several months even. I have wondered lately if I am loving others with selfish motives. Do I have sincere relationships? But the big question...Who am I? Really and honestly?
I have been pushing hard for my dreams lately. And encouraging those around me to do the same. I am painfully aware of the truth that if I am a writer than I should have something to show for it. Like a little cash in the bank from a publishing house. Something besides this blog, although thank you to my seven public followers. I am a writer, that is who I am. But without writing accomplishments, am I really a writer? What determines who I am?
I know why I am a writer, that is an easy question to answer- because I love words. Adore words. Words go deep into my soul. A favorite quote from Hemmingway:
“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?
He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But
there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I
I love all words. Big thousand dollar doozies and simple ones that soothe a mind. I don't know what they all mean, and probably won't get the spelling correct much, but they are my world.
So am I a writer because I write? Or because I have sought words thirstily since I was a kid? It sounds pretty foolish to even guess the first one when put that way, doesn't it?
I didn't learn a love for words, I believe I was born with it. My parents did encourage reading, but that didn't even do it. It's part of my DNA.
Or perhaps I am asking another question really. Are we what we do? Or do we "do" because of who we are? Hmm.
There is worth in what we do, and probably quite a bit of non-worth and destruction as well. But we do not have value because of the end result, the product of our "doing". We have value because of who we are. Society- especially American society- will tell us otherwise. You are what you do and what you have. Ask a homemaker what she does for a living and watch her wilt. She does not have much worth in a career and power-oriented society.
God's way is better. I reflect on this even as I think of Ron's grandpa. I will not be at the funeral, but I have a good grasp on what will probably be said about him. He was a father, husband, brother, uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather. He could pick up almost any instrument with strings- guitar, banjo, mandolin- and play it as if he should be up on a stage. He served our country bravely in war. He had seven children, four sons and three daughters. He was loved dearly. He was Scottish, descended from nobility.
Will his career be mentioned? Perhaps. But the focus will more likely be that he was a hard and dedicated worker, and raised sons and grandsons with the same mettle.
Wallace Lee Lumsden was not a product of what he did. But what he did accomplish in his life- he was literally the patriarch of his family- was because of what God placed inside of him. He did because he was.
I will realize my dreams of being published someday. But at that moment, I will not suddenly become me. My accomplishment will stem from who I am.
And Donald Miller is right on- God made me. The closer I am to him, the freer I will be to be ME. You know that feeling deep in your heart when the one dearest to you believes in you, you feel can accomplish anything, right? Imagine that feeling blown up to a million, coursing through your veins, as the one who crafted you into being cheers you into your true calling. Amazing thought, yes?
I will end with another quote by Miller:
“No, life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a
person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize
poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers, has to stand in an empty
desert and whisper sonnets under his breath... We get one story, you and
I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting
and the climax and resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out,
It's your story. BE. Ask God who you are. You already know it deep in your soul anyway. Don't just "do". What a waste of our lives if we just do for eighty years. Be who you are and the doing will come.
I feel this post was disjointed, and I am not completely sure I said what I set out in my mind beforehand. But these are the words that came. It was a long post- thank you for hanging in there. Give feedback please- on here or on facebook. I want opinions on this.
Peace dear readers. And go hug someone you love today...life is fleeting.