“To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
Okay, so here’s my latest truth statement: I don’t want to write. At least not right now. Not today. Not this week. I’m kind of in a holding pattern. I don’t want to write on my novels, my histories, my blog. I’m dry. Or maybe not dry, but just not wanting to write. This is probably somewhat aberrant. But, is it wrong?
Here is the truth of the matter: I’ve got Spring Fever. That seasonal aberration that makes one not want to do what he or she is supposed to do but that makes one do what he or she wants to do. Anyone ever get that flu-like thing called Spring Fever? Well, I’ve got it. I’ve got it Bad. And, hey, it’s my birthday month, so I get to do whatever I want to do, right? Oh, yes.
Last year, we were in a drought and I was a writing fool—twice a week. Now, we’ve got deluges of God-given rain and paradisiac temperatures but, writing-wise, I’m a dry creek bed. Lucky to get a blog out once every ten days. Lucky to get twenty pages done on my novel in a week.
But, I am productive in other ways. I cleaned out the shed yesterday. Well, actually, my partner-husband and I cleaned out the shed yesterday. I did most of it, of course, but he did help. I mean, a bit. I gave orders, and he dutifully followed. Well, okay, that’s sort of the way it happened, but not exactly. It actually was his idea, and he called most of the shots. I mean, we are a partnership. I do have to admit that we did have a few words that were exchanged between us in the heat of the long day and amidst the confluence of dust and trash and in the inundation of useless hordings and accumulations.
But, that’s the way it is when two people are forging through a life that is messy and complex and interspersed with dead critters in your garden shed that tend to stink up the air around such a union. You see, we’ve been having this incredible stench every time we open the shed door. The shed is a few yards from our house and is an integral part of our daily life—as in, tools, refrigerator and freezer, dog supplies, tractor engine oil, wasp spray, barbecue equipment, etc.
So, about this stench—It is the smell of death. You know what I mean? A dead animal smell. Something has died in our shed, and I didn’t even want to enter to grab for an ice chest or for a bat for a grandkid’s baseball game or for a screwdriver to retighten a doorknob.
So yesterday, we decided to do it. We decided we’d jump in and clean out the shed. We did that. We cleaned out the entire shed. We took everything out, even removed the shelves—you know, those plastic shelf units from Home Depot. But, alas, we never found a dead critter. We found what looked like mouse nests but we never found a skeleton or a dead thing. Ooooh, what does that mean? I know we smelled it, so where is it? I cleaned the refrigerator and freezer that are in the shed. I swept the floors and swabbed the deck, so where is the Dead Thing? I have no clue, but I’ll tell you, this incident does nothing to prime my writing pump. It does nothing to make me want to run to my computer with a “Do I Have a Story To Tell You” kind of synopsis. No sirree, I’m not gonna write. I’ve got Spring Fever, big time. I’ve got sheds to clean out—shed’s with nasty dead critters that we can’t find amidst the debris.
But, I know I should be writing. Spring Fever doesn’t recognize the writing agenda I have before me. I’ve got a novel to write. I’ve got a town history to photograph and write. I’ve got turn-of-the-century photographs of my little wayside town to catalogue and digitize for said history, and going through all of those negatives and pictures is so overwhelming. I’m talking cataloguing, okay? Digitizing, okay? Major work. Not something that needs to be done when the weather is beautiful and Spring is beckoning. The world outside is calling with birdsong.
I’ve got seeds to plant and beds to weed and fruit trees to nurture. This is the time of year when the gardens are calling…no, they’re demanding that we get to work. There is soil to replenish with compost, fruit trees to prune, vegetables to plant, roses to fertilize, perennials to transplant—Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!
Now that I sit back and try to take stock on my life, it seems that I have too many passions. That’s my problem. Too many things that steal my time. Too many things that just, I don’t know, cut into my days.
I need a break. A change, a recharge. That’s what Spring is all about, right? Renewal. Rebirth? A newness of thought and action?
Yes, but how do I make that fit into the life that I live, into the jobs and passions and wants that I have before me? And do I have too many passions, or are these loves the ones that I am supposed to have?
Off the top of my head, I figure I have five passions.
Number One: My God. God is my ultimate passion and the One I want to live my life for. I wish that everyday I could just spend every waking moment doing nothing but living for God and his kingdom. Unfortunately, I tend to find myself pursuing the things I most want, living for my own desires, and creating idols and putting too many other gods before the One True God. In effect, it’s all about me. Uh-oh. This is a serious issue on which I need to work.
Number Two: My Family. My husband, my children, my grandchildren. I love them desperately. And yet, I find myself feeling put out when I have to do something for them. I often see them as burdens instead of blessings. Uh, oh. Selfish Me steps in and, instead of my family, Selfish Me steals my time. I think of all the things I could be doing if I didn’t have to deal with Those Others. But, then I realize that, wow, they—Those Others—are my blessing, a gift from God. I admit that I often forget how blessed I am to have them.
Okay, so these first two passions are probably givens. God and Family. Most of us would agree that these are passions no one could argue with. Following are my other passions:
This is where it gets tough. I have three passions that consume me at different times of the year, at different times of my life—even at different times of my day. And so, I will enumerate them not with numbers but with letters.
A. I love to Write. The conglomeration, the coagulation, the conformation of words is one of the greatest joys and satisfactions of my life. To put together words that can compel or motivate, to satisfy or bring tears, to connect or divide, to bring joy or anger—to be able to put together words that can evoke an emotional response is one of the greatest gifts and responsibilities God has given me. To write is also one of my ultimate personal joys. Words are what make sense of my life. They are my raison d’etre. Words keep me alive. They are my love song to my creator. And doesn’t God just want that from us? Just to write what is in our hearts. Just Write. Write for Him.
B. I love to Garden. To grow something from seed is one of the most remarkable gifts I can even imagine. To plant a seed. To wait in anticipation for that seed to germinate, to sprout, to grow. That seed becomes a plant with a flower that attracts a bee, a bird, a butterfly—a pollinator. That seed grows, like we do in life, to its fruition. It will reseed. And that reseeding will create another life. It will complete nature’s cycle. Oh, how life itself is a miracle! But I also know that whatever I grow, however beautiful it may be, it is only a hint of the beautiful garden that God has planned for me in my future. Because I know that, because as Genesis says, we began in a garden, and, as Revelation says, we will end in a garden. Gardening is a true Miracle from God. And that is all He asks us to do. Just Grow. Grow for Him.
C. I love to play Music. I’m not a consummate pianist. I’m not a true artist. But to play piano (especially when no one is around to listen to my strange renderings) is one of the most ecstatic joys of my life. Music, to me, is math and art wrapped up in a single note. It is, in fact, the language of God. I am not a great piano player. I am, at best, mediocre. But, I have learned in the last few years to let go of the rules and regulations of all that I have learned in my years of lessons and scales and recitals and long hours of practice. I have learned at this late stage of life to let go. To play. To just play the notes, the chords, the music that comes into my heart and into my mind. To noodle, to put together chord progressions that make sense in a visceral way. After all, that is what God, I believe, asks us to do. Just Play. Play for Him.
And so, here I am with my passions. Which do I pursue today? What do I make the most important in my life? I don’t know. I know only that I am so blessed to have passions. To have pursuits that get me out of bed in the morning, that make me praise God all day long, that make my life so rewarding and so worth living. What a gift this life is! Even if I’m not moving forward on any particular gift today, that’s okay. I’m alive. Spring is here. God is here. And life is good.
Oh, how I have Spring Fever! And how wonderful that fever is!