Reviving A Comatose Pencil

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Curt and I, young and pre-children, had moved and were getting to know our new pastor at our new church in our new city. We explained that we’d loved to involve ourselves, but were burned-out and needed a season of rest. This wise man replied, “Take time. Sit down. Be still.  When the urge to serve comes back—and it will—, call me.” 

While I am not overburdened with my writing schedule (cough, cough) the urge to write is back. It’s time to revive A Living Pencil. Beginning with a few random thoughts.

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Has there been a decline in blogging? I think Facebook/Twitter/Instagram is to blogs what Walmart is to downtown boutiques. I find it oh so easy to post a photo to Facebook or write a sentence about the irony of including Man-Pleasing Chicken on our Mother’s Day menu.

The problem: so much content on Facebook (read Walmart) is generic and/or derivative. Most blogs offer a unique perspective. And most of the small blogs have closed up shop.

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I made it through the toughest weekend of my calendar. The anniversary of my mom’s death was on Saturday and Mother’s Day was Sunday. I also remembered my friend Carol, (my surrogate mom’s youngest daughter) who died in January, and her beautiful daughters experiencing their first Mother’s Day sans Mom.

I never want to drum up grief because of the day on the calendar. No. There was no need for drumming.

But this is what I realized this cycle: I always—for 48 years—carry grief with me, deep in the warrens of my soul. But May 7th is the day I give sadness permission to surface. I give myself permission to acknowledge the wound. I think that is a good, even healthy, thing to do.

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Why Blog?

From my Inbox:

I know I’ve asked you this already, but why do you blog? What is your purpose?  I’m just curious.  While I enjoy reading people’s blogs, I can’t help but think that it is also leading us away from being personal in our relationships.  What are your thoughts on this?”

Oh, how badly I want to give the quick Sunday School answer: “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”  That answer is not entirely untrue; however, if I am honest the answer is more complex, more self-gratifying.

Indulge me in a bit of personal history. My brother Danny introduced me to reading blogs. On one of his annual visits he brought a file of his favorite online links and installed them on my computer. He’s hot into reformed theological controversies, cooking, techno-gadgets and blogs. He knew I’ve been reading, drooling over, and collecting George Grant’s writing for years (I have a huge binder full of his book reviews from World Magazine) and showed me how to read his stuff online. It was a quick transition from reading » commenting » writing my own posts. 

So why do I blog? 

1.    I have a show-and-tell personality. Whenever I’ve read an excellent book or listened to incredible music, my joy is not complete until someone has read it or heard it and agrees that it is excellent. If you came to my house today, I’d ask if you’d like to see my _______ (silverware drawer, garden, guest room, whatever). I’m trying to get beyond foisting a book on some unsuspecting victim/friend and promising them they will Absolutely Love It; but that impulse will never be eradicated. 

2.   To improve my writing. Thoughts and phrases float across my brain, but getting them onto the screen in a readable form is good exercise. I need an editor, big time, but people are not standing in line to offer their services.

3.  To encourage other people. We all have our little sphere of influence; I try to use mine to share quotes, books, prayers, pictures, recipes and music. Truth, beauty and goodness surround us and I like to point them out. 

4.  It’s good intellectual stimulation. This refers to reading other blogs and following their links to other stories. My world has expanded in  fabulous ways. Even if it’s just exposure knowledge, I’ve learned much that is useful in the last three years.

5.  To develop friendships. It’s very odd, especially to the analog personality, but I’ve made some dear friends online. It’s really amazing to read someone else’s journal and recognize yourself. My husband tends to scratch his head as I quote one of y’all. Which one is this? he asks with a note of confusion. 

What’s wrong with blogging?

1.   Time, Where Did You Go? My clock ticks away like nobody’s business when I’m online. Dana suggested a using timer and I’m becoming more convicted that I need to. Time spent blogging is time not spent fulfilling the responsibilities which we have been given. Could you argue against that last sentence? I’d sure like to hear your argument so I could use it for myself. 

2.    Incomplete disclosure. When I blog, I filter what I want you to know about me. You do the same thing, don’t you? Of course, discretion is always called for, but, all the same, I’m putting my best face forward. I am thankful that real people that I really know read my blog. It helps me to combat hypocrisy.

3.    Isolation. I am more convinced each day that life needs to be lived within the context of covenant community. It is too easy to plug into the computer and zone out the people who are in the physical now. I try, emphasis on try, not to blog when my husband is home so I can be present with him. 

4.   Misplaced priorities. Since I really do enjoy blogging, thinking about how and what to write is often at the forefront of my mind. “My public needs me” has been a joke in our family for decades. My toilets need me too, but I don’t view them like I view you, my dear reader. 

5.   Unlimited scope. When my oldest son began to read, I devised a plan to check out each and every picture book in our public library. After a few months I asked myself, Why? I had assumed every book the library offered was worth reading.  I used to be impressed with four pages of blog links, until I realized that it was the same fallacy. I’m content to limit myself to a small group of daily reads, a larger group of weekly reads and another folder of occasional glances. There are many extraordinary blogs which I miss and that’s Okay.

Why do you blog? Or, why do you read blogs?

(P.S. Thanks, Mel, for holding my feet to the fire. I appreciate it…and you.)