Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On Writing and Age Wrinkles

I love writing and I hate writing. The two feelings are constantly throwing house parties in some emotional apartment my logic is never invited to. Like opposing pistons charging wildly into the same cylinder or two bulls in the same pen. They collide with force and drama and certainty. With writing specifically, as much as God teaches me through it, it's never good enough to show anyone - and so it stays unpublished, entombed and unfinished. It is for me, catharsis and chaos in equal measure.

But maybe writing is more like life, people can forgive an imperfect word or a bad paragraph as long as there's a beauty to the whole. All of our words are like lines and wrinkles drawn into an aging face - they make us, us. Different, weak, broken, strong, but recognized and loved, not in spite of them, but because of them. It's different, how God works, how he stands with stretched arms signaling the beginning of a better story; offering strength and peace in the middle of weakness and chaos.

So our worst days become a kind of necessary punctuation. They link the elements in our stories; pauses in our prose.

And our best days are the secret and soaring poems we only tell to our favorite people.

Our stories are made beautiful because they're written with the stuff of the bad days and the dignity of the good days. And like that, maybe we're supposed to accept the imperfect words because we know that better words are coming, and sometimes, in the best times, they come quicker than we'd hoped. Or sometimes we have to dig and bleed to find them. But we always find them. And always when we need them.

Maybe we are all writers who have already been written into a story full of labored sentences and the right amount of poetry. We just need someone to read it and tell us to keep writing.

So, write it, whatever it is. Write the bad words until the good ones come. Change your life. Start your life. End your old life. Get a better job. Get a better boyfriend. Hit "publish." If we trust that the whole of the story is beautiful a one, we can't really fail. Let the worst of you become a kind of period that doesn't just end a bad sentence, it signals the beginning of a new one, a better one.

Maybe it's time to trust that the words will come. Maybe it's time to let Him write and know that they will.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Forgetting Facebook

In an effort to remain transparent, I will, in full disclosure say that I have checked Facebook this week.

It was Tuesday or so, and I'd forgotten to log out from my phone - I got some alert and followed it in to the Facebook interface in order to read a message and log out.

There. Truth. I feel so much better.

That said, I'm learning quite a bit about myself as I've given up Facebook for a month.

1) The days are long enough. They just are. It's easy for me to get overwhelmed with work and irritated with God for giving us "only" 24 hours a day. The truth is, we have 24 full hours in every-single-day - and that's long enough to do just about anything we want.

There is enough time in the day. In fact, there's plenty.

Think about it. Say you work (or go to school) for 8 hours a day. If the average person gets about 8 hours of sleep (that's being optimistic) that leaves another 8 hours left to do anything you want. There's enough time to work another full time job with the time we have left over. Of course, that's a bad idea, but the point is, there IS enough time.

While it's not directly related to Facebook, this week has brought to me some of the most difficult conversations I've ever had. But the best part was, was that I was there to have them. I'm not saying that my time spent away from Facebook has necessarily opened the door to deeper friendships, but these conversations were literally of the once in a lifetime kind, and I thank God that I was fully there to engage in them.

2) I've done more.

I've read more, written more, ran more, started swimming, started my own megalomaniacal website - I've just simply done more and have done better work. To be sure, there's times where my left hand wants to instinctively type "F-A-C-E' in the address bar and let autofill do the rest but usually, I'm too busy doing something that matters.

3) I feel slightly disconnected.

I think part of the lure of social media is the "connectedness" it offers. It's like you're privy to hundreds of different conversations and you get to piece together certain elements of people's lives through their pictures, updates, links etc. There's a small part in all of us that is sated when we feel 'included' - but a birds-eye-view shows me that really, it's just nourishing insecurity. I want to be included, more than I just want to feel included - and sadly (or maybe, hopefully) that really only happens outside of the internet.

So, overall - it's a positive project I've launched into. Right now, I'm giving myself only a 50% chance of ever returning to Facebook. Maybe though, the problem isn't the site itself, but my self-control, or lack thereof.

How has it been giving up meat this week? Or Facebook? Or anything? I'm excited to live deeper.

I'm really excited.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Goodbye Facebook (for now)

I could tell you that I'm giving up Facebook for a month because it's simply next on my monthly list of "discipline projects" or I could be superholy and say that I'm "Surrendering" Facebook, maybe even call it a "fast" - I suppose those things are true, but only half-true.

I check Facebook a lot.

At work, at home, on my phone - straight up - I check it all the time. And, after some pausing and introspection, I really can't figure out why. Maybe it's the same reason we all check it constantly, checking in on "our world" - or worse, some kind of post-modern indulgence - counting comments and nods like flair or checkmarks of affirmation.

Whatever it is, it's become unhealthy for me and it's going away for a month - at least.

So, besides not knowing what 430 people are doing everyday, or who (still) hates Mondays - or which of my old students are working their way towards drinking problems, I'm excited for this month's abstinence. But abstaining for the sake of abstaining isn't enough, is it? Whatever's been given up, needs an interim (de)vice to fill it's void, to align the wayward compass or the whole meaning of sacrifice is lost.

So, I will turn to writing, or reading, or simply being silent and wonderfully disengaged.

I've already turned my attention to next month's discipline project, and I've decided I don't want to do it alone. Anyone want to give something up for a month, or better - DO something consistently, everyday for a full 30 days? Let's brainstorm, let's change our lives, lets live better, fuller, deeper stories.