Once upon a time, I was a writer.
It’s been more than three years since journalism was my full time job and I miss it terribly. I miss writing stories and researching and wrestling with words and especially interviewing people. To be trusted with someone’s story, no matter how much of the story you’re getting, is a gift of supreme significance that should never be taken lightly.
Looking back, I can say with 100 percent certainty that everyone was right when they said if you don’t work your writing muscle it will atrophy. Maybe that’s why I’m here, trying to get back in the gym, so to speak. Trying to remember what it feels like to take weird squiggled letters and form sentences and paragraphs and phrases of substance. Trying to remember why I stopped writing to begin with. Or maybe why I started.
Writing is weird. And does anyone even read blogs anymore? Do we have the attention span for it? The capacity for more than minute-long videos, tiny blurbs, or little soundbites? I don’t know anymore, but I hope so.
What I do know is that it’s been so long since I’ve written a blog the entire backend of this website is different. The formatting has changed, the buttons have changed, really everything on here has changed.
And so with life.
Yet everything is the same.
My life looks completely different than it did three years ago.
Besides the gospel and my immediate family being untouched by death, nothing has remained constant. I no longer write articles every day, live in the same state, or guard my heart quite so tightly. I’ve moved six times (once to a completely new state), had five different jobs, joined a new church, started dating, got engaged and married (during a pandemic), and faced more joy and sorrow than I’ve known how to fully process.
Everything is different. Yet so much is the same.
Maybe that’s why I haven’t written much. I don’t think I know how anymore and especially not under these circumstances. Everything is different and I’m learning every day how little I know. What do I even have to write about? When everyone and their brother have the ability to, for better or worse, publish their thoughts for the world to see, why should someone else add to the menagerie? In haste the foolish speak. Wisdom beckons silence. And yet, here I am.
My mind and heart are a constant swirl of thoughts, emotions, and things I cannot yet articulate. Things I want (need) to process through writing but it’s easier not to, and maybe I don’t really want it memorialized forever on paper (or—worse—the internet). I guess the bottomline is I haven’t wanted to dust off the weights and put in the work of breaking down the writing muscles to build them up again. I haven’t wanted to exercise. But here I am, hoping maybe this will be a fresh start of sorts. A creaking of the door I want to be brave enough to walk through; the one that leads to writing again. Because there, right beside the paper and pen, the typewriter and the keyboard, is the hope that this exercise might help me see that which is beautiful and true a little more clearly and maybe, just maybe, it could do the same for someone else.
That’s what I want this space to be for. For working out those weak and tired muscles that will degenerate altogether if not used. And writing isn’t the only figurative muscle I’ll try to work out here. My patience needs to be developed, my gentleness bulked up, and the muscle that clings to Christ’s finished work rather than my perceived contribution or performance really could use some training.
Maybe there are some muscles that need to be exercised in your life too (and not just the physical ones).
Maybe the muscle you need to exercise is hope, stretching yourself to remember “there is still some good in the world … and it’s worth fighting for.” Maybe you need to exercise grief and allow yourself to feel the depth of the profound weight you endured but no longer have to carry on your own (for there is One who carried your sorrows and carries you still). Maybe you need to exercise gratitude, replacing what is not with thankfulness for what is.
And maybe, when it’s all said and done, what we need is not to exercise a muscle at all but rather relax one (or 20)—loosening our grip on whatever it might be that has our hearts living in the “what if” land, consumed with fear, introspection, and the joy-thievery of control and comparison.
There are so many muscles I need to exercise (all of the above and a million more), but none more important than exercising self-denial and disciplining my eyes to fly to Christ above all else.
In light of all that, I hope you will join me in this metaphorical gym space in hope that we might sharpen each other and exercise together.