Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Word Snob & Unexpected Words

"Sounds like you're cresting," Dr. Gray said.

Now, I'll admit it. 
I'm a word snob. 
I love vocabulary. 
I love spelling. 
I love learning what words mean and then using them accordingly. 
More importantly, I love already knowing what a word means...then using it accordingly.

So, when Dr. Gray told me I was "cresting," I really wanted to appear knowledgeable, intelligent, incredibly well-versed in psychology speak (and English speak in general!).  I wanted to say, "Right, cresting.  Sure.  Uh-huh.  Exactly what I was going to say.  I've been telling everybody, 'I'm cresting all right.' Yep.  Never get tired of the cresting."

But my need to know outweighed my need to show off (for once), so I stopped her and asked, "Sorry, what's cresting?"

"Oh," she said, "It's when you're dangling on the edge - you know, in your case, it's all of the new opportunities that you're being given.  And you've reached that mountain top - that crest - and you're about to have to jump off without knowing what will happen.  And then, because of who you are...your energy and your enthusiasm...I think you'll find that the more people discover you available in this new professional space, the more they're gonna want you.  And then you'll have to figure out a balance that's right for you and your family."


She was absolutely right, of course.  I had only an hour earlier been talking to my husband about the new opportunities, new gigs, new jobs, and old jobs calling.  A wealth of prospects and potential.  A day here.  Another there.  Nothing too concentrated but enough to fill the financial void our family had experienced since I had not been able to teach vocally.  Blessings to be sure.  But with it, confusion as to the way of the winding, shrouded road ahead. 

What about my writing? 
What about the kids? 
What about the house? 
What about time for my marriage? 
As my friend, Annie, would say, "A good problem to have." 
But a problem I needed help sorting through.

I'll admit I've been confused.  I've been praying about these new opportunities.  So many projects in such a short period of time.  I've prayed for the meaning. 

Was this whole writing thing from the start simply a project in the interim of teaching? 
A way to get healed and whole before starting to work in music again? 
A therapy of sorts? 
Or was it a constant for me moving forward? 
Was it a companion that I now needed to fit in and around all of the gigs and travel, music and production? 
I knew the answer I hoped for. 
But for once, I told God, "Whatever road You're leading me down" -
or in this case, whatever mountaintop You're pushing me over -
"I trust You.  I'll go wherever You need me to be."

I knew the answer I heard.  It was the answer I hoped for, as message upon message, word upon word, phrase upon phrase blossomed in my mind each moment of the day.  I knew the answer.  Writing was the calling.  Teaching and production, the blessing in the interim of publications. 

But how, oh how, was I going to juggle all of it? 
The contracted work? 
The grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking? 
The house? 
The kids who need me more now than they did as toddlers in a different but profound way? 
I recognized my response over the past few weeks as those of a woman plagued with guilt and conflict. 
I had chosen Cleaning over Complex sentences...
Pressure over Prepositions...
Worry over Words...
Money over Ministry.

Fast forward a few hours past my session with Dr. Gray.  I was meeting our church administrator at the office to go over a list of breakfast items I said I would purchase for a brunch this weekend.  While we were sitting together, crafting a list and talking over the weekend schedule, for which she is 99% responsible, I said to her, "How do you do it all?"  I thought maybe God would give me a glimpse of how to manage through Olga.  She had been talking about leaving the brunch at 10AM to tend to her Sunday morning ministry of visiting shut-ins, reading them the Gospel message, talking to them and bringing them communion.

"Oh, it's a joy to me," she said and expanded on stories of people she had met, why they had touched her, and how she looked forward to it each week.  I was getting tearful, wondering if God was opening my heart to recognize a loss of joy in those things I've been blessed to do.  "I still feel joyful about them most days," I was thinking, "but maybe not enough?  Is that what I've been missing?  Is that your message, Lord?"

Yet in the midst of these thoughts, I heard Olga saying, "But what about you?  I don't know how you do it!  I read your blog (she still reads my blog?!?) and think, 'I wish I could say things like that.  Look at things like that.'  You can take the most ordinary situation...just things you could be anxious over in your life, and listen for His call.  I don't hear Him like that."

Lightning bolt...
Smack over the head...
Thomas Edison 100 watt moment.

"How's that for answering your prayer for writing, Cynthia?"
I heard God say as I sat in the little wooden chair and wept in her office. 
Such direction...
such unexpected reassurance...
such words to shore me up and keep me moving -  
previously plodding, but now skipping
down that winding, no longer shrouded road ahead.

He gave me the final push over the mountain through those unexpected words. 
And I'm so happy to make the leap, knowing He's holding my hand beyond the crest.

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