I’ve got to write a how-to article is all I know. With a latte in hand, there I am in my favorite coffee shop with three or four sorry points jotted down in a draft on my phone, altogether comprising some ten words or so. That’s it. And this is where I start, this is where I begin, and how am I to go anywhere with this? I’ve been wonderfully so in the depths with my manuscript, trying to feel deep into the heart of people who aren’t even real. But oh, it’s been real, and it’s all I’ve been good for. Am I good for anything else? Can I accomplish a thing? Here in the middle of life, with age-lines sprouting and growing and grays, faster than one can say–
When some are running away, running crazed …
My mind drifts back to only days past, envisioning when I stood out at that fence-line, overlooking the property that once belonged to my grandparents. This land, this soil, that creek just down the pasture’s slope hidden in the treeline, these old barns, this everything contains my heart and my blood. This is where I contracted poison ivy, where my grandmother strolled me around the yard in nothing more than a wheelbarrow, where I learned what big Christmas outdoor bulbs looked like, where I learned to heed caution with a bull about and snakes. This is where I learned to shuck corn and shell peas. But this amazing place didn’t just appear. No. This amazing place came from the sweat and hard work of my grandparents and many more.
And it’s there that I ask the question through a whisper of a cry for help: How do I get from this point to that point, to where I belong? How does my mind join my fingers to pour it out to something tangible? My soul feels wonderfully spent, so dried up, my confidence shaken. Through a wringer of a season, I know nothing but this …
Have goals and write them down. We all have them. We know we do. Stand back and take it in, think and search the soul. See the big picture. These three sorry points are at least a start, a shaky and feeble vision to something that might take me somewhere. That had the potential to take some sorry or wonderful shape. But it’s real and it’s there.
My grandparents lived in a small house. But in mid-life, they had a goal. They bought land and had that tiny house moved out to the property. By the work of their hands, with all who would help with muscle and knowledge, they cut down a path for that long, sandy driveway, leading up to a place for the foundation to be laid.
Write down what you know beneath those goals. I pour out my heart under each sorry point, sideways and crooked, building on the bare stakes I’d placed. Just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. What on earth could come of this?
That’s exactly what my grandparents did. The tiny house would do little for their family, but they hauled out lumber, for their pier-and-beam foundation. Staking out where they wanted to go, they erected beam after solid beam. They added what they could, one thing at a time, the little they knew to do.
Write and keep writing. Or work and keep working. By the end of the day, in that coffee shop, after tweaking it here and there, looking closely, line by line, I was amazed at where the article had gone. This connection had turned into that connection. It had turned into something I’m not even capable of writing. I marvel: How did that … yucky start … turn into that? It seems I can’t even take any credit, except that I remained, persevered.
That must have been exactly the sentiment my grandparents felt when they stood at that fence-line, overlooking their property years later. How did that tiny, yucky start turn into this? Something we’re proud of–the drywall, the fireplace, the heart of the home that held everyone’s hearts. This old and new home, this place where all the grand-kids were filled with life and love. Right there, the place where one got sick, where one cut her leg, where one set the pasture on fire, where they played in the sand, where boys threw frogs on girls, the place where they grew, grew wise, grew ties.
I stand there, the wind blowing through my hair, the past making and breaking my heart and mind. I miss my grandparents. I miss this place and these people of my heart.
It doesn’t always last, not the way we envision. My grandparents’ beloved home burned years ago, devastating all. But a home was rebuilt in its place, and though nothing can remove the memories of old, it’s a reminder … O Soul Within, don’t put stock in this world or yourself. Our work will and won’t always make the mark. And if it does, it could only last a season, breaking, buckling, or burning.
But we’ll never know unless we try. What’ll it hurt if we try?
We’re never too young or old.
Search inside the soul to know and follow this heart made from vision, made to envision. Build it, make it, let the breeze take it the length and breadth that God intends, flapping freely.
It’s the thanksgiving of the journey, O Soul Within, the three sorry points of a start that allow us to see what God can do, to see His glory, to remember–the beautiful building and rebuilding of us.
Is there something particular that causes your heart to surge with gratitude this season of your life? What is God building or rebuilding in you?