We Who Are Blessed

My friend and fellow author Celeste Perrino-Walker shared on her Facebook page a habit she has developed that really helps her on those down days. She has what is called a “thankful jar.” She found a big jar and every day puts a note in it recording the best thing that happened to her on that day. Then on those days that she feels bad, she opens up the jar and reads the many ways she has been blessed.

As I have said before, writers tend to be insecure, perhaps even neurotic. We write our books and short stories, eager for someone, anyone to read them. We ask for critique, on the surface welcoming criticism, but secretly craving approval. And when something major happens, like a book tanking, you wonder if you will ever write again. Woe is me.

But look at it from another perspective. Of all the times to be living in the world, we picked the time when it is absolutely easiest for a would-be writer to make it on their own, to get published. And of all the places in the world, we were blessed by being born in a country where there is free speech, free enterprise, and the possibility for a decent education.

And let’s talk about education. I would suspect that many of you have a college degree, or least a high school degree. Think how few people in the world have that privilege. In my case, with a PhD, I don’t see it as something I earned, or am entitled to. It a gift that God has given me, and I don’t dare squander it.

The same goes for writing. We write not for ourselves, but for those who read our books. We are honored, blessed, to be called to speak to those hundreds, thousands, even millions. And it’s intimidating to think that they expect us to have something significant to say.

Being a writer is a humbling experience, or at least it should be. It’s like the first, and only, time I officiated at communion at our church. Circumstances led me to serve as acting pastor at our church, and when communion time came along, even though there were ordained ministers in our church, I was chosen to lead out. It was an incredibly humbling experience, to stand as representative for God in that setting. I only did it once, and will probably never do it again, but it’s an experience I will never forget.

Each time we write a book should be like that. We are called by God–or at least by our fellow men and women–to share inspiration, knowledge and yes, entertainment. It’s not something everyone can do, even though many try. But in many cases, it’s something we are born to do.

And if we’re born to do it, it’s a travesty if we don’t do our best.