Like most things in life, I am scared and hopeful for what is new. And due to the pouring out of wise words into my life, I realized there was a purpose in my confusion.
A tuition problem at the University I attend -- an increase in the middle of the semester due to a mistake of placing me in the wrong section -- was the seed to doubt, a catalyst for it all, but even still a blessing in disguise. I spent a month struggling with that doubt, first entering my heart like a river run dry and I was able to tell myself it was only distraction. I told myself that surely this dream I have, being so passionate about libraries and the mission of librarians is what I am called to do. I prayed earnestly that God would make it known if I wasn't called to this place, to this profession. Even in doubt, I believed behind the surface that I was supposed to be a librarian. In my youth literature class, I devoured children's books and young adult fiction, falling in love with the stories I was meant to read when I was a child and reluctant reader. It was like taking a time machine back to my childhood, and it strangely felt like home. I began to learn about authors and illustrators and publishers.. and how the mad world of writing and publishing picture books and novels came to be; and I learned how these stories taught, consoled, and united children and adults. I fell in love with children's books, and I found myself thinking about something that I had never before legitimately considered for myself. I thought about writing books, something I always said I wanted to do "one day" but never truly considered as a full-time possibility. I thought about being a barista, I thought about living my life and walking my dog and being debt free with my husband and revising words on a page. I thought about writing, and how it is more of a burden than a desire. I began to consider that because of the support of my wonderful husband, I am financially in a position to explore the world as a writer. All of a sudden, I was awake in the middle of the night with the terrifying idea that I have two dreams, but one is stronger; one is a purpose for me. And that above all of those dreams is my overall true purpose to bring Glory to God. What did this mean? How am I to discern where the Lord wills me? How am I to look past the fear of regrets and efforts to control my own life? How am I supposed to assess if this is just discontentment or a push to rethink this degree?
I chewed on it all and everything around me was fuzzy. I prayed about not being impulsive, but also to be brave enough to admit if this isn't where I am meant to be. I talked to friends who kept me grounded and reminded me of his faithfulness; that He knows and will give me peace in where I need to be. Do not fret. And then, when a friend was praying for me in Waldo's Coffee shop, I told myself "I know what to do." Even when the decision was made, I knew the heaviness my heart would feel letting go of my dream to become a librarian. It soon became clear that my love for libraries and respect for librarians and their mission, and the efforts to promote early literacy and be a story teller to children was a dream very much alive. It occurred to me that I could still be involved in these library programs from an author's side, and that sometimes we grasp so tightly to what we want that we forget to listen to anything else. I know that as the days fall one by one I will have to fight the feelings of guilt and failure. I know I will have cringe moments of fear that I did the right thing. Strangely, it feels like a break up. But I know that it is right, perhaps the hardest thing to cling to when I want to be in denial.
I wanted to thank you, as a reader. This blog has reminded me that writing words is more than writing for a press release or an ad, or for money in general. Not that writing for these purposes is not admirable, but I did not remember my need for creative writing until this blog was born. I was faced with the pain or gratitude or fear I felt and I remembered the way it feels to write from inside, as if summoning words from some hidden place. I do not in any way believe that living a life as a writer is easy. Facing rejection from yourself and others is a common battle among all writers. But in the words of Anne Lamott, "my writing is like a person to me - the person who, after all these years, still makes sense to me."
Speaking of Anne Lamott, I want to finish this post, these thoughts, and this chapter of librarianship in my life with a quote that I intend to take to heart.
"I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott