So you wander the world and you write and you write
and you post and you blog and you –
You connect. You don’t know that’s what you’re doing, but it is, you are connecting with something bigger than yourself, something outside yourself, something to give perspective and adult sound to the days of toddlers and diapers and dishes and the folding of clothes.
You connect on forums and you connect in private groups and you connect over email. You call Facebook the stay-at-home mom’s water cooler, and you break there at nap time to swap sympathies with others in the trenches.
You blog. You start out at Blogspot, but you move to WordPress about the time the first kids start school. By the time the fifth is born, you host your own site. You’re growing up. But you’ll never be “one of them,” one of the cool bloggers, and you wonder if you missed the golden window. But really, it’s that you don’t care enough to try for the club: you just want to write, and you have six kids, and Voice is precious, and you’re writing to make sense of life.
So you do write. First about parenting, and then you can’t write about parenting any more: you live it 20 hours a day (about 4 hours, you might uninterruptedly sleep). You shift gears to homeschooling, and then you can’t write about homeschooling anymore because it has taken over your life. You do need some space to be a more rounded human. You write in a journal and you write in your Bible and you write in Gmail and you write in 1500 word blog posts (because you can’t seem to make them any shorter). Sometimes you write letters by hand, but you’re not very good at this, and you hope your friends understand.
Years pass. You keep writing. Community grows and relationships form. Sometimes you now even write in texts, though you’re far too worried about grammar and syntax and spelling to be a good text-er. You have best friends you have never met in person and real-life friends who don’t read your words and other friends who straddle with foot on each side of the fence. You have written to connect and you have connected. And in it, God has connected with you.
But then one day, you move home. You pack up the house and the husband’s career and you move across the continent to settle near your roots. And suddenly all the connections you were trying to make are right in front of your face. You realize that all along you were looking for them, these people in the flesh whose blood runs through your veins, these friends in real life who stuck to you when you were young. Being here, being near, makes you –
It makes you fall quiet. It makes you listen. It makes you pick up a Sharpie pen and a Moleskin journal and write words by hand. It makes you close the computer. It makes you stop reaching for connection because connection is available in real time. This is something new! This is foreign. You’ve moved around all your adult life and the online connections kept you centered, because they followed you where ever you would go. But this now, what is this, what do you do?
You write with your life. You toy with it, a little. Try your hand. What does it look like to show up in a new way and write with your life?
At first you don’t write actual words; you just write with your presence. You write with your parenting. You write with your love making. You write with your cooking and your cleaning and your schooling and your perseverance through Witching Hour. You write in the actual moment of the actual life with unseen ink and unpressed keys, with a heart that is engaged and present.
And the connectedness of your heart spills over and heals up dry spaces you didn’t know you had. Words start coming. You fly through that journal, and mark up Isaiah like it’s some sort of treaty upon which your life depends. You open the computer and stare at your name in the search bar, your very own permalink, and the question slowly dawns:
You don’t know. But you posit your fingers, press down, and –