Daring to dream – inspired by today’s Office of Readings (Oct. 20)

There were so many great lines of scripture today in the Office of Readings that it was hard to choose (Divineoffice.org for Oct. 20). Here’s one from Psalm 18, verses 28 and 29:

You, O Lord, are my lamp,
my God who lightens my darkness.
With you I can break through any barrier,
with my God I can scale any wall.

I don’t have any great barriers that I need broken down at the moment nor do I have a large wall to scale. But, an idea came into my head this morning, an idea that has entered my mind before, and an idea I have resisted.

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a writer. I used to create books to continue the stories of favorite classics (Black Beauty especially) or write about my trolls (remember those? :-) ). I would illustrate and bind them, and I was very proud of them (in fact, I still have them!). When I was in middle school, I was discouraged in my writing by my teachers and gave up on the idea.

I then took up songwriting and did that for several years. I enjoyed especially writing the lyrics, as you can imagine, inspired by my heroine in music and lyrics, Joni Mitchell. That lady could sure write a line!

I moved into writing music about my faith and enjoying sharing about it through the lyrics, and praising God through the music.

And when email came along, I would write long, newsy letters that got a good response from friends. And when I ran GrapeVine Magazine for several years (a magazine about Catholic musicians), I wrote articles about artists and many CD reviews. (After ten years, I turned over GrapeVine to a new editor, Jim Logue).

So the writing never really stopped.

Entering the ‘empty nester’ phase of life, I’ve found more time for reading and I’m discovering that for the first time since my childhood, I am really enjoying the escape that is reading. Reading is the one thing I can do where I am not multitasking (which is why I refuse to read anything but an old fashioned printed book!), and that is immensely relaxing.

And now, the idea that was planted in me as a child is coming back, the idea to write a real book. It’s a book that taps into my endless interest in Louisa May Alcott and her writings. It’s come back several times and each time my response is, “What an absurd idea! I’m no writer. I don’t have the discipline. I don’t have the background, the education. I haven’t read nearly enough books, it’s been done before,  I have no idea how to do it!”

But the idea that presented itself today for a possible book spoke back to me: “You are reading now. You are writing two blogs (this one and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion). Your other blog is full of over 100 great, thoughtful comments from learned women who are writers, historians, English teachers and students. You have a whole community there to support you in your effort. A close friend of yours is a published author. Any other excuses?”

And then I listen to the Divine Office this morning and hear these verses:

You, O Lord, are my lamp,
my God who lightens my darkness.
With you I can break through any barrier,
with my God I can scale any wall.

It also says in the scriptures, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

This is what I will need to discern over the next several days in prayer – does God want me to pursue writing? How can I use it  for His glory? Do I dare dream about what could be if I do write a book? I’ve never dared to really dream before.

But maybe it’s time I put myself out there and dare to dream. I only know that the best way to find out if God wants this is to try it and see if the interest lasts and if the doors open. Perhaps I have a gift that God wants me to use that I am not fully using. Stranger things have been known to happen.

God’s wisdom is deemed foolishness in the world. Perhaps my “absurd” idea isn’t so foolish, if it’s inspired by the Lord. Only time will tell.

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3 Responses to “Daring to dream – inspired by today’s Office of Readings (Oct. 20)”

  1. Mia Ninera Says:

    You already are a writer, a gifted one, who’s writings can touch souls. It doesn’t matter how many books, good books, have been written about Louisa May Alcott so far. World needs a fresh one, from your point of view, the way you approach her life and her fiction.

    You are already writing it, it’s already happening with your Louisa May Alcott Is My Passion blog writing. Remember how Louisa herself wasn’t optimistic about writing “girls book” :) yet it proved to be a book that reads well even some 140 years later. Because she put her heart into it and that’s what you are doing in your writings about her.

    You know how it feels watching professional dancers or better to saynaturally good dancers, as if they don’t really put an effort into it, as if it’s so easy that you could easily do it yourself, but then when you watch yourself in the mirror – nope, you can’t really do it that well, certainly not without effort. Well, that’s how I feel reading your blog posts. It’s captivating, I can’t stop reading it and I’m either nodding my head or realizing what’s my own opinion about it, it’s always thought -provoking and that’s what a good writing is about.

    Think of how many people (well, women for sure) would enjoy reading your book in an old fashion form, so that their eyes won’t be too tired from reading it online. Many people don’t even like going through the pictures unless they are printed out and arranged in a real old fashion photo album, not posted on facebook, digital photo frame or stored in any other “virtual reality form.” (My Mom is one of them.) My point is that your writing will reach many more people who would appreciate if it doesn’t require computer to be read.

    You’ve done so much for my writing, your friendship is a true God’s blessing and your writing is so beuatiful that I have to say to you the same you said to me after correcting my paper – “nice job, keep it going.” I enlist myself as a strong supporter of the idea of transforming your blog into a book.

  2. Susan Bailey Says:

    I am incredibly, deeply touched. Thank you!!!

  3. Susan Bailey Says:

    As a follow-up, a particular line jumped out at me this morning while reading the Office of Readings (Oct 21) – this from a letter to Proba by Saint Augustine, bishop:

    “Therefore, if something happens that we did not pray for, we must have no doubt at all that what God wants is more expedient than what we wanted ourselves.”

    While this line is taken out of context (you can read the letter on divineoffice.org – click on Office of Readings and scroll down), it jumped out at me because of a gift I received recently that I didn’t ask for (but had secretly pined for in my heart) – a beautiful classical guitar that my best friend bequeathed to me (we played guitars together in high school). I knew that guitar was not given to me just for my pleasure but to enhance this music ministry. God wants me to learn how to play better and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

    My Louisa May Alcott blog has been a tremendous gift, one that I did not ask for. And now I’m beginning to feel a responsibility for that gift. It occurred to me too that the laptop I inherited from our daughter that took only $60 to fix was a gift unasked for that has responsibilities attached to it too!

    God’s ways constantly amaze me!

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