I’ve been in a funk. It started before I left for Taiwan. A week before the trip, something awakened inside. In my sternum, a dark egg-shaped weight started to rumble with life.
Then, suddenly, I found myself in Taiwan, rushing around a humid island, trying not to lose team members and my job. The weight slept, dormant under the bustle of the mission trip.
Then, once I returned stateside, it rumbled again. I know exactly when it was born.
In early July, a week before Taiwan, I was on a boat to Catalina Island with Stephy. We were trying to stay warm on an unusually cold Southern California day and combat sea-sickness. She leaned her head on my shoulder, fighting the urge to vomit in front of a literal boatload of vacationing families. I pretended like I wasn’t getting hypothermia. There, it occurred to me, I needed to put my submission together.
You see, I had a deadline for an annual writing contest I wanted to submit to. Since I had previously submitted, notifications for the contest came into my inbox reminding me of this year’s deadline. The emails started coming in June, but on account of June being a busy, nightmarish hell-month, I put it off. That is, until my frozen, hallucinogenic mind brought it up.
Later, during the submission compilation process, I realized something rather unpleasant. My work kind of sucked. It wasn’t fake-ass creative false-humility, I mean that I looked at my previous submission for the same contest, and realized that it was better than anything I had written since. Thus, a weight was born.
Someplace, in my chest, there weighs a strange sensation that I should be creating something. It weighs heavier when I’m listening to podcasts and interviews with writers, creators and artists. At times this week, it could have been a thousand pounds.
There’s an art-shaped hole, and you wouldn’t know it, but a hole can be very heavy.
Today, I realized something. I realized something that I realize periodically and always forget. Kind of like Alzheimer’s or the ending to the notebook (insert crying emoji). Today I set aside some extra time to read the Bible and pray. I was time set aside for myself, not for church-work or anything else. Just solo time with the Big Guy. Even as I just started to read, I could sense a weight being lifted. The anxiety and tension of not successfully being a failed writer was assuaged.
I had turned back to the creative world to substitute something God is meant to provide. I ravenously drank from poisoned wells and suffered the resulting explosive-poop-laden dysenteric existence. I keep thinking back to a passage that Thomas often shared with me in our college days. I’ll wrap up by sharing it here.
So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
P.S. Funnily enough, time spent in a decent God-time made me pick up a pen (keyboard) for the first time in weeks. So… you know, (moralized summary of anecdote).