My brothers and I attended a Christian elementary school that we all loved very much. One program we were able to participate in was called “Young Authors.” From my limited memory, students essentially submitted a self-authored story, and were awarded prizes in their age category.
Young Authors is one of our most common dinner table conversations when our family is all gathered together. Older brother brags of his three time championship, younger brother relays the stolen first place prize that should’ve been his (we still have his book, it really should have been).
I leaned over to my Mom at the table and said, “what did I write about?” Since writing has become a rather important part of my life, I was curious about the fact that I couldn’t remember anything about my stories. “You wrote about Marie.” Ah, of course. While my brothers wrote extravagant stories about climbing Mt. Everest or animals being separated from their parents, I wrote the story of my elementary school best friend moving away.
“That makes a lot of sense, actually.” I told her, “I write my truth. I write what I know. I write from my experience.”
Sometimes on this blog I feel like Adele: “It’s so typical of me to talk about myself, I’m sorry.” But all I know to do is to write from where I am. To try and put into words my view on this life, God, relationships, identity, theology, and what I believe matters. I’m learning to believe in my opinions, to put confidence in my voice, and to trust that maybe my view might help someone somehow.
By the way, I had this moment at the Q Women conference I went to earlier this fall, where I realized – I don’t care about writing for the masses. They always tell writers to “know your audience.” I know mine. It’s my friends and family. It’s the people I already know, the ones who I share a home with, meals with, laughs with. The ones I call to assess every detail of a date, who give me a shoulder to cry on, and the ones I fly home to for the holidays. I write to give air and encouragement to the people who matter most to me, who God has gifted and entrusted to me.
I don’t intentionally write these posts for stranger Susan in Minnesota. If they come into my life and become my friend, that is wonderful. I have a never ending table with chairs for each person I might get the pleasure of meeting. But at this moment, I write these for my people, my lovely souls. I cherish you. I hope you know who you are. If you don’t – well, 2016 is going to change that. I firmly believe that if you matter to someone, they’ll give you their time (quick guess as to what my love language is?). So I’m planning on giving it all away – not to Mindy Lahiri and Meredith Grey and Jake Peralta (tv characters, if you didn’t know). I’m giving it away to the people whose hearts I get the privilege of carrying, whose stories have enriched mine. I’m so in love with the people in my life, and wish the world could know them. But the least I can do is soak up their loveliness and hope it spreads through these words.
So in light of the New Year, I really want to continue in what I wanted for 2015 – presence. I want to be present to my people, my Sweet Savior, and my own soul. I want to simplify and rid my life of excess – be it social media, extra stuff, or insecurity. Last January I wrote this about my New Year’s Resolutions. It is funny rereading it, because in my mind I had all these extravagant goals and hopes, and really it was quite simple:
Lesson: Life is better surrounded with people. Dreams are bigger when they are dreamed together. Memories are formed when lives are shared. Love exists because God made people to love.
If you want a way to improve your year? Your life? Find people. Connect with quality friends.
So I guess this is all to say, that as I walk into a new year of life I just want to love well the people in front of me. And if you want a seat at my humble table, a spot in my little heart, you are so more than welcome.
Happy New Year, friends. 🙂