We’re driving from Kamloops to Prince George to deliver our ten-year-old granddaughter back to her mama, having been blessed to have had her with us for the two weeks of spring break. The melancholy I felt as I tucked her into bed, and settled in for one last bedtime chat last night is a shadow. In its place: just gratitude for our time spent together. Melancholy and gratitude—it seems these two often come together.
This morning, the sun is shining and it’s a perfect day for a road trip. It’s silent in the car. My husband concentrates on the road, and our granddaughter is in the back seat lost in a library book. I’m contemplating my manuscript and other writing projects and looking forward to having time to get back to them now that spring break is almost over.
I granted myself a reprieve the past couple of weeks—my attention, instead, on the better work of grandparenting. Now, I’m hungry to wrangle words in daily blog posts and to pull my manuscript out of the top drawer of my writing desk where I tucked it away before she arrived. Sometimes, I wrestle with the demands and obligations of life. They pull and tug as I try to carve out time in which to write. I wonder if the silence and solitude I crave is a selfish indulgence.
When I roused my sleepy granddaughter this morning, I found sheets of yellow legal pad paper on the floor beside her bed. It’s often that way when she’s with us. She’s a writer too: she’s always scribbling stories, or plays, or something. Last night she was plotting a children’s book. I read her work this morning, and the four W questions she answered in order to create a framework around her story. I was struck with how words and writing have always come naturally to her. It seems to be in our DNA. It’s who we are.
I sit in prayer on quiet mornings and commit the day’s word wrangling to prayer: that I put hope out into my sphere; that my words help someone to see something in a different way; that through my vulnerability someone comes to understand that they are not the only one. Most of all: that my scribbling glorifies my Creator.
Writing comes naturally, but it doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes I struggle to chisel something from nothing like I’m trying to carve marble with a toothbrush. Other times—and it is times like these that keep me returning to the page—words flow like pearls falling from broken strings. I see things in new ways as I tap out words and rearrange paragraphs.
In order to be a faithful steward of the desire and ability to write—limited as it is—I must make time to practice. It takes time and intention, and these come in solitude. There’s just no getting around it. It’s why my granddaughter leans into her natural tendency and sits up in bed at night with a legal pad and paper or a journal. She has years of practice and discipline ahead of her in order to take her natural tendency and form it into a craft. It is that way with me, even after all these years.
It is in this rumination about desire and ability and craft that I find the answer. I honour my Creator when I remain faithful in honing my craft. Closing my door and hunkering down with words is treating what I've been given as treasure I can share. And the miles pass by, and the driving and reading continue in the car, and my mind rests lightly on returning to my writing sanctuary next week.