I promised myself months ago, before the fireworks burst and fur-clad celebrities announced our transition from 2013 to 2014 in Times Square, that I was going to write again. And here we are at the end of January, these being my first words to be pounded out -- my first attempts at putting anything "out there."
Having a small child at home provides a ready excuse for avoidance, as well as the unending cycles of laundry and dishwasher loading and emptying and picking up bristle blocks and flashcards off of the floor.
I call it an "excuse" because it is. I consider motherhood and keeping the house running to be my first and most important work, but it isn't my only work. Writing is my work, too. And I've been running away from it as surely as Jonah ran as fast as he could in the opposite direction when God told him where to go, what to do.
I've been so afraid. I can see clearly how silly this is sometimes, but when I access a readily available catalog of blogging memories, I remember that the fear, however silly or wrong or restrictive and binding it may be, is not without reason.
When I first started blogging, I met new friends and reconnected with others. I made soul connections in what, at the time, felt like the most improbable way. Across geographic distances that would have made meeting any other way impossible, we had meaningful conversations. The internet felt like a great cozy living room or your favorite coffee shop -- the one with knobby wood floors, eclectic furniture, and tattooed baristas.
Somewhere in the course of my tenure as a blogger, my experience changed. While I maintained those meaningful connections, those cozy conversations with kindred friends, there were also those I could have done without. The critical stranger's voices, those that were only too happy to criticize and cut down, to lambaste and state assumptions about me as fact. Anonymous comments were cyber hit-and-runs, hateful words left without a face or name.
It didn't take much of this for the cozy living room to become a distant memory. The internet had come to feel more like a Roman arena where thousands of spectators crowded in and pressed forward, cheering as the victims du jour were ripped limb from bloody limb by the lions, the crowd cheering More, more. Please pass the popcorn.
I wanted no part of it.
I may share someday what has prompted my return. It's enough now to say that, for a thousand reasons, I know it's the right thing. I still see the arena and lions and crowd of spectators, and I still feel trepidation at volunteering myself like this. But I'm choosing not to let it chain me anymore. I've let loose the shackles, rubbing wrists that are reddened and raw and out of practice at doing this thing.
It's time to write again.
P.S. Jamie the Very Worst Missionary wrote about this recently, too and I may have shouted AMEN and fist-pumped at the end of it.