Wednesday, April 30, 2008

To Write Or Not To Write

Yesterday was not a difficult work day but I felt exhausted all evening. I found my mind going in a variety of directions, none of them positive. I hope it was just my fatigue. I found myself thinking of a recent movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman called "The Bucket List". In the movie two terminally ill friends make a list of all the things they want to do before they die. I am not dying anymore than the rest of human race and I do not have a bucket list. I do sometimes have a list that changes all the time that lists things I would like to stop doing before I die. Sometimes as one gets older you feel like your life is spent doing the same routine and obligatory things all the time. On a good day it's called faithfulness. On a bad day it's called boredom. I think yesterday was an exhausting day, not because I worked really hard...I didn't...but because most of the day I was lost in myself and was being somewhat self absorbed. When I think about myself too much, it can be depressing. The mind has a natural tendency to be negative and to focus on what it perceived to be missing. It takes an intentional mental effort to focus on the positive. Occasionally, this is a challenge for me. Most of the time my mood is good but like the weather it can change quickly and without warning. Like a weatherman I cannot always predict the coming mood or how long it will stay. My comfort is that moods are like weather. They will change and a stormy day can become a sunny day just as easily as the reverse can happen.

Last night in my exhaustion I seriously considered discontinuing my daily thoughts. They've become a real struggle lately. I feel unmotivated, empty, and sometimes a little stressed about the pressure I put on myself to write them. The thoughts you are reading now are being written at 11:00 PM at night. I've been feeling like I am not saying much of value to anyone. Maybe I need a vacation from them (along with many other things). However, earlier in the evening I read the following thought by Henri Nouwen, a famous spiritual author who had many of his own demons.

One of the arguments we often use for not writing is this: "I have nothing original to say. Whatever I might say, someone else has already said it, and better than I will ever be able to." This, however, is not a good argument for not writing. Each human person is unique and original, and nobody has lived what we have lived. Furthermore, what we have lived, we have lived not just for ourselves but for others as well. Writing can be a very creative and invigorating way to make our lives available to ourselves and to others. We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told. We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them.

Perhaps there is value to just tell it the way it is even if I am empty or having a bad day. Obviously, I cannot and will not share every thought and feeling. Some are simply too personal for public consumption. I will continue to write daily thoughts without personal judgement of their value. As long as people want to be kept on or added on my distribution list I guess they have value. I do, however, need to avoid putting off my writing until 11:00 at night! I'm really tired and need to go to bed.

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