On October 1 I started a 31 day writing challenge. It was exhilarating. I had my most popular post ever. I was participating in a great blogging community, and learning new things about blogging and writing every day. I knew that I had some busy days coming up – traveling, going out of town, and I had already granted myself grace that I would not be able to write every day. Things got busy, and I was able to write one post in the middle of things. And then I hit a wall. I wasn’t only finding myself too busy to write, I was AVOIDING writing.
Today, I told my husband that I’ve been rebelling against myself. I know I need to start writing again, and the best way I know to sort through all of the thoughts swirling in my head is to write about it. My heart is in turmoil, life continues to happen, and rather than dealing with things, I am just letting them swirl in my head and heart, which does nothing to help. So here, in no particular order, are the things that are on my heart.
I’m showing up, and that is about the best I can do today.
1. I loved the writing challenge, but it was a lot of pressure. Especially because as I was writing about finding balance, challenging myself to write every day was actually pushing things out of balance because:
a) time on Facebook takes away from my quiet and contemplative time, and one of the things I had been looking forward to was getting off of Facebook for a while. However, one of the best parts of the challenge was connecting with others on the FB site, and publicizing my blog on FB
b) I started a series and didn’t want to finish it. I have one more part to the series, and then I can move on to what is really on my heart. My last part of “Finding Community” was about the importance of fun in friendship, and I was finding the whole thing boring, and not fun at all to write about.
b) I had my most viewed post ever. Going from about 20-50 views a day to over 600 in one day was encouraging, but then I started watching stats – which is something I did NOT want to do. I don’t want to have to analyze and over-edit every post. I don’t want to care about word counts. I don’t want to watch new views and visitors. I just want to write to myself and anyone who happens to decide to walk with me. (Like I said, I have an issue with balance – I’m a recovering all-or-nothing type of person.)
2. I was out of town having fun with friends at Disneyland, and then at a hospice and palliative care conference. Not excuses, just my truth. I did not want to take time out of having fun with my friends, or take time away from learning OR from the beautiful solitude and relaxation of Lake Chelan, where the conference was held.
3. I really wanted to watch Doctor Who and the season premiere of the Walking Dead. No apologies. So there.
4. There are some possible changes coming up in my life – and the changes could be major. (Jobs, homes, kids, finances – a lot of possibilities brewing)
5. I miss my kids. My oldest moved into his own home this fall, my youngest is 3,000 miles away, and my middle son is home but never here. It’s all good – they’re supposed to fly, right? But my nest is feeling big and empty. And my sweet young friend who lives with us is getting married in less than a month, and I am going to miss her desperately.
6. I spent this afternoon watching a funeral on live stream. A friend of the family died this week. She was 37 years old. She had fought this amazing fight against a brain tumor for ten years. TEN YEARS. This was the kind of story I used to encourage others who were fighting cancer, and the kind of story that encouraged me as a hospice nurse. She had a positive attitude, researched alternative treatments, and loved and trusted Jesus all throughout this journey. This week her story changed, and she finished her race valiantly.
I think that the grief for her loss, for her husband and two young sons who are left behind, and for her brother and mama and papa who walked this path with her has hit me more than I anticipated. My heart is broken for all of them.
And I am reminded (which I know as a hospice nurse) that grief is cumulative. I wrote about this on my hospice blog, The H Word, in an essay called “Vicarious Trauma: When Your Heart Can’t Hold Any More Stories“.
I think about my own sister, who was killed in a car accident at the age of 19 almost 27 years ago. I think about the babies I lost years ago through miscarriage. I think about all of the patients I have lost over the past ten years. I have had three close friends diagnosed with cancer in three years. Grief upon grief, story upon story, they never leave you.
And sometimes the grief leaks out and takes me by surprise.
7. Another thing I am grieving is a broken relationship that needs mending. My heart is struggling between being healthy and forgiving and loving and setting boundaries versus feeling unsafe or allowing myself to continue to be victimized. What is the most loving thing? As I listened to the funeral today, one of the young woman’s friends spoke about the importance, even during the worst of times, of remaining “soft and obedient”. I don’t remember the exact words, but my prayer today is this:
I’ve been quietly following your writing and I really appreciate your honesty and your willingness to share a piece of your heart. I understand that avoiding writing. I have been doing that for almost two years and only just starting to make myself write again. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that it brought some peace and rest.
Thanks. I process by writing, and I had to get unstuck somehow. I’m glad you’re writing again, too.
Thanks for sharing your heart. Sometimes showing up is all we can do.
Also, I think the challenge was meant to be a good thing, to help us grow as writers. However, I’ve seen so many give up or get so down on themselves for not writing every day or what not. This challenge is just that, a challenge. It’s a personal one, and we should give ourselves permission to give ourselves grace.
Thanks for sharing your honesty and your struggle. Such brave words
Thank you, Mimi. It really doesn’t feel brave today.
I can relate to a LOT of these!! Watching stats is soul sucking.
Yes, soul sucking is the perfect description!
This is the first time I’ve struggled through the October series in over 3 years. I’ve hit a wall and don’t think I will finish it. I was recently laid off and it’s thrown me for a loop. Thankful there is grace! Blessings!
Your post is raw and honest…and lovely. Keep on giving and receiving grace.
Somehow you got my attention and I “read one more” blog tonight. It’s after 1 am and I can read no more, but I am very glad I came over and read yours. It was from the heart. thank you!
This is crazy heart felt…if only everyone blogged so honestly.
Oh Kristin, your honesty and vulnerability is such a beautiful thing! While you don’t owe any of us any explanation about why you took a break from writing and that is ultimately between you and The Lord, I am do glad you did share! This was truly so encouraging and I know many will be blessed by you not trying to put on a front. You have had so much going on emotionally and circumstantially and it is a good thing to pause and refresh your soul! This is where we get out writing material! I too struggle with balance and have been praying a lot about whether or not the expectations I put on myself are part of God’s plans for me, or they are actually keeping me in bondage. I’ll be praying that God heals, restores and gives wisdoms to your soul! Blessings!
I TOTALLY get your struggle! I started out strong! Then I started a piece of fiction. Two posts in I rebelled! I said this is mine! I want to keep it held tight to me! So I deleted, and posted a picture from my garden, and a poem each day! It was/is exhilarating. I never write poetry, and I sure love my garden. It felt right! It felt better! We ARE allowed to change our minds. That’s the best part of being a grown up!
I am the same way – writing is a relief to me when I have a lot of thoughts and anxiety floating around. It’s also a way I hide – I stop writing and I store it all up. Great post – thanks for sharing.
I love this post. I love the honesty. My life is really different than yours but I’ve felt similarly through the challenge… I love that you processed all of that here, kind of for yourself, but kind of also with us. Hope that this becomes a positive experience for you, that you continue to share & process & write. I feel like you’ve done it really well, in a way we can relate to. May God’s peace settle on you today.
Thanks for your encouraging words, faith. Sometimes the words just have to come out.