Snow is falling outside my window. Again. This is our second big snow this winter. Since moving to Roanoke, we have had at least one big snow a year. This year it appears we are having two.
I like snow to a degree. It blankets the dead naked landscape with its newness. But, as with anything allowed on this earth for a time, snow turns quickly to menace. It keeps my kids from school. It makes dirty piles on the roadside. It turns my steep driveway into a slip and slide. After a day or so, I begin feeling trapped by the stuff. And like any good animal who discovers she is trapped, I thrash and pace. I lose focus for anything other than the noises of my children and staring out the window, obsessing over the extent of the snow’s heavy affliction upon me.
At least, for today, the snow is pretty, and forcing me to stillness and considering some of deeper truths…
It has been too long since I’ve last written, I know (insert sad faced emoji here)—one Christmas and two snow storms. This is not due to a lack of writing. In fact, I’ve been writing a lot. In January, I wrote a long article about the history of jazz music in Roanoke for a regional magazine, The Roanoker. That was hard work; I felt very much out of my comfort zone (I feel this way about most assignments as I’m writing them). It was the first article that required extensive (for a 2,000 word article) research: hours at the library digging up to my elbows through old newspaper clippings and hard-bound, vintage-typed histories of the African American community in Roanoke. More hours watching Ken Burn’s documentary, Jazz; and still more hours reading Ralph Ellison’s book, Living With Music, essays on jazz music.
Once I finished the jazz article, I began working in earnest on completing my application to Seattle Pacific University’s low-residency MFA program in fiction. Yes, I am (hopefully) going back to school. Even writing the words seems unbelievable. I have wanted to go back to school for years now. The problem with me having this particular deep-seeded desire is obvious and multifarious: I have five kids who all plan on attending college; I do not have a career which requires me to have a masters degree, nor is there any financially advantageous reason for me to get a masters degree; I don’t even want to get my masters in my original field of study—special education. No, I want a Masters of Fine Arts, in fiction; a field of writing in which I’ve barely dabbled, let alone published anything.
The MFA application is now submitted. It required (among other things) a three to four page personal statement, resume, and 25+ pages of fiction prose (double-spaced, praise God!). I’m still not sure which was harder—writing my resume or the prose.
There have also been more assignments given from The Roanoker. And I am still responsible for writing 1-2 posts per week to Superman’s blog: blueridgepm.com/blog. There is a book review I must finish this week and submit to Englewood Review of Books (one I’m pretty excited about, so stay tuned), and some short story submissions I’d like to prepare for the monthly publication, The Redbud Post.
Why tell all these things? It appears to be some sort of bragging post, my listing all this as proof of my most diversified, expanding writing life.
But no. I’m not sharing to brag. My list is my confession.
You see, as my writing opportunities and assignments have steadily increased to overflow (especially in the case of applying for my MFA), I have not held open my hands to feel the weight of God’s goodness. I didn’t think I was taking His blessings for granted. But at the same time I’ve been living my most ideal writing life yet, I have been desperately clawing—back to that caged animal—to gain some control in other areas of life: my marriage, parenting children with trauma backgrounds, finding balance in how we manage our money…just to name the big things.
It’s like watching snow fall and seeing it as ball and chain, rather than manna from heaven. Pregnant with blessing for the here and now. Opportunity to praise the One who provides what is needed in the moment.
How quickly I forget that the God who so generously pours forth the desires of my heart in writing, also pours forth His grace in these other areas as well. I just have my hands in the wrong position.
Lord, help me hold up my hands to receive. Help me feel the weight of your blessing. Then allow it to spill forth, saturating all of me.