The Cracks

The Cracks

I dropped my phone the other day. Facedown. On the hard, hard floor of Target. So I was zero percent surprised to pick it up and see an array of cracks branching across my formerly unblemished screen. “What luck.” I thought to myself. “What a f*cking curse.” Bonus points to anyone who knows what that quote is actually from because it really wasn’t that serious. In fact, I don’t think my screen is cracked at all. See, I have one of those protective privacy screens that makes it hard for people to see what I’m up to and is supposed to make it hard for gravity and hard surfaces to triumph, so I’m pretty sure the damage is only protective screen deep. But at the same time, I still haven’t removed the screen protector to find out for sure, for sure. Not yet. I’m pacing myself. Because God knows I’ve discovered more than enough cracks in other things lately. Myself included… myself mostly. But it ain’t all bad.

I posted that snippet on instagram two weeks ago, but I wrote it three years ago. A fact one of my friends found hard to believe in light of some of the drama that has been unfolding in and around me in recent times, but it’s true. All this new drama is actually nothing new. It’s just bigger and better. Because so am I. (And so are you!) I remember feeling really deeply about what actually inspired those words three years ago and now, I just find it all deeply amusing. And fast forward three years… I know I’ll probably feel the same about everything swirling around me right now. (Assuming we survive y’alls president. Yeesh.) Because a lot changes in three years.

For example: I started this blog three years ago. And I did really good with it for a good amount of time, but this year… it has been a struggle. Because my struggle with singleness has changed. As a writer, I never want to pretend, I don’t want to try to guess how someone is feeling or (even worse) tell them how they should feel, so anything I’ve written here has always come from the perspective of: This is what’s happening, this is how I feel about it right now and this is what I’m hoping against hope will prove to be true in the end. And the end is still out there, still unwritten, still unknown, but I feel like I’ve said just about all I have to say.

Just about.

I think I’ve got ten more in me. And the reason I think that is because I have decided to write ten more posts and then add “SingularShe” to the list of chapters I closed in 2017. Because I’ve got other work to do and if I’m honest… I have used this blog as a distraction and a shield more than I should have.  It gave me an audience and instant gratification in so many moments when I should have buckled down and done the hard work on the books, the scripts and the scores that have been waiting to see the light of day for years. In some ways, this blog had become a protective screen.

But it’s cracked now. And when so many of my fears about singleness were (and are) actually fears about legacy, my name and what my life will actually be remembered for once it’s all said and done, I realize that I have a lot of work to do. And no more time to waste. Especially when so many of the direct hits I have taken lately have been aimed specifically… some might even say strategically… at my legacy, my name and what (if anything) I’ll be remembered for.

So it ain’t over till it’s over; and it ain’t over yet, but it is wrapping up. Because if I learned anything from dropping my phone (and I probably didn’t), it’s how much my phone means to me. Because (#humblebrag) I drop and/or knock over plenty of things in an average week and none of them come close to recreating the “Dear God have mercy on me!” feeling that an iPhone freefall inspires.  Because few things are as valuable, not just monetarily (shoutout to Verizon and the money they take monthly) but personally – my phone is full of information and memories and conversations, my phone, like my writing is full of me and who I am and what matters to me. And it would be a tragedy to lose that.

Because if everything in the world has taught us anything lately, it’s that anything could happen tomorrow and nothing is guaranteed. And I know that seems like a real dark whomp-whomp kind of thought, but it doesn’t have to be – because it’s also true in the opposite direction: phenomenal things can happen and we can defy all the odds. Those NOs and rejections and denials we’re so afraid to face are not guaranteed. But in trying to protect ourselves from possible hurt, we too often insulate ourselves from great possibilities. But no more. It’s October. The perfect time to be audacious. (#AudaciousOctober)

So let’s take some risks. Let’s start some things… and end some things… let’s think about what we’re keeping protected and why… and what we want to leave behind when it’s all said and done… and let’s get cracking.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

– Leonard Cohen –

Paperwork

Paperwork

Right around this time last week, 4 out of 5 people on my Facebook feed were posting and sharing this song. And rightfully so. It’s legit. Even I posted it. And I generally shun doing anything that everyone else is doing. I’d say I’m a rebel, but too many other people already have so… #itsdeadtome

Anyway, I had that song on repeat all day at work. And at one point, I was sitting there at my desk with tears in my eyes. Not because I was moved by the beauty of the song, but because everything about my life at that moment was so opposite to touching the sky. Far from soaring or dancing on the wings of anything, I was going through boxes and boxes and boxes of paperwork for one of the company heads. And if there is one thing that I hate, it’s paperwork. And the only thing worse than paperwork? Is somebody else’s paperwork. So I was miserable.

But there I was. And I realized that moment was basically a summary of most of my life. I have all these high hopes, dreams and beliefs and they are great and they are encouraging and they lift me, but most of my life? Honestly… it just looks like paperwork. It’s boring. It’s mundane. I don’t even know why most of it is happening. And it feels so far from everything I’d rather be doing.

But it’s happening. So it’s gotta mean something. Or be worth something. Or be building something in me that means something or is worth something. Right??

I certainly hope so. Because yesterday I had a moment. A friend of mine texted me with some great news. An awesome door is opening for her. A door that I pointed her towards. Which I don’t say to take any credit for, I only mention it to highlight how stilted my life sometimes seems. People are walking through new doors all around me and meanwhile, I feel like I’m forever outside and forever knocking. Forever filing paperwork. Forever given the jobs that no one else wants to do. Never asked to do what I want to do or what I’m good at… except… that’s not 100% true.

Because I am good at paperwork.

A few hours after shedding those workday tears, I was adding the printed labels to the stupid folders I had just spent all day organizing and filing. And I felt… pleased. Proud even. I would never have asked for that task, but I finished it. And I finished it well. And when looked at in the right light, that’s actually a good sign for my future, even if it looks like it’s going nowhere fast.

I think back to the parable of the talents in the Bible (Matthew 25:14-30), the short version is that three servants are given a certain amount of things to handle for their boss – one gets 5, one gets 2 and one gets 1. The boss goes away and then comes back at some point and has a debrief with each of them. The first two servants doubled what they were given, but the third servant has nothing more to show for the time that has passed. So the boss gives the first two more and but takes the little from the last servant. Whomp whomp. Anyway, because of the use of the word “talents” it’s really easy to romanticize this story and imagine that each of the servants was given something good or that they liked to start with. But what if it was all just paperwork and filing?

What if it was all something  that they could do (obviously), but wouldn’t typically choose to do? What if there were other things they would have much rather been given?  It makes it a lot easier to understand why that last servant flamed out so spectacularly. And how easy it would be for me to do the same. To look at what I’ve been given and do just enough to maintain it, but invest nothing of myself and add nothing to it. Saving all my energy for when the door to something I really want to do opens. When what I should be doing is using what’s being given to me now to build up my stamina, strength and resolve for whatever is on the other side.

For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance.”

So note to self: Whatever you have now – whatever time, whatever relationships, whatever tasks, whatever paperwork – even if it’s nothing you would have chosen, it’s something you’ve been given.  Not to keep you from what you really want, but to build and strengthen you for something more. 

So play that song a million times more and cry if you need to, but don’t stop filing. Get that paperwork done.

The Odds

The Odds

Truth telling time: I’m tired. And kind of losing hope.

And not even really about being single. That is what it is. I’ve tried everything I can and everything everyone has suggested and nothing has “worked”, so it’s cool. I’m cool. It’s not on me. But writing… that is on me. And where I go with it, I feel that’s on me too. And I’ve got all these impossible dreams that keep creeping closer and closer to the realm of possibility. And it’s freaking me out.

My entire life feels like it’s heading in the direction of too much for me. And the more I find myself believing in the impossible, the more I find myself losing hope in me.

And I’m pretty sure that’s right where God wants me.

I’ve been reading the story of Gideon lately. It’s in Judges 7 and the superfast version is that God called him to lead an army into battle. He started with an army of 32,000, God said “Nope. Too many.” and cut it down to 10,000. Then God said that was still too many and took that number down to 300, and then sent that 300 up against an army of 135,000 (Judges 8:10). And the 300 won. The odds were 450 to 1. And the 300 won. Which is amazing. And crazy. And miraculous.

But here’s the thing: a victorious outcome in that battle was always going to be a miracle because the odds were always against Gideon. That original army of 32,000? The odds were still 4 to 1 against Gideon. But 4 to 1 just feels more plausible, doesn’t it? When it came time for the pre-battle pep talk, Gideon may have been sweating a little, but he could convincingly say “It won’t be easy, but we can do this.”

But a pep talk to that army of 300? Where each one of them would be personally responsible for taking down four hundred and fifty soldiers?  I think it would have sounded much less convincing but much more sure. Sure that they were going into the fray and sure that they only way they were going to make it through was by the grace of God.

So I don’t know where you are in your battle plans, but if the odds don’t feel like 450 to 1 yet, just wait for it. Because if you’re sweating, but still feel like you can plausibly accomplish what you’ve set out to do, then there’s probably still more to it.

But if you, like me, feel like the odds weren’t great before, but are absolutely impossible now — congrats. You’re right. And also right? Those fears that you can’t do it and can’t handle it and can’t make it. Because you can’t. But you will. You totally will. By the grace of God.

So brace yourself. And may the odds be never in your favor.