Today is my son’s 14th birthday. He’s my youngest son, and the second of my four kids. Being a mom is one of the few things in this world that makes any reasonable about of sense to me at all. It’s something I’ve always wanted to be and always wanted to do well. My kids and I are incredibly but also effortlessly close. I think part of that is because I’ve learned not to be afraid to show them my imperfections. I don’t mind telling them I was wrong, even if it also means telling them that they were right. My husband and I call them “the small people” which is, in some ways, ridiculous because since I’m all of 5 feet tall, they are already starting to tower over me.
We’ve done that, though, to remind them that they are in fact already full people with opinions, strengths, struggles, and desires. Do we have to help them figure themselves out? Absolutely. But, we’ve taught them to figure out who they are in relation to the world, so we can support them without domineering over them. Train up a child in the way they should geek and when they are old they will go to cons with you. I think that’s how that goes. Someone should consult the Book of Armaments to find out for sure.
That’s something else. Religion. It doesn’t make much sense to me and I’m not entirely sure it ever did. I’m not against it, though I’m probably something in between an agnostic and a very progressive Christian of sorts. This will likely become a bit embarrassing to a good chunk of the people I’m related to as ministry is something of a family business. I have more pastors, deacons, elders, reverends, missionaries, apostles, and the like in my family than you would find on the speaker list of the annual conference in a predominantly black megachurch. That was my life for a long time. And, I was good at it, too. Like Grace Greenleaf good. But, like the “wayward” pastor’s daughter, a lot of it just didn’t feel right to me and I reached a point of not being able to “fake it til I made it”.
So, I stopped writing. Writing has always been the thing I do best, but there were always expectations on it. “When are you gonna write that devotional?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked that question. I would start one (or three), but somewhere along the way, I just…lost my own voice in the process. I was supposed to be the encourager. The one that “pointed folks towards their faith”. I couldn’t let everyone know how many questions I had – that had been firmly discouraged when i was younger. So, on and on, and on, I went making something out of nothing and being hailed a preacher while I did it.
But, then, my life exploded. My best friend died, my anxiety spun out of control, and all I could do was sit in the ruins of what was left. And in those moments, I found words. My words. Not the ones I had been trained to communicate and not the pretense I hated with an insatiable loathing. I realized I didn’t have to conform to what was expected in order to create something of greatness. My questions had value. My struggles, my tears, my doubts, all of those were still real and still worthwhile. So, I told my story. And for the first time in forever, it was true.
So, that’s where we begin. With my writing wand in hand, I will make the magic I was always destined to. This time, with a wand that was actually meant for me.