A few posts back I found the courage to make public the dream in my heart. I'm really glad I did - although I now feel strangely exposed. The secret is out and now I am accountable. But that is probably just what I needed to give me that last push. Because I have started. I have started writing my book. Wow - that feels really weird to say! It also feels scary, intimidating, doubtful, but most of all it feels joyful. Joyful, I think, because I have a plan for my future. Joyful because I am reaching for a dream I have had for most of my life. Joyful because I just love the challenge of putting words together that tell a story. Joyful because I think I am making God smile.
I first knew I wanted to write in the 4th grade. I was never a confident, secure child - even into my teen years. I was shy, quiet, and much more comfortable unnoticed. That's just my personality. In a lot of ways I am still that way today although being married to a pastor has forced me out of my comfort zone in more ways than I can count. In the 4th grade my teacher was a beautiful, young, black woman named Mrs. Evans. She only taught in our school for a year or two and I don't know anything about her other than she was very kind and gentle. I bonded to her immediately. During the year one of our assignments was to write a story. Mrs. Evans gave us the first paragraph and we were to go from there. Today I don't remember what the story was about. I don't remember any of the details at all. But I do remember how I felt when my teacher approached me and carefully asked me if I had really been the person who had written that story. She wanted to know if anyone had helped me. I didn't really know why she was asking me those questions. I told her I had written the story myself. At the end of the week she selected the three best stories and asked the writers to stand in front of the class and read their story outloud to everyone. Mine was one selected.
That was 40 years ago. There are many, many things I cannot remember from 40 years ago. But I clearly remember how I felt that day. I felt special, capable, and talented. I felt secure. And I felt joyful. And when I write today, I feel those things all over again. That is when my love for writing began.
There were other times in grade school and high school when writing made me feel worthwhile and important. Like I could really do something. I learned that even though I was quiet and not good at expressing myself with speaking, I could say exactly what I wanted through writing. There have been other times that my desire to write has been confirmed through people and occurances. But that first time, in the 4th grade, is one that will always be dearest to my heart.
I know the writing journey is not going to always be joyful. I know there are going to many frustrations and hard places. I know there are many rejection letters looming on the horizon. But right now, today, I am going to focus on the joyful aspect of it. And I am going to say a prayer of thanks for a woman who never knew the impact she had on a young girls life. Thank you Mrs. Evans. Wherever you are. Thank you.