Dear Writer - Let’s go for a hike
Over the next few weeks, I plan to share a series of letters written to a writer. Or perhaps more accurately, written to anyone following their calling. Which is all of us. When this letter finds you, know it's for you. My prayer is that it encourages and inspires you, and reminds you that the work you are doing is good and holy.
Today was a day where you could feel the sweat pour off your body, dripping in your eyes and making your clothes stick to your skin. In the sun without much of a breeze, I only wanted to find moments of respite in the shade. But the kids, Oma, and I came for a hike and hike we would.
“I’ll be the line leader,” Charlotte yelled, pulsing her arms forward racing ahead of us.
“Me next,” Isaac chimed in behind her. I watched their bodies sway back and forth, fists clenched, and sunscreen shining on their necks.
Surrounding us were wildflowers and dragonflies and a grassy path leading to the forest.
“Look, Mama, look!” Isaac moved a tall, green weed to the side with his hands showing us a lone, white mushroom. “Let’s find more!” He chirped as he continued down the path. He trusted that there would be more mushrooms to find if only we kept looking, kept digging through the weeds, and kept unearthing what lay below the surface.
Isn’t that the same with writing? We keep writing, digging deeper into our memories, our stories, and our world hoping and trusting that what we find will lead us to more - more words and more writing. And ultimately, more truth and understanding.
We made our way out of the forest to a picnic table next to a pond, the rumbling of our stomachs signaling lunch time. I looked across the pond to find our car holding all the lunch supplies. “I’ll be back,” I said and turned to walk around the water.
“I’m going too!” Charlotte yelled and skipped besides me.
“No, I’m going with Mommy,” Isaac declared with a red-faced pout.
We all headed towards the car with the anticipation of cold water and food. I heard Isaac’s feet shuffling on the grass before his voice whined, “Pick me up, Mommy.” I turned around to see his hands reaching up to me. We still had a ways to go until the car and we were all hot and tired. I took a deep breath to meet his arms and hoisted him on my hip. It’d been a long morning already under the heat, and he could have used a few minutes of respite. So could I, but I was determined to get to the food quickly with as few tears as possible.
Plus, I know what it feels like to want to give up, to shed a few tears, and feel immobile. Following a calling can do that to you, make you question yourself, feel uncertain, and ultimately want to lie down and give up.
But inevitably, circumstances change and someone comes along and walks with us. Perhaps it’s a well-timed book that speaks to our heart, or an encouraging note from a friend, or simply someone who offers their hands to us and gently leads us forward.
Back at the picnic table we opened our sandwiches and applesauce, the kids sitting on their knees to reach the table. The light hit the water in such a way that yellow water flowers looked like they were glowing. A heron passed overhead.
“This is a perfect day for a hike and picnic,” Charlotte told us.
I think to myself, yes, indeed, looking forward to the next one and the beautiful things we’ll unearth together.