Sometimes when I’m really bored and looking to keep the shenanigans to a minimum, I’ll drive over to my local Walmart about a mile away and peruse the aisles. I can easily lose myself for a few hours, and generally wind up coming home with a new candle, or an eggplant that I have big plans for — but then usually just end up forgetting about until I see its shriveled purple mass in my veggie drawer. I almost made a Walmart run tonight, but stumbled across You’ve Got Mail on TV; staying in was suddenly the easy choice.
Last Christmas season I was Walmarting and doing my weekly wandering to see what I could see, and I did something I rarely do: I wandered down the book aisle. The funny thing about me and books is that I have a ton of them, but most I’ve never read. I’ll buy them because the cover is pretty (interestingly, I’ve also been known to buy wine because of its label…coincidence? I think not…), or I’ll buy it because the inside cover led me to believe it’d be a good read. Then I get it home, lay it on the arm of the sofa so that I’ll remember to read it whenever I pass by, but inevitably a holiday or other event at the casa will spur me to pick up and clean the house — at which point the book gets shelved.
This book-buying thing went on for most of my 20s, so I’ve made a concerted effort in my 30s to put them back before I leave the store. I’ll allow myself to wander the aisles with a book or three in my cart, but really — who am I kidding? I figure putting them back not only saves me money and from feeling guilty for not reading them, but it also burns a few calories by having to cross the monolithic building to get them back to their proper aisle.
At any rate, last Christmas I actually bought a book. It’s a 2012 Devotional Collection called Our Daily Bread, and since I’d been feeling the need for something of its kind, the fact that it was in my path made purchasing it a no-brainer. Its first devotion of the year is what inspired this blog, and ever since January 1, I’ve made it a priority to read them before hitting the hay each night — minus a few nights in January and February when work travel tripped up my nightly routine. For me, I find that reading them quiets my brain and gets it into the right place to be able to nod off to sleep fairly quickly.
More than once, I’ve sat down at this computer to write my blog for the day and I’ve had no idea what to write about; some posts likely reflect this. But after my head goes to a particular topic and I find that I’m writing about something that wasn’t inside my noggin just a few minutes before, it has happened — on more than a few occasions — that when I finish writing, click the Publish button and head into bed for the night, I’ll read my devotion for the day and it’s exactly in line with what I’ve just written.
The first time it happened I was surprised.
The second time it happened, I smiled.
Last night’s blog post was a bit blue, but it’s where my head was at the time. Some things I don’t feel like glossing over or ignoring when it’s time to write, and while the post was likely incredibly vague to everyone but me, I’ll say that sometimes I look back on my life and I see a lot of bad and not a lot of good. I know this isn’t the full story, but occasionally the icky stuff is what stands out more than the happy things.
The devotion that I read last night immediately after writing spoke directly to where my head had been for the hour or so I’d been at the keyboard. Check this out:
“What is memory? What is this faculty that enables us to recall past feelings, sights, sounds and experiences? By what process are events recorded, stored and preserved in our brain to be brought back again and again? Much is still mystery. We do know that memories can be blessings — full of comfort, assurance and joy. Old age can be happy and satisfying if we have stored up memories of purity, faith, fellowship and love.”
After a few more sentences, however, the devotion takes a bit of a turn. “But memory can also be a curse and a tormentor. Many people…would give all they possess to erase from their minds the past sins that haunt them. What can a person do who is plagued by such remembrances? Just one thing. He can take them to the One who is able to forgive them and blot them out forever.”
The devotion wrapped up nicely, and once again I was smiling. Whenever I seem to have a heavy heart, something greater than me reminds me that the burden isn’t mine to bear — it’s mine to share.
I’m not surprised by the connection the little book of daily devotions has to my life. I’m not surprised that I came across it and bought it — the first book in the last five years I’ve purchased (except for Motley Crue’s The Dirt which, yes, I fully realize is a direct contradiction to said book of Christian devotions). It seems the book of devotions was in my path at a time in my life when I needed it the most. Only I didn’t know I was looking for it.
Today I was doing a Google Images search for a client’s logo, and of the many graphics, photos and doodles that popped up, there was something that seemed out of place. I clicked on whatever the picture was and was taken to a blog where a woman had written about, well, writing. It was an encouraging post in which she basically said that if she’d done all her research about being published before attempting to get published, she would’ve quit before she started. She continued, saying, “If you let the fear of the unknown (could I make it in this world?) stop you from even starting, you won’t start.”
So true. She recommends, in this case, choosing to be naive — to not dig so deep that you stop yourself from making any progress at all. And as someone who overthinks most of my writing instead of actually just sitting down and seeing what comes out, it was something that I needed to see — that very moment that I saw it.
At first I was surprised I came across it.
And then I smiled, because it really wasn’t surprising at all.
Tonight I am thankful for the reminders that I get from — get ready — God. Yes, I said it. I say “God” because for me, that’s where I firmly believe I get my best, most meaningful nudges, my guidance to stay on the rails, to color (usually) within the lines, and my peace. I realize that God can be a controversial word. If it is for you, I wouldn’t be offended if you stopped reading. When writing this blog, I’ve occasionally struggled with how much to say, or how little to say when it comes to my faith. Do I not offend the masses and instead refer to Him as “a higher power”? I probably have before. Do I instead take the whimsical approach and give a shout out to the universe? This I’ve definitely done, and for the most part, my intention was to express exactly that — whimsy — instead of denying my God.
But while the past four to six months have shown me things that I could pass off as coming from somewhere else, I know their true origin. And since this particular post doesn’t have much to do with whimsy, I figured tonight it’s time to call it what it is for me.