Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It Would Cost Me More

“But I keep cruising, can't stop, won't stop moving
It's like I got this music in my body and it's gonna be alright…”

Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

I’m tired, hungry, and a little bit cold.  I should get something to eat or go to sleep, but I need to write.  I use the word “need” carefully.  I don’t want to write; I need to write.  If I don’t, I feel that I will explode, like in Langston Hughes poem, A Dream Deferred:
What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

I’m not sure what Mr. Hughes was referring to, what his dream was, but when my Purpose is deferred, by me or others, when I don’t write, I feel all those things.  I dry up.  I fester.  I stink.  My spirit sags, and I feel like I’m going to explode.  Maybe I don’t feel them all at once, but I feel them all eventually.   So I keep writing, past fatigue or hunger or cold.  Sometimes I’ve written when I was sick.  It’s that important to me. 
Sometimes I write a lot.  Other times, like tonight, I don’t write much.  But I write something.  I let God, my Muse, and the world know that I’m still here, that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. 
I don’t want anyone to feel the way I feel when I’m out of my Purpose, but maybe that’s what it takes.  Maybe we have to get so miserable that we finally feel that we have no choice.
Years ago I felt a very strong calling to go on a missionary trip.  I had it all planned, but then, for financial considerations, I changed my mind.  After I did, I felt miserable.  Nothing made me happy.  I tried to rationalize my reasons.  I tried to make myself feel better.  But nothing worked.  Then one night I got sick, perhaps a 24-hour flu.  I was feverish and chilled and miserable.  I finally fell asleep fitfully.  Then God spoke to me in a dream.  He was very clear.  He said,
            It will cost you more to stay home than it will to go.”
I am spiritually sensitive, but I rarely hear the voice of God and certainly not so clearly.  But that is what I heard when I woke that morning sweating profusely.  Within minutes, I made some phone calls and the trip was back on.  I left the next day. 
I’d like to say that the trip was life-changing.  I don’t know if it was that, but it was an adventure and it was fun.  So was the rest of my summer.  I don’t think it would have been if I had not taken this trip.  It would have cost me more to stay home, and I’m glad I don’t know how that would have been accomplished.   I’m glad I did what I was supposed to do.
That’s one of the reasons I write every day.  I’m supposed to do this.  The price I pay in delaying gratifications is not nearly the price I would pay if I didn’t Get Started and Keep Going.  It would cost me more to not do this.

Why? How?

The following questions may pertain to someone in your life. It might be God, your spouse, a friend, or your child or children.  Or they may pertain to any or all of the above.  If one of the questions doesn’t fit, then ignore it or apply it to someone else.  But I think all of these will apply to at least one person in your life.
Why do you love me?
Why did you pick me when you had so many other choices, most of them far better than me as far as I can tell?
Why are you so patient with me?
Why do you forgive me over and over and over?
Why do I have so much to learn from you and why are you so willing to teach me?
Why are you so kind to me?
Why do you see the best in me?
Why do you know how to bring out the best in me?
Why did you know how to change my perspective on life?
Why did you know how to change my life?
Why do you always stand by me even when I fail, intentionally or unintentionally?
Why do you keep encouraging me to never give up, no matter what?
Why are you always there for me at just the right time?
Why didn’t you come into my life sooner?
How can I love you more?
How can I become the person you see me to be?
How can I possibly repay you for all you’ve done for me?
How can I use my time better to serve you and serve the world?
How can I keep you always by my side?
How did you know that my life needed to change?
How did you know that only you could change it?
How can I spend my life with you and on you?
How can I love you more?  (Yes, I know I’ve asked that question already, but I really want to know.)
How can I Get Started and Keep Going unless you are with me?
The answer to the last question:  I can’t.
Why do I love you?

I have two answers to that one:  because you loved me and because I was born to love you.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Galaga and Purpose

 Today I played an old video game from the 1980’s called Galaga.  One gets the best results from Galaga by doing two things. 
1.     Shoot as much as possible.
2.     Shoot strategically.
Using these two principles may be helpful in life as well as in video games.
First it’s important to shoot as much as possible.  Not every shot will score a hit. 
Some shots may be wasted.   But the more you shoot, the better your chances.  This is why I write so many blogs.  Maybe not every one will score a hit.  Maybe some are even a waste of time.  But the more I write, the better I write.  The more I work, the better my chances of doing well. This is why I’m almost afraid of stopping.  I don’t want to be the person who gives up.  I don’t want to quit.  Of course, there’s a part of me that does want to quit sometimes, or at least take some time off.  But I (almost literally) can’t.  The greater the temptation to stop, the more certain I am that I need to be doing this, that I can’t quit, and that I am, in fact, doing the right thing, the thing I’m supposed to be doing.
So I keep shooting and I keep writing and I keep reading and walking and spending as much time with those I love as possible.  Not one of those things makes a difference if I only do them once or occasionally, but if I Keep Going, if I keep shooting, I will score well.
I will also score well with a strategy.  There are certain ways to score well, by shooting the right ships and creating combination ships.  So strategy is also important.  Quantity without quality is a waste of time and effort.   Quality without quantity is the same.  But with regard to the first idea, I knew a man who was introduced to me as an author of 40 books.  I remember thinking this was odd, because I’m fairly well-read, but I had never heard of him before, despite the number of books he had written.  The reason I had never heard of him was that all his books were self-published, which is not necessarily a problem.   The actual problem was that he wasn’t a very good writer.   Perhaps because he published his own books, he didn’t feel the need for an editor; but he needed one.  His writing was almost incomprehensible.  The fact that he had written a lot didn’t help him.  He needed a strategy; more specifically, he needed an editor, writing courses, and/or someone who could tell him the truth.   
Quantity and quality go together. 
This is why I Get Started and Keep Going every day.  It’s also why I read and study and do al I can to improve.  I’m not fighting invaders from outer space.  I’m fighting for my Purpose.  And I plan to win.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I'm Just Going to Write Very Quickly....

 I’m just going to write very quickly, almost a free write, mostly for the sake of letting my Muse know I’m here and to stay in the habit, even when I don’t feel like it.  With regard to habits, I’m creating more of them in order to create the kind of life I want.   Life is creation, but it doesn’t create itself.  In order to create the kind of life we want, we have to work to make it happen.
That’s really it.  We have to work to create the life we want.  We also have to know what we want.  Most important, we have to believe that we can get it, that we deserve it (if we work for it), and that it’s okay to want what we want.  Unless it intentionally hurts people or the planet, our desires aren’t wrong.
So I’m working for what I want.  I’m still writing every day.  I’m doing other things, too, all of which will help me to reach my goal.  Even with all that, I know I’m not guaranteed success. 
We’re not guaranteed success.  What a depressing idea.  Let’s break down this idea.  What does it mean and how can we keep it from discouraging us?
First, the word “we’re,” – we are – we.  We.  All of us.  Rich or poor.  The hardworking and the lazy.  The intelligent and the not-so-smart.  No one is guaranteed success.  People who start with extra advantages in life.  The gifted.  No one. 
What makes it worse is that sometimes success goes to the lazy, the foolish, and the evil.  I’ve worked for people who were unkind, unfriendly, and not even particularly bright in some cases.  I’ve worked for people who had no people skills.  I’ve worked for liars and cheats and I wondered, “How did they become successful while I still struggle?”
I’m not complaining.  I’m stating facts.  I’ve worked for people who should have been working for me.  And I’m sincerely wondering how this happens.  Did they work harder than me?  Were they luckier?  Did I offend someone?  Was it just not the right time or place?  Is there arbitrariness to the universe in which principles don’t apply and it’s all a matter of blind luck?
There may be no answers to these questions.
“Guaranteed.” There really are few guarantees in life.  Yet, I think this is good.  If I were guaranteed success, or anything, there would be no struggle, and it probably wouldn’t be worth having.  Some things are not only worth fighting for, they need to be fought for.  Love.  Learning.  Goals.  These things cannot be given to us.  We need to fight to get them and to keep them.  By fight I don’t necessarily mean struggle, but I do mean never take them for granted.  Especially love.
There are those who say life can be easy and that it doesn’t have to be a struggle.  Perhaps this is true, but for me, the struggle is not only inevitable, it makes the victory all worthwhile.  Currently I find myself struggling for some things that are important to me.  In the midst of these struggles, I cannot allow myself to ever forget what is most important to me:
·      God
·      My Muse
·      The people I love
·      Each moment

Life is not always easy, but it can still be good, and good is better than easy.  Good is something that we can create by following our Purpose.  So I’m following my Purpose by continuing to write.  In all honesty, I wondered if I was starting to lose my commitment and, worse, my ability.  But I think both are strong.  I feel very blessed.  To Get Started and to Keep Going is a blessing.  Thank you, God.  Thank you, Muse.