Ever since I came out from under my pen name yesterday, I’ve felt like I was coming out of my skin, vulnerable and exposed. Writing is giving name and form to the intimacies of my mind and my soul. Blogging is like bringing them out, tender, from that protected place to release into the cold and vast cosmos. In the best case scenario they find safe landing, touching another human being willing to consider them and perhaps even invite them to find a place to rest in their heart or mind.
But all the worst case scenarios were running through my head yesterday. What if no one cares enough to read them? Or the horror: What if someone does read them and then wonders why I ever bothered to put them out there in the first place? What if I run out of things to say or creative ways to say them? I’d had so much inspiration at the start, but just after I launched I found out that the very clever thing that I thought I might write about eternity had already been said, more or less, by Mr. Francis Chan. And another foundational concept of my blog, the idea of the usefulness of obscurity, has already been written about and published in book form a week ago by a Pastor named Jonathon Martin. (I haven’t read either book, but have heard both are excellent). I feared being under-talented, redundant and foolish for even taking on this blog. So many more important, more creative and more articulate people out there that everyone should be reading!
After spending a good part of the day feeling like an animal pacing a well-worn path, re-reading already published blog posts and checking and re-checking analytics on the blog, questioning my own sanity, I knew I needed to leave the house. The family decided a visit to a local nature preserve was in order.
It was a cold, wet, mushy day here in Minnesota. We’ve gotten our hopes up several times already in recent weeks by a teasing and fickle Spring, only to have yet another sloppy and frigid slap in the face by Winter not willing to make a graceful exit. A few tufts of green have managed to make an appearance out of foolish optimism or brave persistence, I’m not sure which. Yesterday was bleak, the sun unwilling to provide a crutch on which to raise my slumping mood. Grey Skies and brown Mud would instead press to my side, one of my arms tossed sloppily over each one as they nudged me brusquely forward to walk.
We had just come through the wooded portion of the path where very few signs of life had been present. It was a landscape that had already died to winter, been buried in snow and then faced the exposing indignity of a messy melt. But as we rounded the corner towards the open landscape of the marsh, I was roused by the distinctive call of the Red-winged Blackbird. My eyes scanned and found him just above me on a branch, red and yellow epaulets proudly displayed, a splash of life in a dull landscape. And that’s all the encouragement I needed to allow hope to take root. That one creature, that harbinger of spring, was heralding new life to me!
A few seconds later, we took another turn and a whole flock of Red-winged Blackbirds took flight, startled by our presence. And I realized when faced with a slew of other birds just like him- voices much the same, each with bright shoulders poised to flash, many of whom surely had carved out more important territories for mating than my bird- that my little guy was probably not so special. But that individual little herald had been important to me. His voice had brought hope and his presence had brought life from his little outpost on that scraggly branch that late Spring day.
Hmmmmm…. It all hit a little close to home. I may not be the most important or the most unique voice in this cacophonous and crowded flock of bloggers. But I’ll sit here on my small branch and hope to bring some beauty and life in this place where I’m stationed. Perhaps I’ll be the only herald for some or maybe just the first of the flock they will encounter. But truly, of primary importance in fact, I’m not really singing for them anyway. I’m singing for my Love and I’m singing because I have a voice. All else should be of secondary consideration.
Does anyone else ever feel like a very inconsequential presence in a very vast universe? Or conversely, when have you found the smallest presences to be of greatest importance?