Today I read a story about a man, who after years of commercial writing failure, had an opportunity to ask his favorite author for some advice. He begged the author not tell him to merely “persevere,” saying he couldn’t take one more person giving him that same advice.
The author replied that he would not be so unkind to tell the man to persevere; instead he told him to quit. The author added that it appeared writing was giving the man no pleasure, for he was clearly in agony, and life was designed to be enjoyed. So the man should quit and pursue life. But if he found no other enjoyment after a few years away, he should return to writing and persevere.
Reading this story today I got chills. I've had many opportunities to throw in the towel; I've come close several times. By God's grace I haven't yet, and I'm still a working photographer (among a few other things) that pays the rent (mostly) with my camera or knowledge thereof.
After reading the story, and reflecting on my own, I started to think about the "Why?" Why do I keep doing this, as many difficulties as there are? What makes me not quit and go after an easier way to pay the rent? The reason, for me, was so simple it startled me: this is my craft. This is what I was made to do. As I recently remembered through an old box of family photos, this is what I've been doing since before I was 10-years-old. I am first beloved of Jesus, and my second identity is creator of contemplative photographs.
I don't throw in the towel because I can't. I mean, in the simplest terms possible I could pack up and sell my camera gear, and walk into a temp agency and get a job. But in the truest sense of those words, I can't abandon myself. And I am beyond grateful for the guidance, nurturing, wisdom of my husband, friends, and spiritual director who've continued to whisper my truth and truest self back to me when I forget.
And I wonder about you. I wonder my story is bringing up for you? I wonder if some part of who you are is sitting on a dusty shelf? I wonder if someone along the way told you it was impossible? I wonder if you feel like you never really had a shot? Maybe today you can take a chance, give yourself permission to type out your identity or your dream... to whisper it to me ::and the whole internet:: and give it a chance to grow restless within you until it comes overflowing out onto the world.
So share with me...