Once again, things have grown eerily quiet on this blog. So much so, that I have to admit I’ll honestly be a bit surprised if any of you will even see this post. There’s a part of me that wants to apologize for the silence and promise to do better in the future, but I can’t quite bring myself to do it.
You see, I have been living this summer.
Now I can already see you all scratching your heads and smiling (oh so patiently) in my direction. “Well, of course you have been living, Gillian. We only like to watch shows about the walking dead. We don’t actually believe in them. Now run along like a good little author and keep the blog posts coming …”
Here’s the thing.
So much of our lives as writers are spent in our own heads. We walk around in a bit of a cloud—a story cloud, if you will. Our minds are wrapped up in characters who don’t truly exist, running lines of dialogue and conversations that will never happen. We traverse paths and wander lands that have never before been seen. We dream up life and death, hope and despair, challenge and adventure, victory and defeat.
It is little wonder that writers are notorious for absent-mindedly gazing off into nothingness, because that “nothingness” is filled with a world of adventures that no one else can see. Imagination is a beautiful thing.
But this summer, my friends, I lived.
For three months, I spent hours in the saddle working with an awesome wrangling team to teach kids about God and horses. I talked and laughed with kids and was reminded of just how precious they are in His sight. I watched students learning to live their faith day in and day out. I mourned loss and rejoiced in the community of a family that goes beyond simple blood-ties. And in the dark of the night, I bared my soul to the Maker beneath a crown of distant stars.
Each moment was a blessing, and each day was a gift.
In January, I wrote a post about how I couldn’t settle for just one word for this year but wanted to choose a thousand words instead. At the time, I had every intention of exploring that concept and writing posts about new, exciting words for the year as they came to me. Well, here we are, three quarters of the way through, and I am finally writing a post about a word. Have you guessed it yet?
Oh my friends, I want to live this year.
I mean truly live.
Live fully. Deeply. In the moment. Not just for the moment, because when all is said and done, that’s such a shallow way of living, and I wish to dive deep. To be wholly present in every moment of the day. To take it all in, breathe in slowly, and bask in the gift.
The world we live in is broken and hurting and twisted, and so often that’s all we can see. But it’s also incredibly beautiful. A breathtaking creation. Sometimes, I have to force myself to stop and look around. Not just to rush on in the hectic pace of the day to day, hurrying to get the next thing done and taking the wonders around me for granted.
If you ask me, we spend far too much time looking forward to the next moment of excitement, rather than being truly grateful for, or truly experiencing, the moment that we’re in.
I don’t want to do that anymore. For me, living in the moment might mean setting aside my phone and disconnecting from the online vortex that’s always trying to pull me in, so I can better connect with those around me. It might mean setting aside a good book (gasp!) so I can catch up with a friend and invest in their life. It might mean missing a blog post … or two … or several months’ worth … so I can engage more in the day to day, maybe have a chance to reach out to someone who is hurting.
And maybe even admitting this makes me a terrible author, but it might mean unplugging the writer side of my brain every now and then and emerging from the storyworld to live fully in my world for a time.
Time, my friends, is a valuable currency. There is no guarantee how much we have left. But rather than being frightened by that knowledge, I hope to use it to inspire me to live fully for Christ and invest in the things that will last, on the moments that impact my soul and the souls around me. I mean to spend my time well.
Will you join me in truly living this fall? Let’s be grateful for each day we have been given. Let’s enjoy each moment with all of the challenges, ugliness, grace, messiness, hope, sorrow and joy that come with it. Let’s live and live well.
Do you have any ideas for ways that you can live more fully invested this fall? I’d love to hear your thoughts!