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Why I'm Writing Here
Some reflections on what I'm writing about, and why
It's been a couple of weeks since I last published. My wife always advises me that this is a bad way to begin an essay. My readers are not paying customers. And I personally don't want to fall into the trap of "blogging about blogging". Nonetheless, acknowledging this gap in publishing is worthwhile, and I think the reasons for the gap are worth exploring, because they coalesce with why I'm writing here in the first place.
One of the obvious reasons for the gap is that summer travel has kept me plenty busy. Immediately on the tails of my IndieThinkers cohort, I drove back to Virginia from Texas, then flew to California the following weekend to see Thrice (the subject of an upcoming essay) and visit with friends. And now, as I type this, my house is full of in-laws whom I love dearly (not being facetious) and we're preparing for an upcoming trip to the Outer Banks. All of this, of course, is happening while striving to be a good husband to my wife and a good father to a burgeoning toddler(!). And while I've managed to incorporate writing into the quotidian rhythms and responsibilities of family, work, friends, church, etc., summertime is unique in its ability to disrupt all of those with the joyful burden of time-consuming recreation. Vacations take up time normally spent on other activities, as they should!
But if I'm honest with myself, I also need to acknowledge that I'm missing the accountability I had in the cohort. As fun as writing is, the reality is that it requires effort, and my lizard-brain prefers to avoid expending energy as much as possible. This isn't just true for writing — I wouldn't get up before 6AM for outdoor HIIT workouts rain or shine were it not for the accountability of other men around me. My instinct to consume and conserve is strong. It takes a lot of work for me to say no to free dopamine. I know that this struggle is not unique to me, but I think that it is a proclivity that has nonetheless inhibited me in a lot of areas.
The reality is that the path of least resistance is very appealing in many ways. I believe in grace, by which I mean divine mercy on account of the crucified and risen Lord, and its abundant availability and givenness, but I also believe that it's something I very easily forget. And though it is certainly grace alone that has "brought me safe thus far", the reality is that when I forget that truth, both I and those around me suffer for it. Regarding our vocations, or "callings", Luther said that God does not need our good works, but our neighbor does, and work requires effort.
I think this idea of vocation is one way of how I've reconciled in my mind both my theological and practical convictions. More concretely, it's how I reconcile believing "God loves you as you are and not as you should be" and that "nothing in this world worth having comes easy". I hope to explore this in more depth at another time.
So, what am I doing by writing here? I think it is first of all an exercise for myself, to undo the damage wrought by my willing participation in the global lobotomy. I write to "iron out the wrinkles in my brain". But I also hope to help others iron out their wrinkles, maybe. To remind others that they are loved. To challenge others to tend to their growth. To share the good, true, and beautiful. To recover faith, hope, and love.
If you're reading this, thank you for your finite attention. I will try to honor it as if it were my own. I hope and pray that you walk away from each entry with a little more peace, wisdom, or love than when you arrived.