I don't know how many other people this happens to in life, but I live trying very hard to live up to my own aspirations and intentions. Sometimes, the list of what I hope to do, have said I would do, or want to do, gets so big, I become unable to begin.
Recently, the list had piled up. The only solution to the emotional and actual task logjam is to start doing them. More than a week ago, a friend wrote about the struggles and sufferings of her daughter and I promised to send some comfort in the form of food. I got the packagde material. It got ruined. I got the baking material. Baked, it got eaten before I could ship it. I got materials again. Another project to mail cropped up. The packaging got damaged. I duct taped it. I now have a package filled and not shipped and a baked good done and not shipped.
Around the same time I had failed at not shipping the baked goods originally, I got writer's block. It's been a two week hiatus from getting any serious licks in on my word count for the book or postings on my blog. I began to consider chucking the whole book because the dry spell felt indefinite, permanent. Maybe, I'd said everything I needed to say, so maybe I needed to stop saying things.
The thought of not writing made me sad and lonely. The thought of staring at the blank page with no words to dance in my head made me frustrated and miserable. What writing sin had I committed to dam up the muse? I have a project editing that takes a lot of energy. I felt tapped out. Writing friends said "READ" and "WRITE" but my brain said "REST!"
Other things began to crowd the schedule like laundry, cross country for one teen, homecoming shopping for another, a dance for a third, homework for the middles, plus we started CCD. Days blurred together and two weeks passed with neither package being mailed, and the baked goods again being consumed.
The blog lay idle. I'd get to the end of the day and feel poured out, spent, and still have that nag. "You haven't mailed the package you said you would. You haven't written." Both felt more obnoxious to remember each day that passed. I comforted myself with, "You did a lot. You did enough. It's okay." But it wasn't.
Not being able to write makes me crazy, so I tried reading. I made it ten pages before I put down the book and now can't find it. So I tried writing. I wrote at least four drafts that, for some reason, felt run out. Failed promises even to one's self are like that. Failed promises to others are worse.
Sin is like that, damming up one's ability to access grace until one faces the backlog and works to unclog one's heart. These delayed actions weren't sins, but they were what I had failed to do, and that also clogs up one's capacity to access grace, to take part in being joy for others.
Going back to the blank page once again, it hit me. Fulfill the promises. Do what you said you would do, and the rest will come. I pulled up my friend's address so I could mail her blueberry bread and made preparations to take my kids to the post office. Immediately, the words began rushing forward, almost demanding I sit at the computer, but I made them wait. Once the dam was broken, I knew the words would come back.
So this week, the small success of my week was to get the two packages out the door...and get back to writing. :)
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Copyright 2014, Sherry Antonetti
About the Author
Sherry Antonetti is a Catholic published author, freelance writer and part-time teacher. She lives with her husband and 10 children just outside of Washington, DC, where she's busy editing her upcoming book, A Doctor a Day, to be published by Sophia Institute Press. You can find her other writings linked up at her blog, Chocolate For Your Brain! or on Amazon.