Have you ever purchased a birthday card for someone and then forgotten to send it? I do not mean you forgot by a few days, and you mailed it anyway, because it’s just a few days, it is still within the birth month and anyway, it’s the thought that counts, right? That is perfectly acceptable. I am talking about finding the birthday card in your purse/gym bag/glove compartment or under the seat of your car/sofa/perpetual kitchen counter top pile so long after you bought it that sending it would cause the recipient to question your sanity.There is no “there must have been a lag at the post office” when elected officials have left office since you purchased that card. It is best to just pretend like nothing ever happened. Including that person’s birthday–at least until next year.
Sometimes good intentions have nothing on reality. You mean to, but you don’t. To send that card, to make that phone call, to put a dinner date with a friend on your calendar. To sit down and write your life. But you don’t. And then, what do you know, a year has gone by and that thing you meant to do is still looming there, still undone, not quite the same but still presenting itself to you expectantly.
That is where I am today, here, on this page. Almost a year has passed since I tried to put myself back in this writing place. This is not the first time. Last year was not the first time. But this time will be different, and not just because I don’t ever want to have to type the words, “Well, the last time I tried to start writing again we had a different President.” The difference is me. It is in my continued attempt at understanding the turns life can take, and in my attempt to surrender my anxiety and sadness about those turns to a God who promises grace. It is in my attempt to acknowledge that part of my surrender involves not squandering this gift I’ve been given, this ability to write, period. For my own sanity, and to connect to others, and maybe even to open doors I’ve been telling myself are only for “real” writers to walk through, I will stay this course. I don’t know what will come of it, but sometimes when you have let something wither for too long, it is best to just…pretend like nothing ever happened. At least until next year, right?
It’s next year, and it’s time to mail the card. Happy Birthday.