Sometimes I still think of this little piece of the web is as quiet and all mine as it was sixteen years ago. Back then I knew exactly who my reader was because she was the only one. I have found one of the best disciplines for me in writing to be that of knowing my audience—and these days that audience changes often and is thousands more than one, which can make it hard to know them. Sometimes she is a stay at home mom. Sometimes a pastor wanting to shepherd women. Sometimes a friend. Sometimes a stranger. Sometimes a single. Sometimes a poet. Sometimes a priest. I am unsure of whether that makes my readers the chameleon or if I am the chameleon. Sometimes I open messages from people saying things like I am their new best friend or kindred spirit and I think, this is the price and gift of writing with my heart on my sleeve. Thousands of people think they know me, and maybe you do.
I think we are too protective of our stories, though justifiably so. Sticks and stones and names and bones—people do have the power to hurt you, never mind what my grandmother told me in the attic of her Cape May house when I was five. My lip was quivering because I wanted to believe what she said, but also, I had been hurt and didn't that matter too? Of course it did and she gave me a strawberry candy, and put the conch shell to my ear so I could hear the ocean and forget about the names I'd been called.
Paul said in whatever situation he has learned to be content, and I think some of that contentment came from understanding the story he was telling wasn't his own, but his Savior's. Contentment comes easier when we aren't comparing and contrasting. But who has time for that these days? Everyone has an opinion or wants an opinion.
Thank you for joining (if you did) along on this week's series about challenges for the newly married. I knew I was writing to a particular demographic, but was encouraged by the few unmarried and long-marrieds who read as well. I'm also grateful to my husband for being the sort of man who trusts me to write about these things and never reads over my shoulder. He tells people he wants to minister with the grace he's been given and my heart bursts because that sort of humility is hard to come by and usually comes by discipline that hurts.
I find it hard to come by good new poetry online, but John Blase is a constant feed to that void. America's Tomorrow was poignant and I haven't stopped thinking about it.
Here was a great little piece on how we ought to be like Sherlock as Christians.
Wesley Hill wrote a long-form piece on Jigs for Marriage and Celibacy: you can't die to yourself by yourself. Make yourself a cup of tea and settle in for it. It's a good one.
Also, because so many people asked after my Instagram post, Grove Collaborative has a cool little thing where if you click on this link you get $10 off your first order and I get $10 off my next order. My husband said, "It's like a pyramid scheme without the pyramid or the scheme. A win-win." He's right. We love Grove and order all our cleaning supplies from them quarterly (which, if you know me and how many lengths I will go to to avoid shopping in an actual store, is a game-changer). This is our latest loot and they always throw in free things (we got free soap and free dish-towels on this order).
If you missed any of this week's series on Challenges for the Newly Married, here's a quick list: