Reading and Writing: Work, Spirit, or Health?

Last post, after reading Writer’s in the Storm , I blogged about this quote:

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them – workfamilyhealthfriends, and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back.

But the other four balls – family, health, friends, and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same.

You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.

~ Brian Dyson, CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises

In my reflection, I talked about my reading/writing life as if it were “work” (and that is how I tend to treat it in the summer when I am off from my job as a teacher).

However, upon further reflection, reading and writing, for me, cannot be labeled only as work, but rather as spirit and health as well. Why?

Writing as Spirit

I truly feel writing, and the reading necessary to be a good writer, is my calling. When I am writing, I feel as if I am doing precisely what I was created to do. The stories that drive me and the poems that sing through me feel like “gifts” received, not something I came up with on my own.

Furthermore, as a praying Christian who has served a long writing apprenticeship, I talk to God about it rather frequently. Many, many times I have considered quitting. (Once I actually did, but not because I didn’t want to write anymore, but rather as a newbie teacher, I could not find the time. This was not a pretty time physically or spiritually.) As with most major decisions, I talk to God about it, and instead of telling me to quit, he always sends me more ideas.

Therefore, writing has come to feel as if it is not just my personal passion, but my calling and my responsibility to the God I love.

Writing and Reading as Health

As stated above, refraining from writing impacts me physically as well as emotionally. The one time I quit for an extended period of time resulted in depression and illness.

Reading and Writing rarely feel like work, although some of the support activities–like researching markets and preparing submissions do. For me, reading and writing are joy, abundance, and life! Writing sustains my spirit, and reading fuels my brain.

These are powerful passions, however, in spite of appearances, I do not love them more than my family and friends.

The Real Balance

As an introvert, I tilt toward quiet time at home. Therefore, I realize I need to push myself to get out of my head and house and spend more time with my husband, family, and friends because I do, indeed, love them very much. Dad’s death this spring has reinforced the importance of spending time with the people I love and who love me.

I want to be a more involved wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, and friend. I definitely need to keep practicing.

What About You?

Which of the “balls” from the quote corresponds to the roles of reading and writing in your life? Are there any other “balls” you feel might need more attention? How would you make the adjustments? Please use the comment space below to share your thoughts. We are all a work-in-progress; let’s help each other along the way!

Life is Brutal…

Little did I know when I went on hiatus in March that I would not be back to Literate Lives until mid-June. A lot has happened since that last post:

My son is not only out of ICU, he’s been released from skilled nursing, residential physical therapy, and is home. We praise God for how he has recovered! He has regained the use of both arms; he can walk again, although with a cane, he can talk again, and most wonderful of all his personality and intellect remain unchanged by the accident.

One week into my son’s two-plus weeks in ICU, I got a call from my stepmom telling me my dad, who was in hospice care with Alzheimer’s, was not predicted to hold out more than a day or so. My husband and I rushed to Washington, where we spent the next two days at Dad’s bedside. I am so grateful I was able to be there, able to tell him how much I love him, and talk about all my wonderful memories as his daughter. Although he remained unconscious, I held his hand, prayed his ears were still working and somewhere deep inside him he knew how greatly he is loved, and was able to kiss him good-bye his last night.

I got sick on the way home from Washington, and as usual asthma prolonged the illness for two weeks–two weeks I could not go to see my injured son.

I had a couple of routine weeks. My son left the hospital for skilled nursing. Then Easter Sunday, I felt so exhausted, I came home from my daughters Easter Breakfast, went back to bed, and slept the whole afternoon. The glands in my neck were completely swollen, I was physically wiped out, and I kept popping off-and-on fevers. For the next two weeks, my doctor tried to figure out what was wrong, finally narrowing the potential diagnosis down to lymphoma or mononucleosis, although she was convinced it couldn’t be mono because of my age (Adults do not get mononucleosis). Finally after more tests and almost another week of worrying and feeling half dead, we got the news: It was mono. Hurray–Oh, no! Because I was so contagious, I had to miss my dad’s memorial service.It took more time to recover from the mono (and all this time I was missing work). Just as I was nearly healthy enough to return to my teaching job, I caught a cold. A cold, plus asthma, meant two more weeks out, and then…the cold turned into pneumonia! I didn’t return to work until June.

This has been a very difficult and emotional season, but as Piper says in the quote, God has been good. I am so grateful for my son’s recovery and so grateful not to have lymphoma. In all this time I’ve had to rest and recuperate, I have been so touched by the many kindnesses of the people in my life. In addition, I have come to realize how much I love my job and the people I work with, and how much I love writing and blogging.

At present, because I am still recuperating, I am only going to commit to one blog post/week. However, as I grow stronger and require less rest, I intend to get back to my two-day per week schedule.

So, welcome back to Literate Lives (and welcome if this is your first visit)!

Please use the comment space below to share some quotes that help you through tough times. Also, if you’d like, let me know what kind of content you are interested in seeing this summer.