Blog baby, blog

In the 30 years I’ve been a runner I’ve run more than 150,000 miles. Still, some of the hardest steps I take are those first few getting out the door for daily runs.

Bill Rodgers, Lifetime Running Plan

I did not know what I was doing when I started inklingz last January.  Those of you who are personal friends know that it was a time of personal struggle–the culmination of many months of wanderings, a maze of questions on how to live out my faith, and crippling uncertainty regarding how to move forward in my life.

I had often contemplated a blog or newsletter of some sort.  I like writing.  I find it therapeutic and challenging to capture my thoughts and ideas in a structured form.  And I hoped to catalyze a dialogue on topics that rarely find a proper forum for discussion (at least one that feels proper).  Beyond that, I think I somehow thought I might find (part of?) my salvation, the penance for the hurts I had caused in others’ lives, by “helping” in this way.

And I think if I were to be really honest with you (and myself) I would have to admit I have often fancied myself somehow uniquely thoughtful on these topics.

So I wrote–my motivations as usual, straddling the totally selfish and the just plain arrogant–eh hem, I mean somewhere between selfish and giving–hoping it would somehow be a help to “you” (whoever you is) and a help to me as well.

A year on, I’ve learned a few things and resolved one.

  1. Blogging is difficult! It’s like being an artist and a columnist all at once.  One of the first things that struck me was how exposing it is to lay your thoughts out for the consumption of others.  In fairness, I am no artist; but I think I can now understand a smidgen of what it must be like to show a gallery of your work–your deepest self laid to bare for all to judge.  Beyond that, it’s just time consuming; and if you plan to publish with any regularity you have to force yourself to meet deadlines and be disciplined about it.  It’s a second job!
  2. You just never know what will connect with someone. I have spent hours and hours writing and editing essays of which I was tremendously proud and found that no one connected with them (or even enjoyed reading them!).  But I have also  written something on the subway in my Blackberry on the way to work (Life in 14 Seconds) and discovered that many readers loved it.  Which leads to the next one…
  3. We are all in different places in the story (/journey). I believe we’re on virtually the same journey, though the narrative we may use to describe it would vary immeasurably between its tellers.  To some extent its because we’re different people with unique experiences of this cosmic Path; but we’re also just in different places therein.  It’s been valuable for me to learn to treasure people more (thanks also to my friends from Life Uncorked). When you do, you can’t help but want to hear each person’s experience of the Story and value it as All that is True to that person at that time.  (I guess that’s why everyone connects with different ideas at any point in time).
  4. Biblical reality is based on Community. If ever I thought I had some unique thoughtfulness, I have been (mostly) cured of that idea.  I have been humbled this year as many of you have shared your own ideas and challenged mine.  I got an email recently in which a friend called some new realizations on prayer “easy peasy stuff”–stuff that I found to be beautifully profound.  It struck me, we really must do this together.  Only in learning from and teaching one another can we get more of the fullness that God intends for us.
  5. God is tremendously faithful and relentlessly pursues us with a Love beyond which we could imagine or would dare to hope. I will say nothing more on this for now.
  6. Blogging can be rewarding. One of my very best friends emailed yesterday to tell me he was getting married. In that email, his first words were: “I loved your ‘Life in 14 seconds’ blog.”  He went on to briefly describe how it affected him recently.  I was blown away.  Yes, blown away because part of me felt affirmed, but it was much more than that.  This friend has been a fellow Wanderer with me; one of my best friends with whom to talk and debate meaning over the years.  He has sought it all over the world, but he woke up one day and realized it was laying next to him.  In a style very true to himself, he proposed on the spot.  That picture makes me smile.  My great joy is in the peace and love he has found.
  7. People love bullet-pointed lists for some reason.

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions.  I guess I always figure if you are going to resolve to do something it’s best to just get cracking.  But I guess we’re built in such a way that sometimes it’s helpful to have a threshold to pass over that separates “then” and “now.”

Somewhere along the way this year, I lost my momentum of posting on inklingz.  I still think a lot on this stuff.  I still keep a notebook of ideas.  But it takes me so long to put them into a form that I’ve felt good about posting that it has often crippled me from trying.  I need to find a new strategy if this is to continue.

So my new Year’s resolution, 2010 is this: Blog baby, blog…blog more frequently, edit and filter less.  I will think less about running 150,000 miles and more about getting out the door.  I believe you can expect shorter posts, on average; and hopefully more posts overall.  Some will suck.  Many will be in need of editing.  But I hope overall it’s an improvement.

I’m glad 2009 is over.  In many ways, it was a very difficult year for me.  I believe during its days I have been changed in some ways–in the least, I know I learned during them.  I learned from the personal struggles and dark moments  and I learned from many of you who are in my life across many settings.  I am thankful for you.

Though I may be changed in some ways, my project remains.  I pray that many of you will cross a threshold of your own from uncertainty to certainty; from wandering thinkers to those who have arrived Home.  If these pages help any of us, God willing, I will do my best to continue to write them.

As it turns out, you are co-authors with me.  As we teach one another on the journey so we also write chapters of the Story together.

I look forward to what 2010 will bring for us all.

p.s. I hope this is littered with unparallel sentence structures, spelling and usage errors.

  1. Love it!!! So true about getting out the door! 2010 will be a great year for all:).

  2. Scott Carpenter

    I was wondering when the next Inklings sighting I would find after turning on my computer at work every morning to get me going for the day. Thanks for taking the time to write all of this stuff that either doesn’t get read nor yields many comments, as you stated. I have read them all but usually don’t take any time to respond for reasons and excuses that everyone has, but I do have a response this time around…
    I can’t stand running! I am convinced that a person is born with a pre-disposition to run or not run. I was born with a powerful, short distance attack body, such like the Dwarf in The Lord Of The Rings, but without the crazy beard and three and a half foot frame. I have attempted to improve my long distance endurance two years ago and completed the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC. This is only a 10K race that I completed in 70 minutes. My finishing time wasn’t great, but I was happy that I never stopped running. This gave me a wonderful sense of pride becasue I accomplished a personal goal to complete a race. Of course, I had terrible pains in the sides of my calves that made it difficult to walk for about 3-4 days after and I vowed that I would never run again. I hear stories of you completing 26 mile marithons and it gives me tremendous relief that it is not me doing that. I admire anyone who can accomplish such a task. The training involved is incredible and insane. God bless you…
    Do what you love, they say. I had a marithon of my own back in college. It was more of a challange/ dare then anything else. How many times could you masturbate within a 24 hour period? Now that’s a marithon and another story that I will leave out of this blog.
    Keep on writing baby!

  3. Thanks for the messages. I know they have been great food (nourishment) for thought and excellent for stoking conversation with friends.

    I had a conversation with my son a while back about using the gifts that God gives you. He loves to draw and paint and already has announced that he wants to be an artist. In our discussion he said something simple yet profound. “God wants me to draw.” Pretty cool if you think about it. God wants us to use our gifts that He has given to us. In fact, not using them is really a form of turning our back to Him. That being said, you need to blog or write simply because it is a gift that God has given you. God doesn’t give those types of gifts by mistake. And when has God ever made doing something great easy.

    BTW, the daily run can be great training for the big race…

    Could we see a book maybe?

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