What is the one thing you feel would “delete” you if you couldn’t do it? Maybe it’s your job, or taking care of your family. Maybe it’s music or art, or maybe you’re a fitness freak, and so it’s exercise. Perhaps you have a passion for reaching out to those in need.
I wish I were so noble, but mine is words. Words, whether spoken, written, or whispered in the dark of night, thrill me. Words feel such a part of who I am that without them, I wouldn’t know who I am.
I sometimes think I must have come out of the womb talking, or wiggling my tiny baby fingers, to loosen them in preparation for typing. I can remember following my mother around when I was three years old, reading to her from a book she had given me for Christmas.
It’s like I never had to learn words. They were just there, inside of me, waiting for an opportunity to leak down my fingers and onto any receptacle they could find – journals, napkins, walls, clothing, body parts – you get the idea.
Several years ago, I got sick, so sick that my continued presence on Earth came into question. That thing you see in movies about people examining their lives at times like these really happens!
I remember lying in my bed, thinking about going to “meet my Maker.” I pictured holding my hands up to God, to show what I had done with my life.
That’s where the visualization ended. You see, my hands were empty.
I thought about what I should have done with my life. I drew a blank. I had been a good wife and mother, had tried to help others when I could, and had faithfully pursued what I thought was a good relationship with God, but that was about it.
As adept with words as I like to think I am, I can’t express to you what a sad day it was for me. I felt like the man in the movie who tries to bargain with God. “If you will only let me live, I’ll change.”
I thought of the scripture from 1 Timothy 4:14 (ESV) “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.”
“Okay,” I thought. “When I get up from this bed, I’m going to pay more attention to what God would have me do with my life.” Having no idea what it might be, though, I set about trying to figure it out.
I started with prayer. “God, what would you have me do?”
In my head, God said, “Peggy, what can you do?”
God had a point. What could I do? I wasn’t very good with numbers. I loved music, but couldn’t say I was good at it. I couldn’t see myself building Habitat houses or following Mother Teresa’s footsteps to India.
I felt God encouraging me. “Stop thinking about what you can’t do and think about what you can do. What gift did I give you? What can you do for which you have no explanation, that you did not earn, that you did not achieve on your own merit? What makes your heart sing? What makes you hunger?”
I pondered that. What could I have done with my life? What could I still do? What could I do, period? What made me hunger?
In my heart, I heard God whisper one word, “Write.”
It made sense. Words were what made my heart sing. Words made me hunger.
I pictured God nodding wisely.
Obviously, I did get well, and that’s when I started writing. I joined a writer’s group, to which I still belong. I may not write every day, but I always have a project going. When doubt tries to creep in, I hear God whisper, “Write,” and I pick up my pen and wait for the gift God gave me to trickle down my fingers. And it always does.
So, my question for you is, “What makes your heart sing? What makes you hunger?” Because somewhere in your answer, God is whispering.