It’s December 7th and a fluffy layer of fresh snow is on the ground. With more to come today and tomorrow, in fact a surprising 9 or 10 inches by Wednesday morning, I’m realizing that winter is in full swing. It’s here, with its winds and snows and frosts, and there’s no turning back. The song in the video above is one of my current favorite seasonal tunes by my favorite band (6 days until I see their Christmas show!!! Sorry, sidetracked…) and it is especially well suited to my mood today. Maybe it’s the cold, maybe it’s the fact that it’s Advent, maybe it’s the seven days in a row that I’ve been sick; I have a few reasons to slow down… and to quiet down. In fact, that’s going to be my mantra this winter. “Slow down. Quiet down. Slow down. Quiet down.” I’m going to walk through my days, rather than run, skid, slide or barrel headlong into the next day and the next.
On Saturday I needed to write an article for the next edition of our church’s newsletter. My bout with the seasonal flu didn’t make that easy as I couldn’t seem to clear my mind enough to remember what I was talking about from the start to the end of a paragraph. So I cheated. I pulled out an old prayer journal and flipped through the pages to find a suitable reflection I’d written that could be adapted into article form. In the course of perusing the old journal, I found more than just an appropriate piece of material for my article. I found other tidbits that reminded me of the things I wanted to write; ideas and meditations that I now readily saw as seeds for longer works. And just like that the writing bug was back. I’ve repressed it by focusing on the other tasks at hand, i.e. directing/teaching RCIA, Theology of the Body study, adult faith nights, and life in general. The sacrifice has been a necessary one. I haven’t touched my in-progress novel for a couple of months, at least. I haven’t sent my completed novel to any new publishers in several months. To be honest, the ongoing busyness has kept me from dwelling too much on the lack of writing. It’s allowed me to ‘be okay’ with the break from it.
Then I got sick. I slowed down. I couldn’t multi-task. I needed quiet. And you know what, as much I loathed being sick, there was an aspect of it that was distinctly enjoyable. Knowing I wasn’t good for much else, I pulled out Full of Days and picked up where I’d left off in revising the chapter divisions. Sure, I knew that once I was well enough, I’d need to get back to writing RCIA class materials and cleaning the house but for a few hours on Saturday, I got to be a fiction writer again. The tradeoff: I am completely renewed in my motivation to complete the class materials so I can move on (or back) to writing fiction again.
All I had to do was slow down, quiet down, and things seemed doable again. So for the next few months, I’m putting on my winter skin and walking. Slowly, quietly. Sometimes that’s all we should ask of ourselves.