I'm going to be totally honest: it's been a rocky writing week.
Between my writing time being cut short by early school dismissals, the creeping doubts that threaten to overwhelm me, and the spiritual questions I've been having while reading St. Francis--the mystic who refused too many words--I feel pretty blocked.
On days like this I am plagued by doubts:
Am I a selfish mother because I am sending my youngest to daycare while I pursue something for myself and my vocation?
How can I write about simplicity when my house is overrun with stuff?
Will I ever get my voice right?
Will all of this writing just be a spitting into the wind?
As I immerse myself in his life, I sometimes wonder, what would St. Francis do?
Well, probably, he wouldn't write at all. I imagine he would've appreciated the Scripture that came into my inbox today. Proverbs 17: 27-28 says, "The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint...Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent."
This lack of words plays into my fears. St. Francis was wary of using too many. He only wrote his Rule of Life when pushed, and he discouraged his followers from owning prayer books. He didn't encourage theological study but instead, wanted the Gospel to be simple.
In his younger years, Francisfound himself disappointed by his repulsion of the lepers who walked the roads he traveled. After much prayer, God graced him with the ability to embrace and kiss a leper he saw on the road. Once Francis' “deeply entrenched habit of pushing the leper to the edges of his space..was forever broken...the order of things was turned upside down.” St. Francis prayed that God would help him to love that which repulsed him. When he was able to embrace both the literal lepers and the spiritual decay within himself, God used him to work wonders.
When I read of the mystics' lives, I know that I too need to pray that God will help me to let go of my own spiritual disease. But sometimes I'm afraid that I what I'm supposed to let go of is the words, the writing, this vocation itself. That it means too much to me.
Then again, in my anxiety, I tend to miss the forest for the trees.
I'm thankful for the friends who remind me that following my vocation might actually help me to be a more patient mother. That the tension between my search for simplicity and my actual life makes my story more real. That a voice is found through the writing and I can't know what meaning it will have when it's all done.
St. Francis might not have wanted words like I do but at least I can follow him into these prayers of letting go. My fears won't likely go away but I wonder if maybe, among many things, what God really wants me to do is give up control, to let go of the doubts and the self-absorption that swirls deeper into whirlpools of lies, turning me away from God and back in on myself.
*From St. Francis and the Foolishness of God