If Only

I was so meek, so insecure. So tentative, I couldn’t see everything it kept me from. Everything it kept me from. How am I supposed to be a great author, like Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, when I did not spend my childhood authoring? When my waking moments were not dedicated to creating, composing, writing like they are supposed to be for all the great authors. What could I have written? Who could I have become?

If only I hadn’t been so shy. If only I had been stronger, riskier, more confident. If only I hadn’t been me, I could’ve written more. I could’ve experimented more, learned more, gotten better. Better than I am now. If only.

How can I ever be like Lewis and Fitzgerald, the ones I long to live up to, when I didn’t live like them? How can I ever?

If only I had known, I could’ve fixed it. I could’ve…

I’m sick of living in “could haves” and “should haves” and “if onlys.” This can’t be who I am made to be. I am born to write, aren’t I? As far as I can tell, God has made me to be an author. So what am I doing here? If I’m meant to be an author, an author I will be, regardless of my shortcomings, my weaknesses, my missed opportunities. I will be. Isn’t it, “I am”?

They say authoring contains an innate sense of ego, of arrogance, not necessarily sickening or overpowering, but present. Arrogance that presses gently, or firmly, into each paragraph that drips from the ink of a writer’s pen. Because every writer, at least those who seek to publish, assumes that people want to read what they have to say. Or care about what they have to say. Or need to hear what they have to say.

But some of us aren’t like that. We don’t write because we think we are right. Or wise. Or clever. We write because we have to. I would rather drip ink for myself and be penniless than write what I think others should hear and be rich. I write because I have to. I seek not recognition, fame, ego, admiration. I seek to know God’s story, the one He is writing with my bloodstained pen, the breath He breathed in me, the mind He made to see beneath the surface, the heart He formed to hope beyond all reason. I write for His story, not my own. “If only I had been stronger, riskier, more confident,” I might have missed the point. I might have mistaken my story for His. I am not born to be an author for myself, I am born to be an author for Him.

But, how can I say I am a writer, when I do not write?

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