Make Things for People You Love. For People You Want to Meet.

I “borrowed” this great thought from a great little book called Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. Inspiring book. It also confirmed what we pastors have known for a long time. We always borrow our material. I have files of borrowed ideas. I’ve done this for so long that I have a filing cabinet full of paper ideas because I’ve been a pastor longer than there has been internet. And I always credit those whom I’ve borrowed from. That is a decision that reflects my integrity. I would be aghast if someone heard a sermon of mine and thought I stole the sermon from someone else. Or an article. Aghast.

I digress.

This tip came from the appendix of “deleted scenes” from the book. This is not one of the 10 things the author chose to inspire us. He just left it here for us to be inspired by. And I am.

I write, I preach for people I love. I hope my church knows that. I hope my neighbors know that. And I hope you know that even though we haven’t met YET. I do want to meet you.

I want to meet you who has chosen to live in a small world but eagerly has discovered there is so much more. I say eagerly even as that twinge of fear just got you.

I want to meet you who lives with the shame that lies to you to keep your world small. You are so sick of this shame! You are so sick of shame exhausting you as you try to keep up with the lies.

Fear has been (or maybe still is) your choice to control your world to keep your world small. You have named this fear but now you are struggling every day to overcome. You are overcoming and here you have found words to encourage you. And laugh a bit. Because we all need some empathy laughs to grow.

I want to meet you who now sees your negative coping habit as a numbing behavior. (Or are there more than one?) You have decided that pain is your beginning. And you are beginning.

I want to meet you who have chosen worry as a way to try to be involved in a situation that you can do nothing about. You are so tired. You know there is a better way and are finding the bravery to try. Hi. I can be honest with you.

I want to meet those who are choosing another street. Who are somewhere in this growing process.

I walk down the street,
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
          I fall in.
I am lost…I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
          I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place,
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
          I see it there.
I still fall in…it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I see where I am.
It’s my fault.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
          I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

(Written by Portia Nelson, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery)

Where in this poem are we meeting? I want to cheer for you for where you are.

You are why I preach. You are why I write. Yes, so often writing is therapeutic for me, especially for me in my real life. Does anyone else share this thought? This fear? This overwhelmedness? I need that when I’m in the thick of it. My life has me in the thick of it enough. Can I meet you there and you also cheer me on?

Hi. Thank you for meeting me.