I received my lowest grade in elementary and high school the first grading period of 6th grade. I got a C+ in cursive writing. And that was the highest grade of anyone in my class! I was mortified! I had perfected the cursive style of writing lightly, straight up and down with little circles to dot my “i” and “j” letters. My 6th grade teacher was a penmanship champion. Do those even still exist? She made it her life’s work that year to see that all of us became the best scribes possible. We spent countless hours drawing circles, ovals and slanted lines at a perfect 45° angle. I loved it! That C+ provoked me to quickly master the cursive writing art. My teacher’s persistent perfectionist standard still lingers today, some four decades later, when I put pen to paper. Incidentally, I can’t end this paragraph without letting you know that stern, demanding teacher’s first name – “Peaches”. Her name did not remotely describe her.
Maybe it’s because I like seeing the words on paper, or maybe it’s because I simply like to actually “see” my thoughts – I’m not sure why, but I have always written. I have dozens of partially filled journals, hundreds of little scraps of paper and index cards, letters, descriptions, class outlines, thoughts for books, poems, quotes, and now – since the onset of computers – a great many file folders with ideas, more thoughts, outlines and notes. Speaking of notes, I took copious notes in college and law school. My law school study outlines became works of art as I planned, reviewed, read and then wrote. I still have notebooks filled with these beauties – in the attic, of course. I suppose it is my hidden passion.
A decade ago I was ready to take the cap from my pen and become serious about writing. Our youngest daughter was in school. I was a stay-at-home mom with some extra time on my hands. I had given up a leadership position in a bible study I loved in order to work on a book I had begun a few years earlier. I’d had a few trusted people look at the outline and a bit of what I had written and they encouraged me to spur ahead.
However, I didn’t get the opportunity to put that pen to paper. Life took an unexpected turn and instead of writing, I helped my husband begin a couple of small businesses and continued to stay busy with the girls and school, church and community activities. All the while, I kept jotting down thoughts, ideas, whims, revelations, memories – those little piles of paper grew a bit taller and spread a bit wider.
So here I am, more than 10 years older. I trust time has pruned my thoughts to flow a bit more judiciously and wisened my words to escape somewhat more prudently.
My youngest daughter is now heading off to college, I have again given up a leadership position in the bible study I love, and I’m ready to again attempt to take that cap off of my pen. Hopefully, it can stay off a bit longer this time.
So, why write? These days I write to remember. I write to clarify my thoughts. In our businesses we write to communicate. In years past I wrote a boatload of research papers. I’ve written briefs advocating clients’ positions within and under the law. I’ve written outlines and notes for classes I’ve taught and occasions at which I’ve spoken. I’ve written school documents, church documents, legal documents and business documents. I’ve written to encourage, explain, teach, thank and sometimes even entertain.
I’ve always thought it sounded pretentious to say I want to “write”. My desire is to encourage and edify, share and inspire – – – be it a young mom, a single woman or a struggling or questioning teen or wife. Someone once told me to write – even if only for an audience of One.
I guess we are past the days of penmanship contests. In reality, I suspect we are in the waning days of cursive writing. But, I still like to write down the words that come to mind on paper of any sort, and I still practice my cursive alphabet whenever I have a bit of time to doodle.
For now, though, I’ll hope I don’t have to cap my pen for a while. I trust the Lord to continue to grant me the desires of my heart as He so faithfully does – just not, usually, according to the outline and timeframe I have dreamed and developed. My desire is for all my words, be they thought, spoken or written, glorify God and encourage others – and hopefully share a sparkle of light of the slight wisdom and experience I have garnered along life’s way.
“My heart is stirred by a noble theme, as I recite my verses for the king,
My tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.”
“But I trust in you O Lord, I say ‘You are my God’,
My times are in your hands.”