Writing can be like solitary confinement to an extrovert. You feel as though you might lose the essence of who you are to the sacredness of the craft. With every opportunity to unfold from the cocoon of the muse and fly free before the masses, there is a lurking fear that the part of you sidelined in isolation, will eventually be lost forever.
I fear I will forget how to be myself among crowds of people.
The cramped space between seats on an airplane last week provided comfort for my worries, a dress rehearsal on my calling.
Camouflage from head to toe sat next to the window and brushed my elbow. I thought he might be a cousin in the family of Duck Dynasty, sans a straggly beard hanging over his chest. Both hands holding the pages of a hunting magazine over his lap, he asks if Atlanta is my final destination, breaking the awkwardness between strangers.
I learn he is headed to Kansas for a duck hunting tradition with a group of friends, despite a wind chill of forty below zero.
“It’s not about the hunt, you know,” he leans into my shoulder, keeping his neck straight, “it’s about the camaraderie, always has been.”
Yes, life always goes back to relationship, I thought for a minute. He turns the page, skims an article while I push my purse underneath the seat in front of me. Gradually, we wade into conversation, each topic dangling in the atmosphere like cloud fragments outside the oval window.
“I’m in the forestry business,” he says, “and the Farmer’s Almanac has never been wrong about the weather. We’ll be getting snow at the beach during the first two weeks of February.”
I tell him my kids would like that very much.
An hour later, Jesus enters the conversation. That one word changes everything doesn’t it?
He mentions how he has learned how to listen for the voice of Jesus and regrets not practicing sooner. When I tell him I’m writing a book about that subject, he turns his head toward me, looks in my eyes for the first time in our conversation and insists that I contact him when I publish.
Now I am listening differently.
There is a part of myself that comes to the surface when inserted into the sea of humanity. Like a bucket of cold water pulled from inky depths, my soul is satiated with engagement after endless days of thirst. It’s as if the whole world shrinks away and all that is left is the incarnation of Christ flowing through each of my five senses.
I am drowning in an uncorked dam of Christ’s love spilling out from the beauty He creates within each one of us.
My final destination is Houston, where I gather with people from all over the world. From that first conversation until the last, I experience the embodiment of Christ in each divinely orchestrated conversation like the strings of a marionette guided by God’s fingers.
Upon downloading the events of last week with my daughter, she walks to the front door in her bare feet to retrieve a notebook from her car parked in the driveway. Stopping abruptly, she turns around in a swath of daylight outlining the frame of her figure from the back and says “Hey Mom, did you know we’re supposed to get snow here this week?”
And I can’t talk for the lump in my throat.
Sometimes God tucks you away in isolation, not because he’s forgotten and left, but because he wants you to recognize his love language among the masses. Like the first time a flurry of butterflies lands on your stomach and your flesh faints with desire.
He waits to be wanted, writes Tozer. And it’s beautiful when you notice the way he courts you like a gentleman.