Life sometimes can totally surprise us in the most unexpected ways. For instance, a big trampoline. How in the world is a trampoline possibly related to writing? Before I read today’s except on the phrase above, I was stumped. Then I started to read how scared to death the woman was by “what looked like a big lake of black water.”
She said, “I’m here to tell you that it is impossible to be calm and dignified on a trampoline. It is also impossible to feel safe on one. I crawled onto [it] and couldn’t stand up. And these little kids, my grandchildren, none of whom were over four feet tall, were bouncing like Ping-Pong balls. I lay there just wanting the whole thing to be over, and then Emma grabbed me by the hand and said, “This is not scary! I’ll hold your hand. We’ll take baby steps.” Very slowly I managed to get to my feet and then proceeded to inch across the trampoline in an upright position with Emma holding my hand. Then she instructed me to stand in one spot and to just bounce a bit. “It’s okay if you fall down,” she said, and I thought, My [goodness], she sounds just like me teaching a writing class. And suddenly I realized the metaphor: There’s no way to be any more dignified on a big piece of bouncing rubber than you are on a piece of paper. After I bounced a bit, I started to get the hang of it, and I began to jump. It was like flying. If you let go of how you look doing this, and aren’t afraid to fall on your face, it’s really fun. Kind of like writing.” (From “A Year of Writing Dangerously” by Barbara Abercrombie)
I know the part I added above was kind of long, but I think how she says it is perfect. Whether it is our writing or life in general, there can be many things that seem scary once we approach them. However, if we let our fear get in the way of trying or doing something new we may miss out on a great opportunity and the added bonus of the reward for doing it. We will feel great for trying and maybe succeeding. If we are so afraid of failing, so why try, man, we could miss out on so much.
Personally, I think God has been calling me to write for several years now, even before Mari died. I had no belief in myself that I was any good. I had my memories of how hard English/grammar was for me all the way from elementary school to high school. After I graduated I started to attended a local community college. I had to take a placement test and the result showed that not only could I not go directly into English 101, but I was placed three classes below it. English was so hard for me due to my learning disability.
Talk about a lack of confidence in one’s self. Over time I’d write something and get positive feedback but still didn’t believe I was any good.
It was the daily updates I had started to post for family and friends so they knew how Mari was doing that I really started to hear how much my writing had affected them. My word resonated so well with those who read them that many either cried or were almost brought to tears. Talk about a confidence booster. To know you can elicit such feelings from someone.
Even with all the positive feedback I had a hard time believing I was any good. And through all of this, God kept nudging me towards writing. Then on October 21, 2008, I had all these ideas floating around in my head. I had to get them written down. And that’s how this site began. God knew He had given me a gift and that sharing my writing with others would actually resonate with them.
I feel blessed that I took those first steps on my “trampoline.” Just think if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this very post your reading now. That puts a smile on my face to know that through God’s grace, mercy and strength I am where I am today as a result.