I came down to visit an old friend this morning. My honey is spending some time with a friend on the East coast this week during Spring break...and by East Coast Spring Break I'm not referring to Panama City or any sort of beach like destination. I, however, am at the beach; my friend being my Starbucks hangout of former days. The sun is out and glowing a faint orange on the snow caps and the ambitious ones are on bikes or on foot. I wasn't intending to write anything this morning...just going to hang for some early coffee before entering the realm of office, work and all things pastoral. It's pretty unavoidable though, the writing I mean, when you are sitting as a spectator before a sight like this. It makes me feel better in the days when my better half is not around. It makes me, even though I fight it, not want to be a spectator. I see the runners pacing themselves along the sea wall. I see the cyclists optimistically pumping their way downtown. I even see a different level of freedom in the dogs who are privileged to wander the shore than I see in the ones walking the sidewalk in front of my house.
A hero of mine, Donald Miller, believes that the best stories are those that are planned. There is a deep part of me that understands this. It is the part within me that sees a runner and puts an ancient memory into my leg muscles of days gone by when running was actually not a spectator sport for me. It is the familiarity of picking up a fly rod after decades of not and feeling it run through my forearms . It is the gazing that I was doing yesterday at my, still wintered, bike and running through the mental checklist of Spring time prep that I just want to do. These days, this understanding of story and the desire to be active in mine can too easily be countered by age...either my own feeling of it or others felt need to point it out. It seems that the more days that pass, the more effort it takes to step back into my story...much more than it used to anyway. I have been blogging on this site for years now, long enough to be able to look back fondly and remember moments when I was in mine. I can also see, in some old posts, familiar echoes of longing to be.
There is good news in all of this though, and it is directly related to my stop by an old friend this morning. It may take more effort to get in to the story than it used to, but with only a little guidance and some inspiration along the way, it takes a lot more effort to get me back out. Within the familiar posts and this familiar view, I can see both sides of the story; the one reading and the one writing, the one planning and the one watching. There is no comparison. My wish, prayer, and blessing for you today is that you will engage your story and write it for all its worth.