One of the things I love about writing are the little gifts—the spontaneous pieces of wisdom—that sometimes arrive from seemingly nowhere. Are they born of my (much) wiser subconscious? Or are they endowments from some outer source that chooses (thankfully) to take over my brain once in a while? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter.
What I do know is that when I was writing my first novel, one character decided to tell another, “. . . the best life is not one in which one struggles to be good all the time. It’s when a person believes in her own ability and desire to do good, and allows those positive actions to just happen on their own.”
This is a lesson I have been trying to learn for several years now. After college, I spent a summer flailing at massage school. I attempted to bolster my morale and failing health by making signs with construction paper and magic marker that said things like FAITH and TRUST in big block letters. At the time, I think I was telling myself to trust in God, but even then, I think I knew that that meant trusting myself as well. This was not an easy task as I knew what all I had gotten up to in my life. I knew the stupid things I’d done and the smart ones I hadn’t. And I didn’t feel very trustworthy. Older now, I can recognize good reasons for my actions and inactions—many of them related to being hopelessly human—and I can also see how in trying to do the “right” thing, I was getting it all so sorrowfully wrong. I got so constricted trying to get it right, there was no room for my creativity and love of life to breathe. I was strangling the very parts of myself that have the most to offer. I knew I needed to trust myself, but I couldn’t do that because I thought the only way to be trustworthy was to be infallible—something I am most certainly not.
But going back and reading those serendipitously generated lines reminds me that I don’t need to trust myself to be mistake-free or be ceaselessly industrious or know how to handle every problem in my life. What I need, is to recognize that even though I am human and prone to blunders, my desire to be a positive force in this world is real and that, if I let it, is likely to yield some surprising and delightful results.
Thank you for reading. 🙂