I am practicing being able to write anyplace.
I admire those people who can write anyplace. People like that often say, “If I needed peace and quiet to write I would never get anything written!” I agree. The difference is that they fall into the “manage to get it done” category and I fall into the “nothing gets written category.” So tonight I gave myself a challenge: take my laptop to my town’s weekly outdoor concert and write a post before the music stops.
So here I am.
I found a spot, after much deliberation, on the grass in a partially shady spot behind the band. This means that when I look up, 90% of the crowd is facing me. (Nothing like having an audience while you try to write deep thoughts.) The cymbals are about 20 yards away. As are the drums (five different kinds that I can see) and the xylophone (cool, a xylophone!) The trumpets are even closer. Beneath them are – excuse me for a moment while I clap – beneath them are the saxophones, and bassoons and oboes and tubas and clarinets and probably some others… there’s a white pillar blocking part of my view so I can’t see it all for sure. But I can hear them, and while I’m no musician, I’m impressed. These folks sound good! (Apparently there is at least one other lady who is equally enthused. She yells “Woo-hoo!” after every song.)
But back to me. I decided that this would be a good place to practice writing anyplace. It’s more interesting than my kitchen table, that’s for sure. And much more distracting. I’m half listening to the conductor introduce the songs, I’m definitely listening to the music, and I’m interrupted every few sentences to clap. Oh, and there’s a train. (For a minute I thought that sound was part of the band!) There’s also a little girl turning cartwheels and plucking grass stems and spinning in circles until she falls down giggling. If I stretched out my arm I could touch her. And yet, I have managed to write. Nothing insightful, but still… I consider this progress.
The real test is whether I can make that leap. (The little girl is now marching and waving a bunch of leaves in each hand. She also just declared that there is broccoli in the grass. I’m not sure whether there is actually broccoli in the grass, or a plant that just looks like broccoli.) But as I was saying, the real test is whether I can make that leap. Can I actually make a point and close this out before the music stops? A couple lessons come to mind that I could potentially draw from this little exercise. Here’s one of them: it’s easy to establish our habits, whether it’s a writing routine, a route to work, or a daily schedule. We can begin living so inside our own pattern that we never even try to step outside. We say, “I must have peace and quiet in order to write!” “I can’t do that,” we say. Or, “That won’t work.” But our God is not a God of the can’t. Our God is a God of the can. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me, Paul wrote (Philippians 4:13). Sometimes that means the little everyday things we don’t have time for. Like going to a concert when we should be writing.
It doesn’t matter what we can’t do. If we give God the opening, He can. It is Christ who strengthens us. It is the Holy Spirit who guides us. Sometimes all we need to do is try something a little different.
Our final song is underway, the early-leavers are folding their lawn chairs, which means it’s time to wrap this post up. If you’ve never checked out a small town citizen’s band, go find one. Not into music? Go find something else. You might be surprised at what God can accomplish through you along the way.
His work is something worth clapping about. (Woo-hoo!)
I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours will be thwarted (Job 42:2)