I posted the following conversation with God five years ago today. He’s been telling me for a long time to write and reimagine education. And here I am, five years later, not doing any of this perfectly, but I’m on the road. LELA House exists, and I’m writing more. I’ve even published some of my writing with LELA House courses. I pray you’re on your road, too, and if you need some help getting on your road, let me know. I’m here to help.
Me: Lord, it’s been a hard summer. It’s been a hard everything. It’s all too much, God – all of the violence, the disparities, the inequities, people living on the street when there are hundreds of empty buildings in the city, hurting people who need You and don’t even realize they’re lost, and don’t get me started on the education system. I know You don’t want me to move to Finland, but what can I do? What do You want me to do? How can I possibly combat the erosion of my country? Of the world?
Me: I mean, really. What can I do? I don’t have a bully pulpit. I’m not famous. I like to stay at home. I always pray, but I feel You calling me to do something in addition to prayer. We need You desperately, but I don’t know what to do.
Me: Write what?
God: What you’ve been writing is a good start.
Me: What I’ve been writing? What’s that? A compilation of the antics of my kids? A bad romance novel? A composite novel with so many disparate elements it’s hard for even me to see the through line? A literary/education/family online magazine that’s been on hold because I don’t have the mental energy to sustain it? A bookified dissertation that no one wants to read? A million partial stories? Too many projects begun and left incomplete to count?
God: You left some stuff out.
Me: Did I? Well, there are the academic articles I’ve been toying with and the Writing Center handbook that I’ve made headway on. Or did You mean the fictionalized retellings I’ve been jotting down of some women in the bible whose stories I find fascinating? Hmm. What else? Oh, that’s right. I have those two children’s books I wrote. And some articles for children’s magazines, too. Ok. I get Your point. I’m already writing, so I should just keep doing what I’ve been doing.
God: Not exactly.
Me: That’s what I was thinking too. What good is any of the stuff I’ve been writing, anyway? Who is it going to help? How will any of it point back to You? How does any of it explain the rage and exasperation and sorrow that I feel for the world? How is any of this a good start?
God: Why don’t you give finishing a try.
Me: You’re funny, God. Ok. Say I finish some of this work? Then what? Honestly, I’m a little embarrassed, that’s not the right word, but You get my point, by some of the stuff I write. Umm, I think I worry what people will think of me. I have some dark, bleak, and graphic things going on in my mind that definitely come out in some of my writing. Honestly, I’m surprised I’ve written it. Again, surprised isn’t the right word, but something akin to it. Like the first book in the Kept series – it has that disturbing rape scene. Oh hey. I had forgotten all about the Kept series and the three books I’ve worked on in it. Thanks for reminding me.
God: Do you think I don’t know you have these ideas? I gave you those ideas.
Me: I know.
God: Then if you know they’re from me, why are you ashamed of them?
Me: I don’t think they fit the image people have of me, which admittedly is an incomplete image.
God: Why do you care about the image people have of you? If you’re doing my work, I will take care of everything you need.
Me: So not only do you want me to write, but You actually want me to share what I have written? Some of this stuff doesn’t need to see the light of day.
God: You’re right about that, but a lot of it does.
Me: I don’t understand how my writing is going to help combat the ills of the world, but I hear You, so I’ll write. And finish. And share. But it’s going to be difficult.
God: Of course it will be difficult. I never promised you easy.
Me: No, You didn’t, but You did promise You would never leave me or forsake me. And You did promise that You will be with me always. And You did promise to be my ever present help.
God: I did and I meant it.
Me: Ok, God. I hear You. Please help me to obey You even when I can’t see what’s coming or understand what’s going on.
God: Of course. Now for another thing. Education.
God: Yes, education. I made you passionate about education for a reason. You see needs in the education system, and I made you to fill them.
Me: I know that, God, but…
God: But what? Stop second guessing me. I knew what I was doing when I placed this heart of and for education in you.
Me: Of and for?
God: Yes. You are forever an educator and you are forever a learner. You can touch people both in how you educate and how you learn.
Me: So writing and education is what You want me to do to make our world a better place?
God: Yes, but you knew that already.
Me: I did. Writing and education are what I’ve been doing my whole life. They’re not sexy. They aren’t new and in the moment. They don’t speak to the conflagration of emotions I have each time I read a news article. They’re not revolutionary.
God: You don’t know that. You’ve never given either one of them enough of a try yet. Look at history. Writing and education have always been agents of change and revolution, but the people who wield them haven’t always had revolution in mind. You’re just afraid you might actually accomplish something.
Me: I am, but I don’t know why.
Me: You’re not going to tell me, are You?
God: Not yet. I need you to trust me right now, even though You can’t see how it will all come together.
Me: Ok, God. I do trust You, but please increase my faith so that I may trust You more. Although I’m sure those lessons will actually come by my inability to see what You’re up to, because that is how You roll. Is there anything else, God, You want me to talk to You about right now?
God: That’s good for now, but get some rest. The road ahead is long and wearying.
Me: Help me to rest, Lord, and help me to write and to educate and to bring glory to You in all that I do. Thank You for talking with me. I look forward to our next chat. In Jesus’ name, amen.