I was hoping I'd have something to tell you. That the extended silence masking three months of hard work would lead to a grand announcement. That my one word for the year would be fortuitous and you all would say, "Wow! Amazing! Knew you had it in you!"
But it's not. And I don't.
On or about January 1, I thought that I might be meant to pursue something more, and there was this big thing which, from time to time, I had considered doing. For whatever reason, I never pulled the trigger, but upon waking up in 2015 felt with a holy urgency that it was now or never.
[ASIDE: This reveal did not precipitate my one word, but came after. In fact, I cursed that word when I realised how much effort it was going to require! END OF ASIDE.]
For everyday of three months I worked like a crazy person (ignoring her children, and the like) towards this goal, this submission. I did really uncomfortable things like asking for feedback and recommendations and, the scariest of all, approval from the organisation we work for. The formers were gracious and kind. The latter 100% in support.
Being that we live overseas, that we are full-time workers with a Christian ministry, that we live on a tight budget on an island nation with limited options, but also with a stunning array of depth and quality, I shot for the moon. And the moon was a Masters in creative writing at a top-notch (esteemed! historical! elite!) Irish university. It was the only cross-genre program (open to nonfiction as well as fiction), it was local, it was a deep dive into Irish literature, and it offered just 16 places.
And it is here that I regret to inform you that my bid was unsuccessful.
I talked a really good game, though. I said that just submitting an application in and of itself was the victory, that I did what I had always wanted to do: apply to grad school. I reminded everyone who dared to stroke my ego that the odds weren't exactly in my favour. I said all these things while secretly harboring a fleeting notion of creative equality and legitimacy. I can do this, I thought. It'll be hard and I'll want to quit, but I can do this! So when the rejection letter came, I was - to use my least favourite of all Irish colloquialisms - gutted.
The truth is: I'm in a year-long transition, slowly wading out of baby-and-young-child-motherhood and into the open sea of school-age years. The wee three are no longer wee, and I have a bit of time and, for lack of a better word, longing on my hands.
I never felt called to be a mother, much like I never felt called to be a minister's wife. But in the same way that I felt called to be Matt's wife (and therefore, an eventual minister's wife), I knew God had called me to mother my children. When they happened, I wrestled with Him for a long while, eventually coming to happily rest in "just" being a mom. And while I'm still and always neck-deep in the act of mothering them, the game has changed. The world has changed. And I have changed.
"Mother" is no longer the first word in my bio.
After 15 years of writing for free, blogging for fun, a smattering of paid, published work, and editing and graphic designing for my husband's ministry, I had hoped - I still hope - that my own tide was turning. Right now I tell myself that this particular grad school - at this particular time - is just one buoy in the bay. There could be a half dozen or a hundred different options bobbing around out there. An hour from now I'll chastise myself: I was asking for too much; hasn't He already done enough for me? It's a vicious cycle that I am well acquainted with.
So as I licked my wounds, this one raw rejection of one big submission, I was afraid this would be one secret I'd never get to tell you. But my sisters, as they always do, told me I had a day. One day. "Be as depressed as you want," they said. "And then tomorrow, write about it."
So yesterday I did. And today I am. And I hope we can keep bobbing our way towards shore together.