The reason for my writer's block...
I haven't written much in the past 6 months. No reason comes to mind. It wasn't an intentional move on my part. It just sort of happened.
I've been writing pretty regularly for the last 7 years, actually quite a bit before that, it just didn't show up in the blogsphere and it was harder to archive as a result. Writing has always been very recreational for me. I've loved recording my story, bearing witness to my heart's twists and turns, naming things that often remain ineffable feelings, noting shifts in the scenery of my life, taking a regular pulse on my perspectives, giving myself self-checks by taking a personal inventory of my actions and attitudes...heck, I could go on an on.
As I sit here and think of what has taken me out of this routine, I suppose there were bigger fish to fry that could be blamed. We did adopt in the last several months taking two trips to Africa and eventually bring home to boys, insta-sons. That rearrangement of life has taken up significant reserves of energy I typically draw on. I wouldn't have it any other way. But I don't feel that explains it entirely.
I do sense that I've lost the recreational part of myself and it isn't just busyness that has stripped me of amusement. I don't know what I love to do right now. I find myself just drifting to easy amusements like television shows, surfing the net, or doing research for ministry. But whatever I'm doing, while I'm doing it, I feel aimless and listless. I'll be reading and reflecting on what I'm participating in and I'll catch myself just feeling lost. This feels sad to admit, but it's true.
I used to be very athletic and that was an outlet of activity that kept me quite diversified. I used to love the outdoors and I would find a plot of land and take an exploratory hike even imagining myself in a different era of time, a much simpler and antiquated time and place. It was fun to play in my mind while I roamed the woods in a boyish daydream. But those times are few and far between.
I enjoyed reading books and would revel in a trip to Barnes and Noble or a local coffee shop to browse and muse over words and stories and concepts and ideas presented by some author. I would even buy books on words and their origin luxuriating in the simple pleasure of etymology. I loved new words and increasing my vocabulary, even if I never used the words in actual conversations, it was fun to know there were thousands of dormant words created to express infinitesimal details in life. I don't know where that all went.
Date nights with my wife used to be more regular even a couple months ago, but recently the adoption of our sons has, rightfully so, put a kibosh on extended times out with my bride watching a movie, frequenting a new restaurant, walking around mall, or just being with each other alone. The time with my girls has been rushed and fractured into fragments of time that I'm having a hard time assembling into a meaningful form. I feel like I'm just taking them to school, having hit or miss time with them in the evenings as they venture to school and church and friend-activities, and then putting them to bed in a jiffy because it's so late or I'm so tired. This rat race is getting old fast. So the meaning of marriage and the fulfillment of family has been suddenly upended and indefinitely suspended. I believe it will find a new normal in time, but the months of this helter-skelter, topsy-turvy existence is taking a toll.
Sports seem like a cheap form of entertainment. I'm interested, but not all that moved or stimulated. News is predicable and depressing, so though I have to keep up with where culture is at, it almost feels obligatory, like I'm staying abreast of the goings on of society to be relevant. I'm not captured by many noble themes going on out there in the world...I should be, cause there are some, I'm just not.
Ministry is going well, but one week leads to the next and whatever you do one day seems like a lifetime away the next. It's hard to live in contentment when you're always thinking about movement. If you're taking joy in a great weekend, it isn't long into Sunday afternoon that you're thinking about having another great weekend in 7 days. To soak in the goodness almost takes time away from trouble-shooting the badness which will overtake the goodness if you don't make the preemptive strike. In an effort to protect the good that is happening there is a fair bit of time anticipating the bad that is threatening it and working to avert it if possible. You know, preventive maintenance and quality control. So while others are enjoying things, you're thinking about how to nurse those environments so that experience can continue...for them. It starts to feel like you're in a hamster wheel of sorts...or better yet, a greyhound chasing a mechanical bunny around an oval track, going fast and making headway only to be circling back to where you began and never catching "the thing" you were supposedly chasing after in the first place. Futility sort of gets at the feeling, but it's different than that, because I see the good and the growth and the God in it all, I just feel like a ministry machine at some point...the human-me leaking out as I serve God and people. That's not at all what I desire.
And so there are some words to put out there to explain my silence. I'm a 38 year old guy quite frankly using all the energy at my disposal right now to just be a good leader at work and a good leader at home. There isn't much time for life outside of that right now and I know some of that is temporary due to drastic shifts in my home life, but I'm not stupid enough to think this drift couldn't turning into drifting, and that a couple months couldn't turn into a couple years.
My closing thought would be that I want life in my living. I don't want to just perform duties and complete tasks, I want to feel my blood stir with adventure and excitement. I want to have an identity that knows what recreation fills my "enjoyment tank". Cause if I don't it will turn into a shark tank...and I'll be hollowed out. I just know it.
I used to like lots of stuff. I used to find deep enjoyment in several random activities. I used to feel motivated to move toward things with vim and vigor. I need that gumption back. That internal fortitude and attitude of attacking stuff and squeezing the life out of it. It might be silly to think I can have what I had cause you can't ever go back, but I want to find the new things that do what some of those old things used to do in me, to me, for me.
I'm also taking my father's recent nosedive physically pretty hard. It only deepens my need to find things to take my mind off of heavy things and to lift my head and eyes to hearty things. If I don't find the hearty side of life, I fear I'll be consumed with the heavy side of it.
Please don't think I'm depressed...I'm just breaking the silence and lobbing some language into the air. There's some chaff, there's some wheat. That's what I love about writing, letting the "first fresh flash" hit the clean white screen and seeing what takes shape.
At the very least, just participating in this dormant delight has reminded me of what I've missed about it that last several months. That's a start.