“Go where it calls you, while you can still here the call.”
I’ve been a writer since the age of fifteen, when I had a rather terrible summer job answering telephones for the City of Friendswood Teen Employment Hotline. The city wedged a desk in a storage closet between the sticky notes and stacks of carbon paper and called it my office. On the desk was a phone, which, in theory, would ring with students and employers looking for each other. The phone never rang – not once during the whole summer – and I couldn’t make calls without angry stares from the secretaries in their palatial offices next door. So I sat and made minimum wage in the closet.
Stranded on this desert island of a job, I only had three forms of entertainment: a phone (which never rang but couldn’t be used for personal calls–what’s the point of that for a teenager?); a 5-inch black and white TV (that received five channels–three in Spanish, and I was taking French); and lots of supplies (heavy on highlighters, light on pens). In the end, the supplies were my salvation.
I spent countless hours doodling (like Tabitha) on sticky notes before I finally hit upon something. “Hey, I could write a song.” So I tried to write a song, but what I wrote while sitting in that storage closet was a poem. It was a sad poem about whether the sun shined for me or not. It wasn’t the best poem in the world. In fact, I left the poem on the desk and the custodian threw it away. But that didn’t matter. I remembered the peace that comes from trying to make sense of the world through words. I thought, “This is it. This is my favorite thing.” Writing, that is. Writing was a gift from God during those dreary shifts in front of the never-ringing phone, and it still is, although I find myself turning off my phone these days to recapture those peaceful first moments of writing in the storage closet. It would be nice, I think, to have those secretaries scowling at me again, telling me to hang up the phone and scribble my words on paper.
What’s your favorite thing? Is it time you started pursuing it with a whole heart? I can only give you the advice that Tully Harper receives in a dream one night–“Go, and do not delay.” Life is too short to ignore the still, small voice that calls you to do fascinating things. Go where it calls you…while you can still hear the call.
Grace and peace,