The Inkwell and The Author


My younger son is commonly referred to as an old soul. Wise beyond his years and insightful, he often leaves me at a loss for words. A classic introvert, he can be exceptionally quiet when he’s around ‘outsiders’ but at home or with people he’s very comfortable with, he rarely stops talking. His mind moves so fast and in so many directions at once, making the most obscure references and tenuous connections. The other day, I questioned how he could possibly be working on his writing homework whilst he was talking nonstop. Without so much as a pause to to gather his thoughts, he replied, ‘You know how an old-fashioned quill pen needed to be dipped in an inkwell before it could write anything? Well, talking about stuff is the inkwell that I need to dip my mind in before I can write.’

I have to remind myself sometimes that he’s only eleven. But age aside, he makes an interesting point.

I have a standing breakfast date with God, or as my friend often refers to Him, the Author of Life. I’ve so fallen in love with that term. I guess it’s the writer in me. I can relate to the Author and Creator. Every morning I go to the beach near my house, even if it’s only for a few minutes between dropping the kids off at school and heading into work. I need that time away from the house, outside and away from the household racket of the phone ringing, the dog barking, and the erratic noises of the boys’ video games. I need time away from the Wi-Fi and the draw of multiple conversations on social media. But in the past ten days, our standing date has scrapped seven mornings. Snow and ice made it too dangerous to drive the five miles to the beach. Extreme cold made it too miserable and even dangerous to be there.

See it’s so much more than just the quiet time that I need. I, being a pen in His hand, have an inkwell that I need to be dipped into before I can be used to write anything. It’s the presence of the Author Himself that I need to be dipped in, soaked in and saturated by. But there are times, like these past ten days, when I get dulled from too much time away. I don’t stop to take the breaks that I need to allow Him to sharpen me and dip me again.

I was beyond thrilled this morning that it was neither brutally cold nor dangerous to drive. The beach that was crystal clear but frozen solid on Wednesday was now draped in thick fog with a stiff breeze and stormy waters. This is my perfect New England beach trifecta. I lost all track of time and despite my hands going numb, I stayed. I fed my usual band of seagulls. I stood ankle-deep in the surf, salt spray in my face and breathed in the power and grace that surrounded me. There are no words for the sense of wonder and awe that fills me in those moments. It’s then that I find myself so rapt that I let my defenses slip. For a few moments, I see a reflection of that the same power and grace within me.

And then I cringe. Why do I cringe?

Because I fear that if I let myself recognize that grace clearly within myself then He may write more into my story than I feel I’m ready or willing to accept. But today, just as that fear rose up, my entire band of seagulls took off en masse, gliding into the wind like so many little kites and I felt my defenses slip again. And in that moment I realized something else.

This story of me is still being written and what I’m afraid of today I may laugh at someday.

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