Z is for . . .


A few years back I took an official sabbatical from church. It represented a step away from serving full-time as a pastor and a step toward writing as the focus of my ministry.

How much money would I earn for taking this leap of faith? At first, nothing. Zero. Later? Perhaps double or triple nothing!

In the months that followed my announcement to leave the parish, kind church folks asked what I’d do with my time. My standard reply was, “Nothing.”

How flippant. How true.

Every form of creative expression begins with nothing. There is no outward music until the inward sounds nudge (or elbow) the composer. A dance floor remains empty, filled with space to be defined by an initial spin or jump. A preacher turns from studying the comforting (or troubling) pages of the Bible to a sermon hoped for (or dreaded), but either way, it’s not yet there. A novelist, about to plunge into the marathon of writing and rewriting 100,000 words, contemplates a blank yellow legal pad or a lonely cursor blinking on a monitor as vast as the Pacific.

The Biblical story opens with a zero. Chaos. A void. A waiting. Awaiting. Every form of creative expression begins with nothing and then . . .

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    1. Becky…enjoy, renew and work at what brings you life during sabbatical. My only grumble about mine was that it came during the first year of the UMC not paying pension credit. My practical, I’ve-paid-my-dues side felt offended. But I think everyone needs “rest” time.

  1. I always thought beginning to write was like pumping a long-unused well. At first, the handle may be stuck. Once that is oiled with copious amounts of coffee and sucrose, you hear a dry, sucking sound of that vacuum you are creating trying mightlily to pull the water up from the depths. Then, the first water is all rusty. You collect it, but you know you will have to discard it entirely once the fresh water starts…. Then… it seems you can’t stop the flow of water. It keeps coming and coming and coming, and the bucket (page) doesn’t seem big enough to hold it all (of course, with modern virtual pages, that is not a serious threat). And being full, the bucket seems too heavy and too unwieldy to carry, so you have to discard some of that hard won water (wordage) to make it useable.

    1. Good image. The digital page does add a sense of “endless” room. But everyone, especially thirsty reader, can only drink so much.

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