Growing up I was convinced that being an author was the most amazing job in the world, only it was more than a job, it was a sacred calling. A gift bestowed upon a few hand-picked individuals who floated through life knowing they were special.
Then I became one of those floating-hand-picked-wonders and I realized that I’m still me. I wasn’t transformed overnight into a angel of mercy who always knew exactly what to say or what to write. All my problems didn’t dissipate like mist in the hot sun. The world didn’t pause and take note of a new book hitting the shelves. And, I still got upset, made mistakes, and felt grumpy and overwhelmed sometimes. I was still human and so are all those authors I dreamed of when I was a little kid (gasp).
Do you know what would probably be most surprising to younger-me though? The fact that sometimes writing seems down-right unimportant.
People don’t have to have books to live. They do have to have food. And medical care. And shelter. And mothers. But not books.
There have been times when I just stop and wonder what I’m really doing with my life. Do the hours, days and eventually years I spend on placing words carefully onto pages actually make a difference in the world? Is anyone benefiting from what I’m doing with my life or in the annals of time will my life work evaporate into nothingness?
I look at farmers with awe. I look at doctors with awe. I look at nurses with awe. I look at carpenters with awe. I look at mothers with awe. They’re doing something amazing. Something that people need. I find it inspiring and the reverence I felt for authors growing up slips and slides a little bit further away from me until I have to squint to even remember it.
My perspective gets skewed far too easily sometimes.
Then people pop into my life and they remind me that writing is a gift. That it is amazing. That writing can be life changing. Being a nurse is, too. But I wasn’t called to be a nurse. Being a farmer is, too. But I wasn’t called to be a farmer. Writing is the gift I was given and therefore it is important. It’s a gift that was entrusted to me so I can pass it along, adding value to others.
While I would probably still be alive today if it weren’t for books, my life wouldn’t be nearly as rich and well-rounded. There are a million thoughts I wouldn’t have had. A thousand experiences I wouldn’t have known to watch for and step into. Hundreds of perspectives I would have never glimpsed. Dozens of nights I wouldn’t have spent deeply moved. A handful of life-changing experiences that would have never been mine. Books don’t give and sustain life, but books can change lives.
So, next time you get down on yourself and wonder if what you’re doing really matters, stop, come back to this letter and read it. Remember the awe you felt as a little girl. The joy that welled up inside you at the thought of changing the world through writing. Remember that even if it’s a little difference, writing still does make a difference.
Remember that if you’re a mouth you shouldn’t fight to be a hand. If you’re the eyes, you shouldn’t envy the nose. If you’re the feet you shouldn’t think the shoulders have a more important job. Each job is important for it’s own reasons.
You were given a gift and no matter what you feel at times, you can’t let feeling dictate how you live your life.
You were placed where you are for a reason. Your life does matter. So smile, work through your insecurities and embrace the person you’re called to be. Writing is still a fantastic tool. Writing is still the speculator gift you imagined it to be. God gave you a gift, so don’t throw it away because you feel insignificant.
And who knows, maybe somewhere there’s a little girl out there who’s finding inspiration as she hugs one of your books.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” -C.S. Lewis