On Taking Pens

The Quote
“Or worse, we are praying and asking God to give us a story while the entire time God is handing us a pen, telling us to write it ourselves. That’s why he gave us a will.”
-Donald Miller

The Thoughts
This quote from Donald Miller came to me during a very impressionable time in my life.  Don’s original post is here.  In the wake of lost love and murky questions about my future, this quote resonated deep within me.  This is the quote that I copy-and-pasted into what would become the soul of this blog, the simply titled, “Quotes.”

I suppose I entertained the idea that there would be more quotes worth remembering, otherwise I might have called the document, “Quote.”  We may never know, but this was the beginning.

There was suddenly an entire future ahead of me that I’d written off.  I was full of holes and questions such as, “What now? Why? I can’t possibly move on, can I? Why God?  H-what do I do now?”  It is in the middle of these doubts and thoughts that I read this quote.  I felt that I was the person asking for a story, my story.  And I wanted it all!  These were big questions I was having and I wanted big answers.

I remember feeling that I was entitled to have the blueprint of my life.  I wanted to know where I was going next, with whom I would go, where it was all to take place and of course I wanted a detailed itinerary of dates and events so that none of it would be unexpected.  Was that too much to ask?  In a word, yes.

The months that followed were some of my best.  Highlights from that time included: deciding to study abroad in New Zealand, running my first half marathon, sweet talking pizza restaurant managers into free pizzas and beer (sorry Mom, I wasn’t 21, but it felt important to try), singing and dancing for Eddie George at a formal fraternity dance that I was not invited to, filming a rap music video.  I’d not planned on doing any of these things.  I’d probably be content with my life had I not experienced any of these memories, but I am glad that I did experience them.  In the middle of that undesirable heartbreak I was able to explore the depths of heretofore lesser-valued parts of life: spontaneity, travel, male brotherhood, dreaming, healing.  Some things you just have to experience to know fully.  That was one of those times for me.

You see, I want the details.  I desire the inside knowledge on what is supposed to happen.  What I’ve learned, though, is that some of life’s best moments happen when you quit asking for the answers and instead take the pen and put in the hard work of living each moment, one after another, until you’ve built something entirely unexpected and wonderful.  I’ve learned to reach for the pen on a more frequent basis.  Now, I must ask myself, “What story am I currently asking for while already holding the pen?”

The Challenge
Reconnect with my old roommates and film a project that is long overdue.

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