i’m staying

The call of the great unknown has been beckoning ever since I finally realized what I want to do in life. Finally the great unknown has a name. Writing.

Suddenly I wanted to drop everything and go someplace where I could be alone and do nothing but read and write. For a certain amount of time, of course. And being the nerd that I am, formal training in school was what I had in mind after a time of seclusion from the world.

This made perfect sense to me since I spent my high school and college years studying the other end of the academic spectrum, sciences. How else should I learn writing but attend classes and listen to and work with professors (experts) and classmates (people who have the same passion, supposedly). Logical, right?

But this thing, writing. I’ve heard so much about it, particularly rumors that it cannot be taught. I’ve read so many times that if one wants to learn it, one just writes. You learn it by doing it. I kind of got that as, “That’s why creative writing classes are like workshops, right? There’s a lot of doing, writing, involved in them.”

But then I meet a real (professional) writer who graduated with a degree in creative writing who tells me, “No!” when I told her I planned to quit my job to pursue writing by going back to school and learn it formally. Like all the articles and books I’ve read on writing, she told me to just write and keep on writing. Buy books and read a lot and write some more.

Instantly, the strategist in me was baffled at the audacity of such a course of action. Really? I don’t have to have formal training to learn writing? Then she goes on to say she thinks the only purpose of taking that course is so she could tell other people not to take it. Okay, I’m in serious trouble, I thought. The big plan of leaving everything behind to pursue my dream just got shattered. Now what?

I knew then that I had to decide whether to still go my  own way or accept this piece of advice which would essentially render all  those months of trying to work up my courage to leave and take a different path as nothing.

But as I thought about it more – prayed, listened, wrestled with my thoughts – I found that the courage I’ve been building all that time isn’t for naught. I needed courage to stay. Courage to accept that mine isn’t a journey of change in circumstances (at least not yet) but a change in perspective. Courage to accept His will to be done His way. I’ve quite forgotten that at the very beginning of searching for this dream, I knew that the answer can only be God-given, something that He alone could unravel and turn into a reality. Somehow, along the way, I’ve reduced it to strategies and steps to be taken.

Maybe there will come a time, someday, when I would need to leave. But right now, I’ve been summoned to stay. So, that I’ll do. I’m staying.

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