What I’m Learning Wednesday: To Listen to Tears.

If you saw me ugly-crying in church many Sundays, you might not believe me when I say this, but I promise it’s true: I am not an emotional person.

By that I mean, I don’t make decisions about things emotionally. I’m an Evaluate the Situation person. I’m a Pros & Cons List person. I’m a What’s the Smart Thing in the Big Picture person. When it comes to making choices, especially the big ones, I am very much (I’d say almost 100%) ruled by head over heart. I feel okay when I know things make sense.

However—I am also a deep-feeling person. And in that regard I also tend to be a tear-full person, because when something touches me emotionally, it touches deep. That’s why certain Pixar movies get to me (I’m looking at you, Coco and Moana).

Great is Thy Faithfulness.

It’s also why certain hymns get to me. Ever since I was a kid I’ve cried in church, and I don’t think I understood why until well into adulthood. This isn’t the only reason, but it’s the underlying one: however “heady” I may be, and however aggravated I may be with church life (and with faith life in general), the call I feel runs deep.

If anything, my headiness and aggravation amplify it. If the call wasn’t strong enough, the headiness and the aggravation would smother it. Easily. Sometimes it comes close. But when tears come, I’m aware all over again that the call is that true. And I have to bring along my headiness and all my aggravations—not ditch them, but use them—to answer.

They’re not enemies of the call. They’re part of it.

Impulse buy + impostor syndrome.

I’ve written about overthinking things, and about my recent attempt to write for children.

This past weekend I did NOT overthink, and DID make a further commitment to kid-writing projects, first by impulsively joining the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and then registering for their online “Summer Spectacular.” I’ve spent the past five days listening and learning and wondering what on earth I was thinking.

Yes, I felt completely out of my element, outclassed, and impostor-y. Ten and a half chapters of a terrible first draft does not a children’s writer make. (In my head.)

And then, to my surprise, as I listened to people talk about poetry and picture books, emerging readers and harsh realities, there were tears.

More than once.

Familiar tears. The kind that spill over in church when the call resonates in spite of—no: beyond, behind, and through—all the nay-saying in my head. I’m not sure exactly what the tears mean, or what following them will look like.

All I know is that they don’t come lightly.

So I’m listening.

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