Skip to main content

Becoming a Process Person

I was not very into the idea of process during my university years. I liked that word about as much as I liked the words busy, bibliography, and bills.

In the decade since, I have learned that my schedule will always be as full as I let it be, that there is always boring paperwork to correspond with the interesting work, and that paying bills is an inevitable and manageable part of life.

I have also learned that I will never arrive. I will always be in process. For several years, I fought this. Sometimes, I still do. There are days I see where I want to be, and I wonder why I can't just get there and be there immediately. Why can't I change this stubborn heart, when I want to? Why can't I get the job, when I know I'd thrive there? Why can't I be a perfect friend? What if I never get better at any of these things?

These days, I try not to listen to fear or frustration (which is little more than pride proved wrong). And in doing this, I'm taking more risks, doing more things, getting further along and deeper into the "process" of living.

I'm making a concentrated effort to write every day this month. Of course, the first few days produced absolutely awful results and I thought to myself, "I will never make it as a writer." But the story I'm telling kept taking shape in my mind, and I found myself daydreaming it, playing out all the threads and wanting to write it anyway.

And serendipitously, a library book I'd placed on hold before Thanksgiving finally came in. Anne Lamott's writing advice/memoir, Bird by Bird. In the first chapter, she writes:
But I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do - the actual act of writing - turns out to be the best part. It's like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.
Ah! She is on to something. The more I write, the more I remember that I want to write. I somehow need to write. And as I write, the process becomes the goal. Or rather, I am so focused on the process, on doing and creating and living out where I am, that the future prospect of results and arriving become far less vital (and stressful).


I still hope it happens, writing and life-wise, but I'm not "there" yet, and for now, I'm embracing the process. There will be (and have been) some gloriously awful first drafts. Some things make it through to round two, and as I keep digging in and drilling down...it's amazing what rich rewards I find.

Comments

kat said…
I loved this. I also love that I can always count on you to encourage/remind me to write.
Beth said…
yeah, kat! write!

Popular posts from this blog

Fostering FAQ: How Can You Say Goodbye?

It seems I finally have something(s) to say... Here's the first in a short (or maybe long?) series on Fostering FAQs. If you've got a question to add, feel free to comment/email/text/message me and maybe the next post will be in response.

--

8:30 am on Day 4 of parenting. I woke up in a panic two hours ago because I remembered that there is a baby and I am responsible for her (at least at 6:30am, when the man beside me will snore through anything). Now, I have put on clothes and eaten breakfast. The dogs are walked, there is a loaf of banana bread in the oven. My tea is steeping. Most importantly, Dream Baby is already down for her first nap.

Despite my morning efficiency, I'm already beginning to see that even with the happiest, most easygoing, and smiliest baby, like we somehow managed to be given, parenting is a grind. On Friday night, I couldn't join friends for $5 pints at a local joint. Instead, I blearily washed the same 8 bottles again, and then made another ba…

Fostering FAQ: How Long Will She Stay/Will You Adopt Her?

Our first foster baby came with about 18 hours notice; it was respite care, which means we had him for a few days while his regular foster family had a break/dealt with a family emergency. He stayed 3 nights, long enough to come to church and have a dozen people cooing over his little sleeping cheeks.  With each new visitor to our quiet corner, I explained again that he would be going back to his foster family the next day.

Barely a week later, we got a 9am phone call with a fostering request and by the same afternoon, we were snuggling her. This time, we had her for 4 days before church came around. Again, our community was keen to see the little one we had in tow. Again, the question, "How long will she stay?" And this time, "Are you going to adopt her?"

--

Here in Toronto, when a child is placed in foster care, it is always for an indefinite length of time. It depends on the parents' situation, and whether they are able to make a safe home environment for th…

What About Travis!?

I just watched Hope Floats, the second movie in my I-really-need-to-vegetate night. Now that we have more than three channels, there are so many quality programs on TV! Like movies in the middle of the week. I enjoyed many of the lines in this movie, including:

"I went home and told my mama you had a seizure in my mouth."
(referring to her first french-kissing experience)

"Dancing's just a conversation between two people. Talk to me."
(the conversation in our living room then went,
Girl 1: Only Harry Connick Jr. could say that line without it being incredibly cheezy.
Boy: Without it being cheezy? That's all I heard. Cheez, cheez, cheez.
Girl 2: Yeah, but it was sexy, sexy cheez...sigh.)
"Better do what she says, Travis. Grandma stuffs little dogs."

Bernice: At home we had a pet skunk. Mama used to call it Justin Matisse. Do you think that's just a coincidence? All day long she would scream, "You stink Justin Matisse!" Then one day she just…