What do you live for, honey?

Monday, March 23, 2015

via pinterest

A friend was over at our house for dinner a few days ago, and we were chatting as usual about how our days had gone. Somehow we got started telling stories. She shared with us about her adventures when she'd first come to live in this area, so many years ago, and in particular an adventure with a little old lady and a beautiful farmhouse. Our guest had stopped to tell her she liked the house; the little old lady, however, had talked and talked like they were old friends from the start, about her life and her family and her home. She went on for several minutes, not allowing our guest a word in edgewise, and at some point she just stopped and asked, "What do you live for, honey?"

Our guest was taken aback. How do you answer a question like that, on the spot? She didn't have an answer, and the little old lady went on talking just as if she had asked "How do you feel about the weather recently?" but the question stuck with her.

On the day she visited us, she drove past that old farmhouse again - and this was where, as listeners, we got excited. Another woman, also our dinner guest that night, said she guessed she had an answer this time around? - but she didn't. Twenty years later, and she still wasn't sure. That was what struck me.

How would I have answered the little old lady? If someone asked me today, would I have an answer?

Without Christ, this is a wildly frightening question. Man without a purpose simply moves from one stage to the next, and to what end?

But with Christ, there is holy purpose in our daily struggle against temptation. That is: to live that with every breath I glorify my Creator. I suppose without God we could say, "to live with excellence," but then we could ask why? Why do we want to be excellent, if we do not want to praise something or Someone larger than our dominion on earth?

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ." -Philippians 4:8


As writers we very rarely stop and ask ourselves why we do what we do. We just do it; we're writers, and just as any other occupation, there is rarely a black-and-white reason behind it; rather, it's a part of our makeup. But when we become complacent - doing something just 'because' - we begin to lose interest; we begin to forget, or as it were, wonder, why we're doing it. And just as life without a purpose becomes flat, writing without a purpose lacks impact.

For me, it's a combination of the desire to tell a story, the desire to create worlds and people worth knowing, the desire to write something that makes the mundane worth it, for the excitement of the world within the page. Why do you write? What keeps you putting down one word after the other, sentence by painstaking sentence as the process can be; what's keeping you going?

6 comments

  1. That lady sounds like the perfect book character--I love it!

    And her words are really profound. Thanks for giving me something to chew on today. :)

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    1. Doesn't she? I would love to meet more people like that. :)

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  2. Love this. <3 I also love the new header.

    Also, I miss you.

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    1. THANKS. ^.^ It was actually the very first header draft - who knows why I decided to change it later in the process? But it's back now. And I like it better.

      And I miss you too. :(

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  3. I love this question. It's good during easy or tough writing seasons to remember why you're doing it--and why it's important.

    And your new header is lovely! :)

    ~Schuyler

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    1. Thankyou-thankyou!
      I also find redefining my raison d'ĂȘtre, if you will, is a good way to wiggle out of writers block. When you know what you're about, it's a lot less easy to get stuck.

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