Forty More Days, Day 36–On Following Through

Sometimes I can’t quite get my timing right. When I have time to do something, I don’t have energy. When I have energy, I don’t have time to do anything with it. Today, for example, I have the opportunity to get a head start on writing this evening’s blog now instead of waiting until this evening. Really, all I want to do is curl up on the sofa and take a nap. Such is life on a Saturday morning after what has been a long week. Truly, timing is everything.

We are on the eve of Holy Week, the beginning of the end for these 40 days. How have we spent this time? Life has a way of intervening such that, if we’re not intentional, we will sleepwalk through an entire experience. The 40 days of Lent are nearly up. For those who observe, it has meant giving something up or taking something on. It has meant at times focusing on what it means to sacrifice, what it means to suffer.

For the past several days I have been suffering from the worst cases of writer’s block I’ve had in a long while. Every night over the past week I’ve come and stared at the blank screen and the cursor blinking unfailingly as I struggled with what to write about. Truly these 40 days have not been smooth to be sure. And yet I have persevered, sometimes pushing through to add an original piece to the mix, and other times reaching into my trove of past posts to find one that fits the bill. Either way, people have found their way to this little blog and have derived benefit from it.

Part of the sacrifice is learning when to push through our tiredness and writer’s block to create something new. The other side of that is exercising self-care and knowing when to give up the struggle and don’t write anything. It’s hard on those of us who are accustomed to following through on a commitment to have to renege and not do the thing we said we were going to do. I don’t have such a huge following that my failure to post on a day will cause great ripples in the force. If people really need to hear from me, they can go to my other Forty Days blogs right here in “Consider This.”

But it’s not about disappointing the fans that’s difficult, it’s promising something and not delivering on it that’s the hard part. It’s the internal voice that says you’ve failed, you’ve let down people who were counting on you. At this point it becomes about more than not posting a blog entry one evening, it’s about setting sometimes unreal expectations and then flagellating oneself for not meeting them. It’s a no-win situation that I’ve put myself into on a number of occasions.

If the introspection about these 30-plus days has taught me anything it is about the value of self-compassion, of letting myself off the really deep hook I’ve stuck myself onto. It’s about offering comfort to myself when I can’t meet an obligation, encouraging myself as I would do for someone I cared about. It makes a difference in how I approach things. If I don’t post an original piece on a given day, it does not make me a failure, it simply means that in that moment I was unable to do what I said I was going to do. It happens to the best of us.

So as Holy Week approaches, I am committed to writing original posts each day, as best I can, up until and on Easter Sunday. If I find myself unable to do so, I hope you’ll forgive me, as I most certainly must forgive myself. And so it goes.

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