What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though. ―
I delight in writing. I delight even more when people read what I write. And I delight the most when people respond to what I’ve written.
When I was in pastoral ministry, there were many things I enjoyed about my work. The process of preparing a sermon was exhilarating. Delivering it was another story. It made me nauseous. It wasn’t so much that I had stage fright, but that I was terrified that my presence would get in the way of God’s Presence and my words would not communicate God’s Word. I much preferred follow-up conversations on the sermons where people would reflect on the message and together we could search for meaning.
This shared search is rare in writing. Writing can be a lonely vocation. It is so refreshing when someone responds to let me know how my work has impacted them. It doesn’t have to be a fan letter, just an honest message that allows us to connect in a spiritually literate way.
I am grateful to each of my readers who devote time reading what I write about faith and mental illness. These are difficult subjects and I know many who need to simply digest them in the safe sanctuary of their personal screens. You are not ready to converse. You don’t know what you would say. Perhaps something strikes a chord you can not yet give voice to. I respect this. Believe me I do. I’ve been there myself. I still go there on occasion. I want you to know I appreciate you for who you are and I pray my words will bring healing to your souls.
I am also quite grateful for those who read and respond to what I’ve written. I have a file in my inbox with emails readers have sent to me since my blog began and the number is now approaching 300. Sometimes I read through these, lift them up in prayer and send a note to let them know of my prayers and ask how they are doing.
… to John M. who on June 6, 2017 asked about my mental health.
… to Linda W. who on Oct 24, 2017 said she appreciated my words on suicide.
… to Priscilla S. who on Jan 14, 2018 expressed the desire to connect with more broken people like her.
…to Paul M. who on Dec 11, 2019 concurred that our culture shows woeful disregard for healthy emotions.
… to Rachel B. who on Oct 17, 2019 who shared her burden as one with a mental illness caring for a father with dementia.
I want you to know I cherish each of your stories. Your pain does not go unnoticed. Not only are you speaking to me, but I am lifting you up to God in prayer.
Whether you read my work and let in soak in your heart, or you shift it to your keyboard and press send, I am grateful for being on this spiritual journey with you.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12.15)