So I confess that when I saw the press release about Momastery.com going to publication, I got jealous.
For those of you unfamiliar to the website, Momastery is a blog run by Glennon. Like me, she’s a mother of three beautiful, partly Asian kids. Like me, she clearly loves to write. After one of her blog pieces went to the Huffington Post earlier this year, it was shared over five hundred thousand times. Four months later, with a website following of some twenty-seven thousand devotees, she’s coming out with a book of her blog material, the rights to which were auctioned off by ten publishers.
The essay which got reposted on the Huffington Post talks about a situation familiar to all parents of young, irresistible offspring. In supermarkets, elevators, church aisles and waiting rooms across the world, we are stopped by little old ladies who coo at our kids and mean well when they say to us: “Treasure every moment, it goes by too quickly.”
Glennon nails it on the head. She writes about how parents of young children are the last people on earth who need to be given this particular message. However true the claim regarding the ephemerality of childhood, mothers of young children, especially when these are manifold, are too preoccupied and stressed to live in the instant.
I love that she wrote about this. After the umpteenth exchange with the Dutch version of those little old ladies, I realized that these veteran women are really only saying this for themselves, namely, for the chronological time they have lost. Glennon closes her essay on just that point – that if parents can step out of chronos, or chronological time, long enough to see their children in kairos, or God’s eternal time, then they’ve done everything they need to do to for themselves and their kids that day, any day, forever.
I wondered if Glennon had read Madeleine L’Engle. I wondered this because Madeleine is where I learned about the difference between chronos and kairos. I kind of sat there, scrolling through her website, wondering what else she’d done to make a book materialize out of mothering.
When I told my husband about her success story, slightly exasperated, he had two words for me: “Keep writing.”
When I went running the next day, still resentful toward the literary world that had yet to discover me, the message was still the same: “Keep writing.”
As I ran past blue skies, cows, polder and canals, I remembered something else that L’Engle had taught me, quoting Fortescue: “Comparisons are odious.”
Yes, of course: it was odious of me to compare myself to Glennon. This sizing up and pouting was foolish, because God had made me unique. My gifts, a few of which were similar to Glennon’s, would be worked out in God’s time, for me. If that meant that my twilight writing sessions, however scarce, were to be interrupted by my baby’s restless sleep for the next year, so be it. If that postponed fame and fortune, were they even on the horizon, that was okay, too.
It was okay because God created me, and I am a writer. He would not give me a calling I could not follow.
Our gifts are a medium for Light. What one artist calls her muse, the Christian calls the Spirit. In serving the gifts God has given us through the Holy Spirit, we serve him and work for Light.
Success or failure aside, the only thing I had to do was keep the radar on and respond when the Spirit said, “Write about this.”
Art, thus, is an act of obedience. Baking fabulous cakes (that’s you, Yvette), if that’s the gift God has given you, is also an act of obedience. Playing piano, interpreting, remembering the marginalized, church planting – whatever we happen to be good at – are gifts which we have been given, and when applied, are equally acts of obedience. As Christians, we do not obey because we are too stupid to do anything else. We obey because God sees the bigger picture – by which we are awed and beholden. Through obedience, we recognize that God discerns the best way our gifts fit into that bigger picture.
When I finished my run that morning, I was happy for Glennon.
I was even happier for myself, because I had a new piece to write.
You’re reading it.
© 2012 Anastasia Hacopian