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my voice

i originally intended to take about a week or so off from blogging.  as it turns out, i guess i needed a little longer.  part of the reason, as some of you know, is that i was away on a vacation to the jersey shore, and then a short camping trip following that.  still, i had my blackberry, so i could have easily updated the blog (and facebook and twitter), but i was resolute in my feeling that i needed some time off the grid.  i needed to shut my mouth for a moment and just listen.  i don't want to blog just because i always have.  i want to have a reason, and i wasn't sure anymore what that reason was. 

so i needed some time to listen again and remember why i started in the first place. 

sure, part of why i blog is just to stay connected.  it is important to me to stay connected this way.  i hear so many people complain so much about staying connected in our day and age.  i hear complaints about facebook and about smart phones and how email and social media keep us too connected and too enslaved to our technology and so forth.  i'm always a bit perplexed when people start into that rant, however, because i don't identify with it.  i love being connected.  maybe it's the innate need for community in me, or maybe its the inner exhibitionist, or both, but i find satisfaction in the connections afforded to me by the screen in front of me. 

but staying connected is not my primary focus.  it's not why i started the blog.  i started because i felt like i had something to say.  like a boiling pot with the lid on, i felt like i would burst if i didn't let it out somewhere.  it's never really been about how many people read it (if it were, i would have stopped some time ago), but about the saying of the thing.  if someone reads it and interacts with it, that is a beautiful accident, as far as i'm concerned.  i just wanted to write. 

last week, during my blogging hiatus, i watched a wonderful film that i'm sure you've seen (parenthood has caused me to resign myself to being the last person to see any film), the king's speech.  it was one of those movies that after watching it, i wanted to watch every last minute of the extras to somehow keep the story alive.  i loved it.  but more than just entertain me, the film also challenged me to consider what is my voice, and how i might use it. 

which brings me back to my blog.  sometimes, in the middle of a post about the steelers, or on a random wednesday, there's a little voice in the back of my brain that whispers dubiously to me, "why are you wasting your time doing this?  nobody cares.  nobody reads it.  it doesn't really even matter to anybody.  there's more important things you could be doing."  and sometimes this voice really gets to me.  i believe it.  and while it is true that there are probably more important things i could be doing (aren't there always?), this seems to be the thing that i am supposed to do - that one place where my gifts seem to find their sweet spot, so to speak.  it is my voice.  and i feel called to use it.  and although you may not care about the steelers or radiohead's newest album, i have to remind myself from time to time that "the earth is the Lord's and everything that is in it."  in other words, the fact that i write about everything from baseball to bluegrass to bad theology belies my bedrock belief that all of life is sacred.  all of it.  there is a holiness to this wild existence that i refuse to lock up in the cages of the christian subculture, or confine to the limited language of religion.  there is opportunity to meet God and live the abundant life God promises in all the nooks and crannies of life, and that is the story i feel called to tell.  that is how i am supposed to use my voice.

and so i am back.  not in black, but in orange (i suppose).  actually, i'm still wrestling with the name of this blog and what i would change it to.  in any case, if you're reading, i'm glad you are here, and i hope and pray you hear something that inspires you or makes you mad or comforts you or challenges you or makes you think or makes you laugh or makes you talk to someone else about it.  i hope it makes you dream.  i hope it makes you want to use your own voice. 

Comments

Emoly said…
as a regular reader and commenter, I appreciate your voice, your frustration and your time away.

While you were "gone" did you happen to keep up with other blogs (specifically mine)? I only ask because I posted my Annual Conference "report" which was much less of a report but more of my thoughts from Conference. ("You have a voice!") If you didn't see that, I'm wondering if you would be interested in reading it...
monica said…
thanks for sharing about where you are at. that authenticity is what i appreciate about your writing. i too have had a time of blog frustration lately and am trying to find my voice too. i look forward to hearing more from you.
Kelly said…
A blog is ones personal space to express their thoughts and not other peoples. You understand that and thanks for opening up. Some people tend to forget why they started to blog and some people know exactly why they started to blog. That's why I launched www.whyiblog.com for people to express why they blog and read what others have to say. Take a look around and even post the reason why you your self are still blogging
julie said…
I, for one, love reading your blog, as you are much more expressive via writing than speaking. I love hearing your "voice" and I love getting to you know you more and more. Don't listen to that inner voice - we all want to hear you!
peggy said…
I'm glad you are back! You have a wonderful gift and I'm sure you touch other people in ways that you don't realize. You don't need a reason for doing something that you love to do, but I admire your need to step back and "listen". I'm very happy that you didn't decide to abandon your blog and your willingness to share your ideas, feelings, inspiraton, disappointments, etc. with the rest of us!

By the way, did the "listening voices" happen to mention the Georgia Bulldogs or the Atlanta Braves? You could diversify a little bit on the days that you write about your favorite teams!
cathyq said…
I'm listening, reading, learning, enjoying, and thinking. Keep it up.
greg. said…
thanks to all for your kind comments. i've been really doubting myself in this way, and i appreciate the affirmation.

i also feel like i just keep saying the same things over and over again (life is beautiful, love wins, my wife and kids are my greatest joy, God is in every mundane moment, the steelers are awesome, etc). but maybe i'm only called to keep saying the same things in different ways, until they are no longer just words that i make into a post, but words that really make me who i am.
Greg C said…
I had an uh-oh moment a week or two ago when I checked the blog and you weren't back. I too am glad you've decided to stick to it.
Your voice is real and as such challenges, affirms, annoys and lifts up those of us fortunate enough to be readers. Don't know about others, but I would miss that.
Staying in touch is simply gravy!
And as for the name, again, I say keep it.
Twana Milem said…
I love your blog too and miss reading it when it is not there first thing in the morning with my coffee:)Pastor Greg have No worries, no doubts, when it comes to your blog....just keep on doing what you do best and yes it is good to know, hear, life is beautiful and God is IN EVERY MOMENT because at times we forget when we are consumed with things.
Your insights are many and bring delight, laughter, smiles and sometimes huh?
Agentorange kind of threw me at first but gather Steelers lover..
we should have a contest as what to name your voice?
Reading and enjoying from afar...WI
Go pack:) Twana

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