It's been almost six months since my unexpected abdominal surgery, and it's taken me this long to get back into writing. While I was recovering, all I could do was read (it was not terrible). After a few months of reading, I sunk into a season of deep doubt, anxiety, and insecurity. You can read about all this in my previous blogs.
Now it's been six months and I'm finally free enough to invest my whole heart into my characters and their lives again. The stories I am writing about being a refugee take a LOT of emotional energy, and I didn't have the capacity to throw myself into that world again. But, as I have said before, this is an incredible privilege. That I can choose when I want to put myself into the shoes of a refugee. I can choose when to take that journey. For millions in the world today, it is not a choice.
Once again, the world is in an upheaval of crisis with people being forced to leave Syria and Venezuela and other countries because staying home is too dangerous and they aren't able to survive, much less thrive, where they once did. I love following the Preemptive Love Coalition, and here's a good article on what's been going on in Syria recently.
So, once again, I'm diving into this world to complete the sequel to No Way but Through. As stated in the article linked above, the world is ready to move on from Syrian refugees, and refugees in general. Especially when our own country is such a hotbed of division and dissension. But I'm not ready to move on.
Writing the sequel is different. When I wrote NWBT, there was a drive and passion in me to make this story known. It didn't take me long to write or edit it. I wanted, no I needed to get it out in the world.
This second book is no less important. I began writing it from the pressure of people asking for a sequel (which is so humbling and amazing)! Also, I sensed the impending impact of it, yet I don't have the same urgency, yet. I've often asked God if I should tackle this book at all, but I know in my soul, it needs to be written and sent out into the world as much as No Way but Through did. The passion for this book is coming to me. A familiarity I have with the characters, and digging more deeply into who they are, has been exciting and anchoring as I tackle this project.
Writing is discipline, not inspiration. Forcing myself to sit down and write day after day, gets the job done. Not waiting until I feel like writing. But it's a beauty when the inspiration does come. When this happens it is like breathing to me, like there's nothing else I'd rather be doing!
Entering into the suffering of the world also takes discipline. In my own suffering over the last six months, I couldn't do it, and I understand if that's where you are. But we can't forever wallow in our own lives while ignoring what's going on in the rest of the world. (Side note: my life is beautiful and there is very little wallowing in it these days!) Sometimes the inspiration and the drive come, but most of the time we have to make ourselves sit down and read or watch videos of the suffering in the wider world. Our lives can't remain small and privileged forever.
Why? Because I believe God's heart is burdened over the broken things, the broken lives in our world, and God invites us to be the ones to spread the love and the wealth around. We get to be in on it! These little sacrifices of love and selflessness toward our fellow humans rise like a sweet smelling offering to God.
If you're not "feeling it," still do it. Action begets compassion and love. If you act loving towards your neighbors, your families, your spouse, the feelings of love and compassion will follow. Want to be a more compassionate and loving person? Don't just hope or pray to be one, act like one and the genuine feelings and desires to serve others will come flooding in.
Wondering how you can be involved with displaced people near you? Enter into their lives and offer your love in humility.
Purchase No Way but Through and begin with a baby step of putting yourself in the shoes of refugees. Thirty percent of each book sold goes directly to support displaced people. Thank you for your support!
ALSO, click here to find organizations near you to get involved with.