Dear January 2006 Emily,
Right now the twins are only two and you’re still pregnant with Luke. (FYI – He’s breech and you’ll have another c-section, but the recovery will be better this time. I promise it will be okay.) But I’m writing because you just posted your first blog post, Calling All Magic-Bean-Buyers, a quote from Shel Silverstein.
“If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer. If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!” ~Shel Silverstein
I know you’re not thinking much about your blog these days, but I’m here to tell you you’ll be publishing blog posts in that same space eleven years from now. As in, when the twins are teenagers and that baby you’re carrying has feet bigger than yours.
No one is reading your blog right now. But eventually readers will come. And some of them will become your closest friends.
That blog post you just posted is the beginning of something for you. It’s the beginning of a writing career, actually – books and speaking and a full-time job. It’s the beginning of something else, too – of you becoming more fully yourself.
But you don’t know that yet.
All you know is you have two toddlers and a baby on the way and you’re trying to sleep through the night despite the heartburn.
All you know is you’re tired of writing down your thoughts onto crumpled receipts in the bottom of your purse and you’d like to put them somewhere they won’t disappear.
All you know is you have been feeling like a shadow of your former self and somehow writing is a tether for your soul to solid ground.
You don’t know it now, but that quote you just posted on your blog is somewhat prophetic. It is an invitation, though no one will respond to it for years. But you’ve opened the door.
You’ve opened the door to thousands of women who are dreamers, hopers, and prayers like you. They are brave and afraid, hopeful and discouraged, beautiful and strong. They are mothers, students, sisters, grandmothers, aunties, and friends. And some of your readers are men!
Many you will get to meet in real life. You’ll get to hear their own flax-golden tales. You’ll get to look into their eyes and learn from them. And they will thank you for your writing and you won’t know what to say. Hint: Just say you’re welcome and don’t make things weird.
But most of your readers you won’t ever get to meet. Many of them you won’t ever hear from at all. But there they’ll be, faithfully reading your words each week. Or maybe they’ll only pop in every now and then when they’re feeling anxious or want a little encouragement.
Do everything you can to create space for her soul to breathe. Remember your gifting and stay in your own corner of the pool. Do your own thing well and don’t try to do someone else’s thing better.
To have a reader is a gift and a responsibility.
Serve her with kindness.
Carry her in your heart.
Be gentle with yourself so you can offer gentleness to her.
Remember ego feels pushy and afraid but calling feels kind and free (most of the time).
And always let Love lead.
January 2017 Emily
Artwork by Annie Barnett
I wrote that letter to myself, but maybe you need to hear it, too.
First, if you have something you’ve been working on and you don’t yet know where it’s headed, remember usually we only get to see the next step of things, and sometimes not even that.
Your work is important.
And second, I want to say thank you. As the year turns over another January, I tend to get reflective over this space we have here. This month marks 11 years and I’m grateful that even with all the new apps, the video platforms, the shorter-form Twitter and Instagram (which you know I love and use every single day), well.
We’re still doing this. And I’m so glad.