Friday, September 4, 2009

How I deal with rejection

I have written here before about my love for words and my passion for writing. Not very many days have gone by in the past 40 years of my life that I have not written something. Some days it will only be a quick note dashed off to a child’s teacher; time constraints and life often get in the way of any real writing that I may have on my mind. That doesn’t usually stop my mind from writing, though. My mind is almost constantly in a state of thought, as I compose little snippets of this and that inside my head. It really wasn’t until adulthood that I realized that not everyone had these compositions swirling around in their heads all the time. I had no idea.
I certainly never thought of it as a gift. I thought of them as daydreaming; nothing more. Other people in my family were the gifted ones. My artist sister, my brother the musician, my father who builds beautiful furniture and my creative mother; those were the talented people. Everyone could actually see and hear their offerings - their art. I was just the kid who made up stories, read and lived inside her own head; nothing special there. Or so I was led to believe. I guess if you have no tangible offering at the end of the day it is not really worth much by the world‘s standards. Certainly, no one ever encouraged me to pursue my writing.
Funny thing happened a few years ago. I discovered the internet. I admit that I was forced - kicking and resisting into the World Wide Web. I had to learn how to send and receive e-mails or I was going to be left out of the loop in some of my circles. Anyone who knows me knows that being left out of the loop is a fate worse than death in my book, so I reluctantly learned how to use the internet. Once I opened the Pandora’s Box that is the internet, I discovered a whole new world. A world where I could write down those bits of composition from my head and with the touch of a button other people could read it. At lasts a tangible result of my ponderous, daydreaming mind. It was a beautiful thing. I began, slowly, to put myself (my work) out there and I was encouraged by the positive feedback I began to encounter. Bolstered by that positivism I began to venture out a little more. It is one thing for nameless, faceless people on the internet to read my work, but it is another thing all together for those who are close to me to read and analyze the things I write. I was finally able to bring myself to ask my family to read what I wrote, but it took some courage.
Here is something that some of you may not understand about writing. When a writer writes and puts her words out for the public to read, it is the same as a painter hanging her art on the wall of an art gallery. It is a piece of the artist. Her heart, her offering to the world, a sliver of her soul is on display. So it is with my writing. Every word is a brushstroke, every sentence a piece of a painting written on a blank canvas that when completed is an offering, a piece of my heart laid out for the world to judge. That is a scary proposition let me tell you. It leaves you vulnerable to the tempestuous judgment of others.
I have learned to accept that as I put my work, and thus myself, on display it is open season for criticism. I understand that some of the things I write about are not interesting to all who read it. That is to be expected. I also know that no one is going to agree with my position on every issue. I can live with that. The public, they are a fickle lot. I endeavor not to allow them too much power in my life. What is still difficult for me is apathy from those who claim to love me. It is rejection at its deepest level - right in the pit of my soul. I mourn the fact that some will simply never be able to give me what I need from them. For whatever reason, it is impossible for them. I accept that even as I grieve.
It is when I feel the sting of disinterest from those around me that I look toward scripture to encourage me. I know that my God alone will always be in my corner. He is the one bottomless source of encouragement that I have. It gives me immeasurable comfort to know that he is there. In those quiet hours of the night when I question my very existence he whispers in my ear - I created you and my works are wonderful. How wonderful to know that there was no mistake. He had a clear plan in mind when I he created me. No rejection, no apathy, no detachment felt by any human can touch the promise that God has spoken to me. Unconditional love and acceptance. It is a beautiful thing. How can I live in anything less than success and victory with my creator’s blessing and authority written on my heart? I can't. I owe God too much. And so, I press on.