A week ago I was asked: If you could spend one day with someone – celebrity/historical figure/anyone – who could help you grow in your vocation, who would it be?
I write, so my mind easily wandered to writers. But I’m also easily intimidated. I don’t want to spend time with someone too in/famous who would have me too quickly tongue-tied-tripping over myself.
I “enjoyed” two retreats and one seminar with Madeleine L’Engle, perhaps my all-time favorite writer, while she lived. I adore her for countless reasons. But she was harder to adore in person – too staunch, serious, intimidating. On the page she can be funnier, poke fun at herself, even cut-loose. Less so in a group of strangers. [I will say, one of my all-time favorite Time with my Mom memories occurred during a silent retreat with Madeleine at a Santa Barbara monastery (please ask: why does one do a silent retreat with a famous author? Answer: to be near, to soak in the very few words one receives. Il/logic). Mom and I, enduring a covenant of silence, hiked very quietly in the Santa Barbara hills, laughing ourselves silly along the way].
So I thought through my favorite contemporary writers, gals I respect for their honesty, spunk, wit. I admire so many faith-filled writers, and it pained me to sort through them – too ironic, satirical, political, intimidating – to choose among them.
My choice? Jen Hatmaker. Pastor’s wife, raising a brood, loving the world with a big humor-filled heart that recognizes brokenness and our need for grace. SHE is the one who wouldn’t intimidate the crud out of me or kick me to the curb for being just me trying to write this crazy faith-filled life.
Since then I’ve been thinking This Good Question: how can I be the person who would intimidate No One and Invite Everyone? Oh friends, I want you all to know: if you hold any place in my life it’s because I love you. I don’t judge you. Let’s be friends, and let’s get real!
We invited Tween’s friend along on Teen’s family-friendly event. He couldn’t come, but in response his mama loved me with her words (more than she knows, but I hope she knows…). Unlike me, she is Korean. Like me, she is faith-full; she serves as mama to two boys; and she blogs – and this is where things get seriously unfair – in Korean. She can read my blog, whereas I can’t read hers.
Tonight she translated her blog for me. Because she wrote about me. And it simultaneously lifts my heart and breaks my heart because we have been too-lately friends – she will move with her family back to Korea in December of this year.
My Dear One writes (her words, edited only to omit names):
I have a friend, a writer, full of belief in God.
It is my big pleasure to read her article. She might not know I am a big fan of her as a writer.
Sometimes sorry to her because she can’t read my blog written in English. It is all about beautiful town, small town story.
The reason I like her articles is that her story is so sincere, frank, touch people. She influence on my way of writing. As a writer, she is my teacher. I think about why I write and for what I am writing like that.
Even though we haven’t met many times, I feel like understand her more. She talks like writing and watches the specific moment, sometimes takes a picture of it but I know she is thinking about the theme of next writing. Just like me.
She is very open to the different worlds and full of curiosity. I can easily guess how adventurous she is and how much she is tring to understand and hug all the other world. And she is very beautiful too!
I am sorry to know her just one year ago. If I know her in Feb 2012, when I came to USA, I am sure we would share friendship more. But good thing is that I can read her articles in my country forever. She ask me to write my story in English but still not enough to write it in English. Thus mail to her would be my first small article for her written in English.
I don’t have enough time living here. Very sad so I try to express my feeling and gratitude to my friends. I think you guys are great my friend who understand my poor English. I was so happy to know you.
Thank you, my writer friend.
Thank YOU, my writer friend, for loving me enough to write your first blog post in English to me. I’m shedding happy tears! I desire your friend-ship so much more than your fan-ship, but I’m humbled, honored, that you read my writing and want to learn from it. I want nothing more than to write sincerely, from my heart, in a way others can relate to and learn from. That you see my life – actions, words spoken and written – and that you notice me taking pictures and anticipate the blog post to follow… YES, that’s right! It all has to flow, each piece from another.
WHY did we not meet earlier? I simply don’t understand. My heart aches that you and your darlings will leave us so soon. Your friendship feels so life-long, so rich and fun-filled, and I don’t want to think past December when you will return to Korea and we will have a gaping hole. It won’t be, can’t be, filled. And, gosh-darnit-all, I can’t read your blog written in Korean!
But I will love you, worlds-away, no matter what.