A New First

This Sunday I experienced a new first. My essay, “I Am Afraid/I Am Not Afraid” was featured in a sermon given at my Unitarian Universalist church by my minister, Angela Herrera. She had contacted me a few weeks before, complimenting the essay, and asking permission to refer to it in an upcoming sermon. I said yes, gladly, and felt honored. The upcoming sermon was a special one. Our church has been meeting virtually over Zoom since March of 2020 but on Sunday September 12th of 2021 the church was going to have its first in-person service since the pandemic began. The sermon she was working on was about “embracing possibility” and was going to be given twice on this special day — once during the 9 a.m. Zoom service and once during the 11 a.m. in-person service.

Our family chose to attend the Zoom service. We don’t feel like we’ll be ready to rejoin everyone in person until our nine year old son is vaccinated and Covid numbers go down in our area. But a part of me longed for the experience of going to the in-person service, of seeing everyone in real life, of being inside the church’s sanctuary with its lovely mural. I know the first time we’ll return in person I’ll cry with the joy of it, and a part of me wished that day could be on September 12th.

That day wasn’t September 12th, but in a way it feels like it was. The sermon opened and closed by referencing my essay, and a couple paragraphs were quoted directly. I wasn’t in the sanctuary this past Sunday, but my words were. That means a lot to me. I’m so glad that a part of me was there, in that large light room full of people with love in their hearts.

New Beginnings

I’ve been thinking I ought to have an author’s website for awhile. I’ve been slowly increasing my publications, and it seemed to me that I ought to have a place where people could find them all, and also contact me if they wished to. I sat on this idea for some time. Imposter syndrome told me having my own website was silly. Inertia told me setting it up would be a lot of trouble. But I’ve been working with a writing coach lately and she suggested it was time I put together a site where people could contact me and find all my publications. Having that little extra push was enough to get me moving, and here I am. I wrestled with WordPress for a good week, trying to figure it all out. And I’ve ended up with the simplest possible design, as I couldn’t figure out anything more complicated. But here it is, my website, and it includes this blog, where I’ll periodically update people about my writing life, and perhaps small bits of the rest of my life as well.

While I was writing the above paragraph last week Thursday, my phone rang. I saw it was from my son’s grade school, and I fumbled the phone as I picked it up and answered it. It was the school nurse, and I don’t know what I said at first in reply, but she responded by saying, “I know. Take a deep breath.” She proceeded to tell me that my son was running a fever of 101.8 and I needed to come pick him up as soon as possible. So began a long weekend of worry, and Covid tests, and more worry. Now on the other side, I am glad to say that his sickness passed quickly, with the only symptoms being spiked fevers and headaches, and that his Covid tests were negative. He’s back at school this morning, and was happy to go.

Such is the writing life, always interrupted by the rest of life. I’m trying to learn to keep writing despite it all. I’ve done a good job of it the past few months, even managing to keep up a daily writing practice while my son was on summer break and had no day camps or other care. He cultivated a Prodigy Math habit on his computer, while I cultivated a writing habit on my computer. Ironically, I’ve found keeping up my writing practice more challenging since he started school. I have more time, but I also have more worry. I’m trying to learn to write through the worry as well. I even wrote a piece about that worry, which came out in MUTHA Magazine recently, “I Am Afraid/I Am Not Afraid.” It felt good to take my anxiety and shape it into something outside of myself.

Now I’m back to working on my long manuscript, about parenting with bipolar disorder. Again, I’m trying to take a piece of my life and shape it into something outside of myself. It is satisfying work and I feel proud as I see that manuscript grow. I’ll update here about how that project is going, from time to time.