A Gift and A Story

Today is fun. Today, Jon Acuff, a really funny guy and a great writer who has a new book coming out soon, is running a piece I wrote for him at his website, Stuff Christians Like. Jon has quite a few regulars over at his place, and maybe a few of them will poke their noses in the back door over here at Rainbow Dull. If you happen to see a new face, be sure and give 'em your friendliest smile. If you happen to be one of those people, patiently waiting for me to tell you something you don't already know, wait no longer.

The other night, my husband John and I were talking about some posts I'd read about another guy who has a new book, and I got to tell him the following story.

When I was eleven, we lived in Brinkley, a small town in northeast Arkansas where my Dad served as Family Life Minister for a year and a half. This was the eighties, so Brinkley had a roller skating rink, which our church periodically rented out for "youth skate night." Getting nostalgic yet? Since then, I have been to many rinks, with other churches, where we were allowed to play our own (Christian) music. But for some reason, the Brinkley rink played what they wanted, even when the church people showed up. So here's what my little brother and I did -- we skated with our fingers in our ears. Yep, it is a little harder to keep balance that way, but we skated all the time in our driveway at home so we were experts. The story gets better though. I have a really vivid memory of circling the rink, ears plugged, singing words my brother made up to combat evil Joan Jett's catchy lyric: "I hate rock-and-roll, gonna flush it down the toilet bowl."

I attempted to sing that last bit and my husband looked over at me, as only a man who's loved me for thirteen years can, and said, "I love that story!" And while it is somewhat embarrassing, I love it too. It's one of those few times when I can clearly point my finger at the map of life and say, "I was there; and now I'm here." At eleven, I was young, naive, and unable to think completely for myself. At thirty-three, I am still youngish, sometimes world wise and sometimes still naive, but now I am the proud owner of a t-shirt my husband describes as "punk, something Joan Jett would wear." OK, so maybe I still don't completely think for myself yet, but we're getting there.

What I have learned is that telling this story, and many others like it, helps me think better. Writing them all down helps me better understand myself and the world around me, seen and unseen. That's why I think of writing as a gift. Not just something to bless other people with, although I love when that happens; it's more like writing is something God made up one day when he was thinking about me. He knew I'd need a way to collect the clanking bowling balls from the slick wooden floor of my mind and stack them neatly, categorically, on the shelves of my heart.

The really cool thing is that he had us all in mind at some point, and created gifts for each one of us. It took me awhile to figure out how to open mine, but that's another post for another time. How about you? Have you figured out your gift yet? Is it like mine, or are you one of those people with multiple gifts? How have you made use of your gift(s) so far? Anything else you wanna do with yours?


Rhonda said...

Love it all. I adore your writing. I'm so glad God blessed you with the gift of using words. I get blessed every time I read.

Lisa said...

Hello, Just bloghopping. Great blog!

Be Well :)

Rebekah said...

Hi! I found your blog through Stuff Christians Like, and as a fellow pastor's daughter, and now pastor's wife (ha), I can totally relate. Growing up in the naive bubble is almost inevitable. As a result, it took me 26 years to understand MYSELF enough to discover what I was truly good at. Kept trying to fit myself into the mold of something at church. Even tried the piano- well keyboard, but same thing right! :) Right before Christmas last year, I decided that what I like to do best, and get the most joy out of in regards to my gift was being creative in a different way than is normally expected at church or from a pastor's wife. I like to cook! I guess you could say hospitality was my "spiritual gift". I turned that into a blog, and www.thecookingvent.blogspot.com was born! I do it more for myself than others, but when I can bless someone else through something as simple as cooking, or take all my creative energy and feel that I made something delicious that looks wonderful makes me feel fulfilled. Still really new at it and trying to figure out how to best incorporate my ministry and my gift, but loving it so far!!! Thanks for your story!