Dan volunteered twice to drive me to my Guild meeting on Wednesday night. Perhaps it was the fact that I’d been wandering for six minutes looking for my purse, not knowing what I was looking for. Or maybe it was because he’d asked me a half dozen times if I needed a snack before I left the house, and I responded by staring and chewing on my sleeve.
We call these my “bad head” days–days when forcing thoughts through my brain is a lot like shoving cooked noodles through tar. And because my brain and body don’t work the same way they did before my 1999 lesion showed up in my cerebellum, sometimes I’d just rather sit down and cry.
But not on the third Wednesday of the month. That’s the night I show up at a local bookstore with a half dozen of my writing friends for accountability, encouragement, networking, cinnamon pastry, and a lot of soul sugar. We call ourselves the Guild (not associated with Jerry Jenkins’ great organization), and we share a synergy and commitment to one another that extends beyond cheerleading and encouragement.
When Lorilee Craker invested a chunk of her heart and life in co-authoring Lynne Spears’ book Through the Storm, we absorbed Lorilee’s passion and love for Lynne, Britney, and the Spears family.
When our friend Tracy Groot decided to research her next novel by leaping off a ship in the Mediterranean Ocean to know what it would feel like to be truly abandoned at sea, we helped her devise her plan.
We talk one another down off ledges, rebuke fear, shame, guilt, and procrastination, light fires under rear ends, share freely from whatever God’s placed in our hands, ladle out loving doses of family counseling, eat often, laugh liberally, and spur one another on toward our dreams and visions.
After our Wednesday night meeting, several emails passed between our Guild members. Alison Hodgson, who is currently completing a proposal for a book on shame, compiles words of encouragement in a Writing Sugar file. The words of Alison’s email this week were sugar for my soul:
“Sharon . . . thanks for writing. It made me cry and went right into my ‘writing sugar’ file . . .I’m ashamed I’ve wasted so much time strangled by fear and perfectionism, . . .but I am hoping that the lag time between shame and grace is ever more tightening until I am continuing in a state of grace.
“There is a feeling I get, a sort of prophetic nudge, a momentary slipping of the veil where I can hear the feet pounding and feel the air moving as we run the race together. . . Thank you for choosing to run beside me and cheering me on . . . It means so much.”
I wish you all a community that knows the sweetness of such grace.