One year ago today, I published my first post, called prayer.
As the title suggests, it was an act of faith—a voice in the dark asking, “who’s there?”
I would write that it seems like just yesterday when that post pronounced its “hello” to the web world, but it doesn’t. On the contrary, it feels like I’ve been doing this all my life, which is a credit to you, the reader, whose support has made us neighbors no matter the distance of fiber optic cable between us.
When I searched my memory for a fitting expression of thanks and gratitude, I remembered something I read of Vincent Van Gogh’s a few years ago.
Van Gogh is too often remembered as a bloody ear. The singular event confines him to the stereotypes of a tortured genius. If you read his words, he is not as misunderstood.
He was an incredibly patient man and not prone to violent outbursts. He describes his art in beautiful prose as an internal journey of the soul. This particular excerpt is from a letter he wrote to his brother Theo not long after he left the seminary to commune with God through art.
The thought relates exactly to what I’ve experienced staking the Miracle of the Mundane’s humble internet territory:
There may be a great fire in our soul, but no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a little bit of smoke coming through the chimney and pass on their way. Now, look here, what must be done, must one tend that inward fire, have salt in oneself, wait patiently yet with how much impatience for the hour when somebody will come and sit down near it—to stay there maybe? Let him who believes in God wait for the hour that will come sooner or later.”
My hour came 365 days ago.
Writing is the bedrock of the life I’ve built in my 9 years clean and sober. A life that includes teaching literature, writing for my city’s paper, marrying a passionate and caring woman, coaching American football, and, most recently, starting a website.
Navigating the internet recovery world and writers community has changed everything.
I spent 7 years writing feverishly but sharing nothing. I was in a cave, tending my fire as Van Gogh put it. With my busy schedule, I never thought I’d be able to participate in any sort of writers community. Or to use Van Gogh’s metaphor, I never imagined someone would warm themselves by my fire. Were it not for modern technology, I may have spent my life tending that flame, waiting for that hour to come. Instead,
I shared my fire, and you poured kerosene on it.
May the fire rage on.