This month this little blog turns five. When I started it I had a two-year-old and a one-year-old and a new-to-us house that I hadn’t even finished unpacking. I was (am) highly distractible and my kids hardly napped at all, so I mostly wrote at night after everyone else had gone to bed.
Lots of nights I fell asleep at my laptop. Some days I drove myself batty trying to fit in blogging during TV time or “quiet” play. But I plodded along at a decently steady rate for a while, writing about motherhood and our home life and whatever political issue was bugging me at the moment.
Then I had another baby. And another. And another. And my kids got older and busier and I was spread even more thin than I had been at first. Before I knew it, I’d let a couple of years go by, hardly writing anything at all.
When I was tossing around ideas for this blog back in the spring of 2013 I landed on the title “These Walls” because I was looking for something that could work for both of the topic areas I wanted to write on: my home life and my politics. I didn’t love the title, but I thought that with my tagline (“Sharing stories from within the walls of my home; encouraging discourse on the wider world outside them”) it expressed my general goal decently well.
There was another, more fluid, line of thinking behind the title too. I mention it somewhere in my About Me (don’t go looking it up; that section is in desperate need of updating) or in one of my first blog posts: I liked the idea of discussing the figurative walls that people put up between each other when it comes to politics.
But these days there’s another kind of wall that most occupies my attention (and no, it’s not Mr. Trump’s). These days, in this age of political upheaval, of shifting loyalties, of upside-down values, I’ve come to focus on the walls within.
The walls within me. The ones I’ve hidden behind, the ones I’ve found refuge in, the ones I’ve broached, the ones I struggle to abandon.
I fancy myself a fair person. I like to think that I take in a decent representation of information and viewpoints, weigh them, critique them, and come to my conclusions based on impartial reason. I rail against those who would treat social and political issues like players on their favorite professional sports team. You know: if he’s my guy I love him, if he’s yours I hate him.
But the truth is, I’ve been struggling with my allegiances and my prejudices, my values and fears for a long time. On some issues, I’ve changed my mind. On some, I’ve become more resolved. On some, I wince and cling to my home team – not convicted, but not ready to let go either.
Which brings me back to the blog.
I’ve been struggling mightily over the thing. Not a day goes by that I don’t have a “walls within” kind of idea for These Walls and long to bring it to fruition. Not a single day.
But also – not a day goes by that I don’t remind myself how limited my time is, or how poorly I’ve been feeling, or how ill-equipped I am, personality-wise, to be a reliable presence on the internet.
Yet for months now (ironically, the same period of time in which I’ve been sick*), I have felt an almost constant pressure to get back to writing. The messages have come from many quarters, and they’ve been relentless. Whether it’s been from my spiritual reading or podcast listening or prayer life or social-media observing (or now Jennifer Fulwiler’s new book), I feel like I’ve been barraged by the following messages:
- You have a job to do.
- It’s going to require hard work.
- Stop getting in your own way.
- You don’t have to be perfect to do good.
So I think I’d better stop fighting it.
Maybe this post was starting to read as a good bye, but it’s actually far from that. It is, I pray, a hearty hello. I expect things to look different around here, content-wise, but I’m excited to be back.
I think I’d better get out of my own way and get busy doing the work I feel like I’m supposed to do. Even if I don’t feel well. Even if I have little time. Even if I have lots of little people underfoot.
Tomorrow I’m going to flesh out my plans for the blog; check back here to see where I hope to take it.
*Those of you who follow Jennifer Fulwiler on Instagram – did you see her IG Stories on Resistance yesterday? I couldn’t help but recognize it in my own life. Did you recognize it in yours?
Also (I’m experimenting with this), if you’d rather listen to this post than read it, click here. (But realize that you’ll be getting a low-quality recording with baby noises in the background!)