Just write

“You are a reluctant prophet,” the retreat director said during our first meeting.

“I have heard that before,” I replied.

Months earlier, after reading his book Simply Soul Stirring—Writing as a Meditative Practice, I had written to Father Dorff and asked if he would help me with my writing. I had explained that God was inviting me to write, and that I was resistant. But now, I wanted to move against my resistance.

He agreed to a seven-day writing retreat. I flew to New Mexico, prepared to spend a week in a hermitage, writing.God-resistance-vulnerabilityAfter talking with me for a short time in that first session, Father Dorff said, “No more books on writing or workshops or retreats. Just write.”

That was seven years ago.

Many of my retreats before that one dealt with my writing—or not writing. I had consistently heard the invitation to write, but I had resisted.

In my early twenties, people started suggesting I should write a book.

I think it was because I worked for the FBI, and I seemed an unlikely FBI employee. I was willful, obstinate and outspoken—not exactly bureaucrat material. Plus, I had strong beliefs about social justice.

After the FBI, people suggested I write about my work with people who were socially marginalized, and then l’Arche.

But I did not ever see any of that as book worthy.

It wasn’t until my late fifties that I actually submitted an essay that was published (or rather podcast). And then I submitted another to the local newspaper for the opinion page. My two published pieces.

And I started this blog.

I don’t know what it is about writing a book, but I know I am resistant.

Moving against my resistance has been a major part of my spiritual life for as long as I have had a spiritual life. God continually invites me to move past rigid rules and self-esteem issues.

I just don’t see myself as an author, even if God and other people may.

So what, I wonder, would I have to say that could fill a book?God-resistance-vulnerability

Still, I want to move against my resistance, especially my resistance to sharing my story.

Last year, I heard about an author who conducts memoir-writing workshops, and I thought maybe I could attend one of her workshops. While checking out her calendar for the upcoming year, Father Dorff’s words come back to me. “No more…workshops. Just write.” Ugh!God-resistance-vulnerabilityMy week in New Mexico helped me to be more comfortable writing and sharing my story. Father Dorff received my story without judgment. He accepted my vulnerability and encouraged me to continue to be open to where God was leading me.

Father Dorff suggested that I allow God to direct not only what I write but also who reads it. He encouraged me to let go of controlling the process and let God be the director.

So, for now, I continue to blog and try to be more open to next steps.



5 thoughts on “Just write

  1. jamesrneal

    I enjoy your writing and I look forward to wherever you (and God) take it. I resisted the urging to write outside of my day job (newspaper) for a long time because I set my own limits on what defined success for my work. If it wouldn’t be read by thousands, it wasn’t worth writing. I’d start writing, see that I was reaching a handful of people, slip into depression and stop writing. I was defining success by my own vain measures. It took me years to learn to surrender, to just pray and write, and trust that God would do with it what was meant to be. If it’s meant to, it’ll reach someone who needs it. And that’s enough for me now. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to publish and be successful — but I’m trying to let God define that success. Thanks for your work!

  2. Madeline Bialecki Post author

    Thank you, James. I resisted writing/publishing because I could not imagine I had anything to say that would be of help to anyone. I felt like my spiritual experiences were for my benefit only and did not see any universality to them. I suppose I still feel that way to a degree, but I am practicing letting go of my self-imposed parameters. “Think big thoughts,” my friend Jim kept telling me during his last months. I am trying.

  3. annemarielom

    This reminds me of one of our elder Sisters telling me not to wait until I’m good at something to do it; just do it. So very true. I believed her voice and gained confidence!


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