“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.After 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?
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!My 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.