Tag Archives: writer

The best is yet to come

My life has been turned a bit upside down recently by my mother’s death and my leaving the job I have had for the past seven years. Two big losses at the same time and lots of empty space in front of me.

No more dinners with my mother or shopping for her or calling or stopping by to check in.

And no more work emails or office to go to or meetings to attend.

I have to admit that it is a bit scary to stand in front of this vast empty canvas without the commitments that have structured my life for the past years. And yet…


I have decided to view the coming year as a sabbatical, a time to pause after thirty-five years of working in nonprofit management, to reflect on and say goodbye to what has been, and to prepare for what is to come.

Almost as soon as I made that decision, two retreat opportunities presented themselves—one is focused on discernment for people in transition and the other is for writers. I had not been looking for either one, but both seem opportune, and I signed up for them. One is virtual, and the other is in Texas—my first flight since the pandemic lockdown in March 2020.

As a child, I had no idea what I might be when I grew up—no passionate hopes or dreams to be this or that. As an adult, I tended to fall into jobs more than selecting them with a goal in mind.

So here I am in the third third of my life, still deciding what I want to be when I grow up. Only now, I have lots of experience and a pretty good idea of my gifts and talents.

And that knowledge and awareness energizes me—standing on the precipice of the next chapter in my life is thrilling.

My friend Jim used to say, “The best is yet to come.” I am in total agreement, and I am looking forward to what the next chapter of my life holds.


“I am a Writer”

At a recent networking event, someone asked me, “What do you do?” and I heard myself say, “I am a writer.” I was surprised to hear myself say those words.

That conversation got me thinking of the titles I have used to describe myself or titles others have ascribed to me. I have been “the boss” for many years, my primary work role.

In the Enneagram, a personality typography system of numbers one through nine, I am an “eight,” also known as “the boss.” It fits. It is a role I fall into naturally. You can verify that with anyone who has worked with or for me. That title captures both what I do and who I am.

But writing has been more an internal process for me rather than a title I claimed. Although I have been writing most of my life, it has mainly been in my head or my journal. Oh sure, I have written for work—letters, grant applications, newsletter pieces and even blogs—all relating to my work. But, my reflective, more personal writing was more private—until I became a ghost writer about ten years ago.

A friend was appointed pastor and had to write a weekly reflection for the parish bulletin. He asked if I wanted to be the “voice of the pastor.” I jumped at the chance. I got to write weekly reflections on the Sunday readings and parish events—and share them. People were reading my thoughts and reflections. I got lots of feedback, just no credit. And I was ok with that.

Ghost writing was a great way for me to become more comfortable with publicizing my personal reflections. After eight years of ghost writing, I was ready to claim my work and write under my own name.

Last November, I participated in the National Novel Writing Month challenge (write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days). At a kick-off event in October, someone asked if anyone at our table had ever published. It took a minute for me to remember that I had published two pieces, one on an NPR radio show and one in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “You can put ‘published author’ on your business card,” one woman suggested. New thought, new titles—I am an author; I am a writer.



“During the time young Samuel was minister to the Lord under Eli, a revelation of the Lord was uncommon and vision infrequent.”                                                                        1 Samuel 3:1

So much depends on expectations.

I recently watched a documentary called Searching for Sugar Man” the story of a Detroit musician named Rodriguez who is famous in South Africa (“bigger than Elvis”) but relatively unknown here. It was a wonderful story of two realities—the life he was living in Detroit working in home demolition and reconstruction, and the life of his art in South Africa which inspired thousands of people. He had no idea his music had made it to South Africa.

Eventually some people from South Africa found Rodriguez and brought him there—and he performed before sold-out audiences.

In the film, one of his daughters comments that Detroit “is a city that tells you not to dream big, not to expect anything more.” She says that in South Africa her father is being who he really is—a musician.

A friend of mine who wanted to be a doctor once said to me, “Imagine what we could have accomplished if we had been encouraged to live up to our potential.” She had a dream and could compare her real life to her dream. But I never even had a dream. No one expected me to accomplish anything. I did not know I had potential. Like Rodriguez, I simply “lived my reality.”

During Advent and Christmas, the line from scripture that stayed with me was “Nothing is impossible with God.” I have found myself saying this line repeatedly: Nothing is impossible with God. And if nothing is impossible, then anything and everything is possible.

The line referred to both Mary and Elizabeth, two women whose lives veered off from their expectations. I am especially relating to Elizabeth, who unexpectedly had a son “in her old age.”

When I look back, even a few years, I know that where I am now is not where I expected to be. My life has veered off from my expectations, radically. I have a new life in a new place, a new home, new job—all kinds of “new.”

For me, at this late age, I am birthing a new dream, a new expectation for my life. I am actually writing down the ideas that have been swirling around inside my head for the past fifty years—and publishing them for others to read. Writing is my dream, and I think “a writer” is who I really am.

God wants to give me everything and more. I only need to dream it, expect it, be open to it, receive it and live it.