Anna Nalick, “Breathe”
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
‘Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you’ll use them, however you want to
Last April I left On The Rocks blog, I thought for good. The reasons why are complex, but eight months and eight days later they are unimportant. What is important is that during the 254 intervening days I had a chance to reflect on the nature of family, friendship, communication, and writing. This is my attempt to encapsulate my observations.
The lyrics of Breathe capture the essence of writing. Writing is about the vulnerability of bearing your soul to an audience without knowing what that audience will do with the information. For me, an INFJ personality, this reality is particularly daunting because sharing ideas is typically something I only do with close confidants, not the world at large.
Since co-founding On The Rocks in 2015 I have been called a homophobe, a racist, and a coward; I have been unfriended on Facebook while others have refused my friend requests; I’ve been uninvited to a dinner event and have been told that I don’t have the right to blog or the authority to talk about the Bible…and that is just the criticisms levied by immediate and extended family.
Engaging in the marketplace of ideas invites a torrent of criticism and can take a mental and emotional toll. For me, personally, it came on the heels of an emotionally draining divorce which I did not want, a move to a new state, and three new jobs.
The time off was good, however, and it forced me to take a hard look at my desire to write. Why do I want to write, especially when my writings have been received with so much negativity and indifference? Why not stay silent and dissolve into the stream of Facebook users that stick to pictures of their kids? Why not just use my talents within the context of the local church? Why not leave the big thinking and heavy lifting to pastors and seminary-trained theologians? In short: why try?
My conclusion is this: to write is to explore, and I am insatiably curious.
Therefore, to you pastors: I do not seek followers of my own, but I do feel compelled to exercise my spiritual gifts and proclaim truth where I may. To you theologians: I do not pretend to be a master of Greek or Hebrew text, but I do have the Holy Spirit and a healthy thirst for biblical understanding. To you naysayers: I will not be silenced by your labels, but by truth alone. To you who are indifferent: I challenge you to think deeply and clearly. If we are to disagree, let us at least be clear as to where and on what we disagree. To those who have supported me: thank you, your support means the world to me.
And with that…I’m back.