As I envisioned this blog, one of the first things I knew I wanted to do was have my first “real post” be one of thanks. There are so many people who have led me to the place where I can write, I want to write, and I want others to read what I’ve written.
I want to say thank you first to Frederick Buechner. He is a writer, a pastor, a professor. I know him only as a writer, unfortunately. I have not had the opportunity to hear him lecture or to preach. I have read some of his sermons. Years ago, when I was on the verge of depression and reading material that was not helping, Buechner’s book On the Road with the Archangel was cool water for my parched soul and helped to introduce light back into my life. Recently, it is his non-fiction writing that I have been devouring. He writes about life and his thoughts about God in such an approachable unassuming way. He brings new ways of thinking without the jarring, discombobulation that often occurs in such situations. He has taught me a lot about God as well as demonstrating a masterful writing style that I wish to emulate. Buechner’s book Wishful Thinking is the inspiration for this blog: not just the name, but the idea that I could write about things without having all the answers and that someone else might be fed or refreshed by my thoughts, as I have been by his. Thank you.
I have a partner in life. My husband, Barry, has been walking with me for more than 27 years. He has helped to shape not only who I am, but who I think I am. He has encouraged me wholeheartedly in any pursuit I have put my hands to from knitting to baking to running to writing. His unwavering support and encouragement have given me the freedom to explore what I love. Thank you for the innumerable ways you have encouraged me to grow, for the unfathomable effect you have had on my life.
My latest journey to discovery of myself as a writer started when I joined a spiritual formation community. At least that’s what I call it. It’s not church. It is a community of like-minded followers of The Way who desire to know God, themselves and the world better. Joining Tapestry has impacted my life in unfathomable ways. The founder of Tapestry, Gloria Daum, was the person who encouraged me to go to university when I was 46 years old. She also encouraged me to start journaling. After seven or eight years as a part of this community, I have several notebooks full of my own writing thanks to a daily practice of reading and then writing about what I’m reading. This regular practice has been a significant part of my growth as a writer, and even coming to recognize myself as a writer. Thank you to Gloria for all the myriad ways she has influenced me as a person and writer, and thank you to Tapestry for the freedom to grow as a person and the opportunity to practice my writing on you all!
So, I went to university at a time when people my age are normally making retirement plans. It is so different attending classes of higher education as an older adult! All of my professors contributed to my exploration of a new way of thinking of myself, but one in particular stands out. After taking two of his classes, I thought, “When I write a book, my Acknowledgements page will name Jed Lacoste. A sessional lecturer at Luther College (at the University of Regina), Jed challenged me to live up to the potential he saw in me. I loved his classes and worked very hard to produce writing of which he would be proud. Thank you.
Richard Rohr has had a significant influence on my theology and writing. Rohr is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico. He writes and distributes a daily meditation which I receive by email. He is grounded in Franciscan theology, of which I was unaware until recently. As I have, along with the Spirit, been working on dismantling erroneous theology, his thoughts have provided much of the foundation for a much more sound structure of belief. His writing is also what I wish to emulate: challenging but readable, thoughtful and clear, courageous and encouraging. Thank you.
Mark Buchanan is an author and teacher. I had the great privilege of attending a writers’ retreat led by Mark. I wasn’t even the official attendee (I tagged along with Barry), but I got so much out of the week! The most significant thing I took away was that I am a writer, and I am allowed to write. Mark’s interaction with my writing has given me confidence that I have a voice and something to say. Mark’s encouragement and guidance for each of us present that week has left a deep impression on me. Thank you.
Photo: My First Kayak Adventure with My Friend Lisa on Patricia Bay – Heather Holtslander