The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.

5.02.2006

Magpies and Tongues of Fire

I have been struggling with the idea of quitting my day job to focus all of my professional energy on freelance writing and editing. I even quit once last winter only to have my home equity line of credit fall through and force me to unquit a few days later.

Every time I make plans to quit, something goes wrong. Most recently, it was our tax return, which ended up being half what we thought it would be. It's clear now that there will never be a good time to quit, only better times. Now is as good a time as any. And James thinks that I should just go for it.

But I'm scared.

And then I have a flash of inspiration and decide to take the plunge.

And then I get scared.

You can see the pattern here.

I think about this incessantly. I pray about this a lot. I talk about this ad nauseum.

I'm tired of the whole thing.

I look for signs to tell me what to do, and then I ignore them. Or rather, I embrace them, then I think about the money situation, and then I ignore them.

A few days ago I was reading a letter from Linford of Over the Rhine, and one line just got me where I live. It said:

"A good life: Believe in what you do, and do it."

Two parts here. First, believe. Second, do.

I went downstairs and announced that I was ready to quit. (That's when I went over the financials one last time and chickened out.)

My day job is not a bad job. But it does not feed me. In fact, it wears me down. It makes me feel like less of myself. Thus, I hate it. Even though it's not a bad job.

I was reading the Superhero Journal today and she wrote, "Sometimes I feel like I've lost my mojo." Amen sister.

She went on to explain a game she plays with the dictionary: "I discovered that I could meditate for a few minutes on an issue or question, open up the dictionary at random, point to a word, and find my answer." She calls this game Magpie, which is the word that came up when she asked where the answers were coming from. (In the comments section she explains that in Native American folklore, the magpie is the messenger between the two worlds. Interesting.)

I'm all about looking for answers and signs. But I also think that they should come from God. But I'm game for a game involving words and random questions. So I got a dictionary, silently asked "When should I quit my job?" and opened up the pages. The answer?

Pentecost.

Pentecost is the seventh Sunday after Easter Sunday. This year, Pentecost falls on June 4. Which means, if I gave my month's notice by next Monday, I could be done by Pentecost.

Hm. Pentecost. A sign? From God?

Pentecost marks the day when the Holy Spirit descended on Christ's followers, after his ascension.

Acts 2:1-4 says, "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

This image of rushing wind and tongues of fire. And the ability to speak in new tongues. It's so powerful. Those people must have felt that their souls had been scrubbed clean and empowered. They must have felt so alive.
I long for a Pentecost of my own. I feel so flat inside. Could this be God's way of telling me to take a leap of faith and to trust him?

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add to kirtsy | 9:05 PM

2 Comments:

Anonymous Allyson said...

Do it. If the worst happens, and it doesn't work out, you can always get another job. I think you would regret not trying far more than you would regret trying and failing.

5/03/2006 8:48 AM  
Anonymous eevvaadd said...

go for it! and also a side note, magpie is also a pizza place in tucson that sells really good bbq chicken pizza! yum!

5/03/2006 11:25 AM  

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