Firestarters and Jello

005 smallA Big Life: Encouragement for People in the Arts –

Why is “a year” such a marker? We measure birthdays by it, school years, years on the job, years in a relationship and the number of years ago a loved one died.

I’d been in Portland a year, and met a lot of lovely people. The career was going well. I’d acted in a couple of commercials and gotten some directing offers.  I’d finished writing my play.  And yet I woke up one overcast day hit by hormones and knocked backward by the autumn gloom.  In the Pacific Northwest at the beginning of winter, the gloomy grey sky descends to the tops of the treetops and hangs there for months.  And I’m claustrophobic.  All that day an atmosphere of depression surrounded me.

I felt like I was walking through jello.

The great theologian C. S. Lewis says that when we first fall in love, start a new job, or move to a beautiful place we are excited.  But the “newness” always wears off. The tendency is to want to run away, find a new love, a new job, and to move again.  But if we stay put, the newness may wear off but the love will deepen, we’ll grow in our work, and we’ll dig into the beautiful place and start planting a garden.

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December sunrise, West Linn, Oregon

It’s easy to be a firestarter.  It’s fun to strike the match but it’s not as much fun to keep heaping on the wood.  It’s easy to lose momentum.

Push through the jello.  I know it isn’t fun, but it will dissolve.

And keep the fire going.

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