Because T-Rita asked, and because I'm supposed to be writing right now, I'll post my essay for the Red Feather home essay contest here. It's not much of a sob story--I'm not a widow or a leper or a raiser of puppies for the blind, so I had to just tell the truth about why I want their home.
Please feel free to give me your constructive compliments...
(From The Office:
Michael: Attention, please. We're going to have our weekly suggestion box meeting. So, you can all get in your constructive compliments ASAP.
Ryan: Don't you mean constructive criticism?
Michael: What did I say?
Kelly: You said constructive compliments. That doesn't make any sense.
Michael: Well Kelly, that was neither constructive nor a compliment, so maybe you should stop criticizing my English and start making some suggestions.)
As my parents drove the bumpy, winding roads on Friday nights, I would push my nose against the window, gazing at the mountain cottages with their yellow windows blinking at me in the night. I’d think (between worried glances to make sure the Big Bad Wolf wasn’t behind that pine tree there), When I grow up, I want two things: to be a writer and to live in one of those mountain homes.
Part of the Denverite exodus each weekend (forgive us for we know not what we do), we were one of the families of four driving through your woods and trying for just one day to catch that peace and beauty and wildness of the mountains we didn’t find on our wide suburban sidewalks.
And so, my heart has always been on pilgrimage, desiring to know and embrace my beloved Colorado…always wanting to peek under that log and behind that tree and over that hill. Over the backs of the Never Summers, under the mossy rocks of Grand Lake, and around the curve of the Red Feather hills.
By God’s grace I became a writer…by night. By day I walk the wide suburban sidewalks from my white apartment to my grey cubicle. (It’s not as bad as it sounds. I work for a non-profit organization that seeks to release children from poverty, honored each day to play a tiny part in its mission.) But by night I walk the paths of words. By night I walk in my thoughts to the green mountains where I, one day, will be able to live and write full time.
March was a big month for me. My second book came out, a book that, by God’s grace, will inspire others to find out about those who don’t have enough, to love those in poverty, and to act to help them. Currently, I’m writing a book that will lead small groups through learning more about the needs in this wide world and how to pray for them. Who would have believed my dream would come true? Certainly not me. What a chance, what a blessing, to use my skills and my voice to speak up for those who have no voice.
Still, the heart wanders. Still my nose is pressed against the window, waiting for that time when my night will become my day. When I’ll spend my full time using my voice, my writing, to do good. OK, it sounds cliché. But clichés were made for a reason. They resonate. They clutch at our most deeply felt desires.
One of these days, I’m going to drive away from faceless apartments and sterile suburbs. I’m going to drive to a community. A simple place with neighbors who wave as you pass on the dirt road. I’m going to open that car door. I’m going to stand before my mountain home with its yellow eyes blinking kindly at me, surrounded by peace and beauty and wildness. And I’m going to write.