I took one of those personality test years ago. I don’t remember a lot about my results but what I do remember is that I scored perfectly down the middle on the introvert/extrovert scale.
Basically, the Dawn interpretation of that fact is “I can be an extrovert but it scares me to death.” Somehow, putting myself “out there” with people is just hard. I don’t know if it’s something I perceived in my role as the youngest child or if some book or movie or TV show along the way taught me that I should be seen and not heard, but I have a pretty-well-developed sense of feeling the need for permission to speak.
Sometimes that thinking bleeds over into my writing mind.
I mentioned in Sunday’s post that I went to the Allatoona Book Festival on Saturday. There, I met a beautiful spirit in the form of poet Erica Gerald Mason. In talking about writing over our lunch of seared scallops and spinach, I mentioned to Erica this tendency.
Her answer? “I’m giving you permission right now.”
Last night I found another piece of permission in the lines of an essay I wrote in college.
And today, as I fled Egypt with the Children of Israel through the words of Exodus 14, I gasped at the words of verse 15. They are standing there, tired and dirty I imagine, maybe hungry, with the Red Sea before them. And then on the horizon they begin to see something, maybe a cloud of dust like in the westerns Daddy loved. And then it grows and grows and grows, coming ever closer, until they find themselves trapped between the sea and the Egyptian army.
And in verse 15, in my modern Message translation, “God said to Moses, ‘Why cry out to me?’ Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving.”
I figured that must be some newfangled interpretation, but the NIV column running beside it says the same thing. “Move on.” “Get moving.”
Or, as I heard it this morning, “Stop praying for courage to do and (with apologies to Nike) just do it.”
Last night I began working on a project that feels like a new calling but, because of that long-forgotten essay, I realized is something that’s been brewing for nearly 30 years.
That’s almost how long it took the Israelites to wander in the wilderness. I don’t think I could have written this thing — whatever it will be — 20-something years ago, but I fully believe now is the time.
I’ve got to get moving.