Books and giving birth

My kids attend an English-speaking international school and so far the only similarities I’ve found between this school and our school in the US is that they both speak English. It’s been an education. For real. One of the more challenging aspects of the school, but also one of their strengths, is their focus on cultivating independence. They foster a sense of independence by requiring mamas to pack up their children for five days at a time and send them off into the mountains. Last week, I smiled big at my boy as he held up a handwritten sign saying “Love You” from the bus window. Then I climbed into the car and cried all the way home. Every time I put my kids on the giant coach bound for some village I can’t pronounce, it’s like ripping a band-aid off a tender wound.

Writing a book, or in my case, half a book and a book proposal, feels much the same. The book is my fourth baby. My writer friend Amanda agrees.  I stay up late worrying about this baby, the one I fed and nurtured from my very self, and in the wee hours I pray she’ll amount to something good. In July, I packed her up in a transparent file folders and sent her on a journey into the wilds of the publishing forest. I don’t know where she is or who holds her now. In her newness, she looks a little funny, and my stomach tightens when I think of the odd glances she might receive. No one has yet to call her downright ugly, but rejections make it feel as if ugly is all they see. Each time I send this baby out, I have the familiar feeling of band-aid ripping flesh–times one thousand. As much as I’d like to give up, to let the dream die in the womb, I can’t. She’s mine and I’m hers and someday I hope to hold her again-bound and beautiful.

While the idea of writing a book might not resonate with you, might there be something stirring? An idea? A solution? A dream waiting in the womb for its chance to pulse out into the light? Maybe you dream of making babies, or art, or a message, or a marriage, or a business plan, or a friend, or a ministry, or a difference? Whatever your dream, the pain of holding it in is far greater than the pain of birthing it. The strange and scrunched newborn look fades away when you give your dream the time and space it needs to grow into its skin.

What dreams are you birthing? Have you ever felt like giving up and realized your dream won’t let you?

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