Sometimes some honesty is in order.

Last week I said to my hubby… I think I’m going to quit.  I’m tired of writing and need a break.  Who reads this stuff anyway?  Definitely in a funk mood, I contemplated dropping the blog.

Until… the very next day I happened to meet someone in the hospital corridor…and she said, “by the way, I read your blog yesterday…” and with her encouraging words, and some heart-felt ponderings… I’m writing again this week.

I pondered even sharing this… and then I thought, we all need encouragement!  I am very grateful for those who take the time to encourage me, and I want to be an encourager to others!

And then there is the discipline… and if you are a writer, or artist, or a do-er, you know that anything worth doing takes discipline… the doing and practicing, and sometimes the result is wonderful and other times, you wonder!

I have a wonderful bookmark from a friend, now in heaven, that says, “Don’t Quit”!  I thought about that again today… and really, quitting is not an option.  No sometimes our lives take a new direction or path, but every day we choose to live, to say yes to whatever God has called us to do.  And I truly believe God has called and gifted each one of us.

So in the midst of all this pondering, I was writing in the night.  This is quite hopeless, often, because trying to recall what you wrote in your mind in the wee hours of the night, mixed in with dreams, just doesn’t quite translate to paper, (or computer)  even though it seemed rather full-proof at 3 in the morning!

I was thinking (and dreaming) about labels… how we are good at that… labeling each other, and defining what we do; who we are.  I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a sister… all labels.  Lovely ones…

There are some labels that are not so pretty… derogatory ones that are difficult to shake… I think of dear folk I know who are homeless, poor, marginalized.  And then there are others with illness… the diabetic, the cancer patient, the schizophrenic.

I was totally impressed some weeks ago when we were having lunch with a new group of friends, and the man seated with us told us that he was schizophrenic.  What struck me was there was no shame; it was just a fact, his reality.  And he was an over-comer, and we were blown away with his story, his courage, and his ability to live life, a life not always easy, but one filled with hope and hard work and determination.

Sometimes we are afraid of labels, and I’ve heard the warnings… don’t label a person!  There can be stigma, disgrace, and loss of social status.  And yet, on the other side of the coin, I’ve seen the enormous benefits of someone properly being diagnosed… say with a mental illness, and it creates new awareness and a host of supports and resources that were not there before.

What I believe is critical is that we are not defined by whatever label comes to us. Oh, it is true, I am a woman… a lovely label… but that does not define all of whom I am or limit me.  The much larger picture, I believe, is that I am a person, a creation of God; a God who loves me… and believes in me!

And whatever labels we might put on ourselves, or feel others put on us are only part of the story.  I am not defined by my work (which I love), or my age (which is just a number!), or my disabilities (which stretch me and teach me).   No, I am Grace, loved by God, loved by many, and my life can be rich and full, even as it can be challenging at times.  This is true for all of us!

So no matter what label you feel you wear today, remember you are loved!  And when it comes to living well, no matter what you are called to do, quitting is not an option!  And I’m preaching to myself of course!

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