The gift half understood

Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses: and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
This hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.

— T.S. Eliot “Dry Salvages” from Four Quartets

Hints and guesses… that’s all we’re working with when you sit down and think about it. Besides a mermaid, I can’t think of anything I wanted to be when I grew up other than a writer. Was it a love for creating my own world and sharing that with others? Was it the positive reinforcement from my teachers and parents? If I’m anything like my six-year-old self, and I sure hope so, it was a cycle. Hearing great things about what I had created made me want to create more.

23 years later I’m still exploring and moving forward with the help of the hints and guesses that I started with when I was a child. My brain hinting that I needed more challenge, I guessed at enrolling in grad school. I wrote and wrote and still wanted more. Different though, because my heart beats faster using my own lived research, not necessarily what I find in journals.

That was my hint to start this project. The challenge of writing everyday is daunting, but not as daunting as sharing my work with you. Not writing though, that makes my heart stop. So it’s sharing my work overstopping my heart. That makes sense.

My mentor in grad school showed me what it’s like to be vulnerable and to learn from that. She helped me throughout the program, supported me at my first conference presentation, and nudged me, sometimes pretty seriously, to write because I had something to say. I don’t know if she saw hints of what I could do, but she pushed me into action.

I’m fairly confident in saying that we don’t really know what we’re doing all of the time, every single day. There are parts, sure, that we get through with no problem. But it’s the challenges, the goals, where we lean on those hints and the guesses to get us through. T.S. is right, though; that it’s not only guesses- it’s discipline and action that get us there.

What is it that without it, your heart would stop? What will you take action on today?