I had a disturbing dream last night.
I was attending a conference with a group of friends. Shortly after our arrival at the conference venue, I turned to find that my friends were gone and I was alone in a large crowd of people. I couldn’t see anyone familiar. Not to be deterred by the abandonment, I made my way to a row near the front of the auditorium and sat down beside a woman who appeared to be user friendly. She nodded a greeting in my direction, but then went back to her conversation with the woman on her other side. Within moments, my row of chairs filled up and it seemed that everyone around me knew everyone else. Except me. I made the comment that perhaps I should move to the end of the row so that they could sit in closer proximity to their friends. All of them happily agreed.
I was devastated.
I stood up and brushed past the entire row of people as they all moved themselves over. It didn’t matter that the chair on the end was more comfortable than the rest. It didn’t matter that the lady beside me offered an awkward, apologetic smile. I just wanted to go home.
Thankfully, this particular scenario was just a dream. It has never played out exactly like this for me in real life, but I’m sure it has for others. And I’ve experienced enough similar situations to know how it feels. All us of have.
There are people out there who are alone in the crowd. They are yearning for someone to approach them and be a friend. They need you.
Reach out. And then you won’t be that lonely one.
Jesus said this in Matthew 24:45. “I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.”
For the past six or seven months, my middle daughter and I have spent nearly every Wednesday morning at the same local restaurant. We have our breakfast, then open our laptops to settle in for a couple of hours of work. Jordan does homework (she’s a graphic design student at the Art Institute of Vancouver) and I write. These breakfast sessions have yielded a huge amount of creative harvest for both of us. We have worked through concept statements, plot issues, design ideas, and character development. Sometimes we talk a lot and sometimes we say nothing at all. Today is one of those quiet days.
I think the most important thing about these weekly outings is that I have someone to discuss my writing with. Jordan is a ruthless verbal editor. She will tell me straight up if my idea is dumb (and some of them are) or if it’s completely brilliant (I have some of those too). This is usually the place where my ideas bloom or die.
You need a writer friend. You need to have someone you trust to tell you the truth about your writing. Even if it hurts. I don’t recommend that person be a family member because they will find it difficult to be brutally honest. Jordan is an exception. She’s pretty black and white about everything to everyone, and I know she doesn’t withhold appropriate feedback just because I am her mother. I have other writer friends who critique my work, just as I do theirs. But most of all, you just need a writer friend to support you, encourage you, and kick you in the pants when you feel like quitting. Which is nearly every day.
Find a Wednesday morning breakfast buddy and come on down to see Lisa. She’ll give you the very best service as you get some serious writing done.
Lisa – the best waitress ever!