- Sonya Leigh Anderson
Work & Play
We were partway through building our house when I made this observation. Thinking about one day living in our new home, I realized how often I’d imagined myself working in my future library, enjoying the view from my east-facing window. But—and this is the laughable admission—I had not once pictured myself at work in my east-facing kitchen, directly below. Duly noted.
But alas, practicality precedes frivolity, and of course the kitchen boxes were the first to be unpacked, nearly four months back. My library boxes were only just unloaded last week, onto handcrafted bookshelves, which my husband rushed to complete as a Valentine present. And I am thoroughly enamored with his labor of love.
Kyle has had an interest in woodcraft as long as I’ve know him. But recently he has also developed an enthusiasm for cooking. Lucky for me. Honestly, he’s always been the most suited, but only lately has had the margin (along with a collection of newly purchased culinary tools) to really perfect his art—which tends toward variations on meat and pizza. (I prep the salad and clean up the mess.)
I am thoroughly appreciating my current “vocational” season. There are days when the joy of what I’m getting to do has the effect of making me believe myself a child again. I am strangely transported to former days when my work was simply to play and to learn. I once heard it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an “expert” in something. I thought about my own history of unfinished degrees and part-time professions, and then I came to this wonderful conclusion. I am an expert in reading books! (After all, if God has gifted so many wonderful writers, surely he must also gift some of us to read!)
Of course, my current work is not only reading books, but writing them. Most weekdays, I spend several hours at my computer, attempting to put words on a page. I am aware of what most creatives would describe as “flow” and “block.” Some days the juices are flowing, and some days they are not. I’m sure this practical explanation applies to me as well. (Along with the fact of my being a novice—inexperienced, unpublished, and in terms of overall productivity, terribly slow. But bit by bit, logging my way toward those 10,000 hours.)
I will say this, too. When I am in the flow, so to speak, it almost always appears to be the Spirit’s doing. Some days He seems especially generous, filling my imagination with the most beautiful thoughts. And other days, nothing. In fact, when I reread those Spirit-inspired loveliest pages, it seems I shouldn’t even take the credit, and I am more than happy to give Him his due.
Several years ago I had a dream-vision. I have described it before, and lately I have reason to believe it might be truly prophetic. In my dream, God asked me a question, “What do you want to do?” And I answered, without hesitation. “I want to go to seminary, write books, and enjoy my grandchildren.” Three times God asked the question, and three times I gave my triplicate response. I remember this clearly, and I wrote it down.
Seminary and writing I might have expected. Both were possibilities I had entertained. But grandchildren? My oldest son, at the time, was a college freshmen, and he wasn’t dating. Grandchildren were not in my thoughts, and nowhere on my immediate horizon. I remember thinking, this dream must be God’s preparation. He is showing me something of the future, and when the time comes, all of this will be my vocation. Learning, writing, and enjoying the children.
Just as I believe the Holy Spirit infuses his thoughts into my most inspired writing, I am also convinced God has given me a dream-vision of a season when I will need, not only to prioritize, but to thoroughly enjoy the people I love. I can get lost in my head. I do not consider myself an intellectual—I am far from brilliant—but rather, a dreamer. I can become entirely too consumed with my private thoughts, and my quiet spaces. Left to my own devices, I might hoard my “library days.”
But the dream was not just admonition, it was also a breathtaking invitation. I delight in being present to people. There is almost nothing I cherish more than the heart-to-heart, breath-to-breath moments of being intimately connected to God’s human creations. The littlest ones, and the grown ones, too. But it’s like I said recently to a friend over coffee, “I can be 100% Mary, and I can be 100% Martha, but I can’t be both at the same time.”
I just might need my husband to do the cooking.