Why do I write? Or more specifically, why should I continue writing? It’s a question that I’ve dwelt on for the past few weeks, especially since the semester began. To be honest, there have been many moments where I have been tempted to give it up. After a temporary burst in page views and visitors, my website has leveled out to more modest numbers, and I don’t have the added incentive of number spikes to keep me dedicated to my writing. As numbers have decreased, I have found myself wondering whether it’s worth it.
To be honest, it’s not just my website statistics that have made me question my future as a blogger- it’s been my rigorous class and work schedule as well. Over the past few weeks, I have become very adept at a newly discovered game: how little sleep can I get without damaging my overall productivity? Can I manage with seven and a half hours? What about seven? Six and a half? How many seven hour nights can I endure before I absolutely need a full night’s rest (AKA eight hours of real sleep)? It’s been a game that I’ve played a lot lately, but trust me: it’s no fun. You never win. There is always more work to be done, and more sleep to be sacrificed. It is a game that I will always lose, and yet I find myself having to play anyway.
I’ll be honest- life has not been easy since I moved down to DC. I’ve struggled to balance reading, work, and time with friends. I have been faced with the ultimate question on many occasions: is this something that I am willing to sacrifice? Will I sacrifice more sleep? Give up leisure reading before bed or walking in the morning? How many times can I postpone meeting up with friends because of schoolwork that has yet to be done? When you have so much on your plate and you’re desperately attempting to juggle it all, you’re going to lose your balance and something will inevitably crash to the floor.
Even when we have no choice but to continue juggling, we do have some say about what will fall. I’ve learned over the past few weeks that if something means enough to you, you’ll do what you need to fight for it. You begin to really get your priorities in line. Do I want to spend my free time with friends? Well, since I don’t have enough free time, this sometimes means that I can’t use my free time to read or exercise. Sacrifices must be made, and the different aspects of my life must be well-ordered. If my priorities aren’t properly ordered, I will inevitably lose balance and everything, and I mean everything, will come crashing down. Faced with the fact that I had to choose what was most important in my life, I knew that I would need to do some serious soul-searching. I would need to consider every aspect of my life and decide just how important it was to me. I knew that I needed to determine the must-haves, the preferable aspects, and the insignificant. It wasn’t an easy task, but I knew that it was a necessary one.
After analyzing the different activities that take up my waking hours (as well as analyzing the amount of time that I spend asleep on a weekly basis), there were a few things that I realized. Sometimes the important things are the tasks that you wish you could abandon because they are more difficult or don’t offer as much immediate consolation, but you have to stick to them anyway. I prefer reading to praying, but in the long run, I know that my time will be better spent in prayer than reading fiction in my free time. That’s not to say that I can’t make reading a type of prayer, but it also means that I can’t completely abandon my prayer life just because I have a lot on my plate and I want some time for Game of Thrones. If there’s one thing that I absolutely know, it’s that if you have God as your number one priority, everything else will fall into place. It might not always seem like it should work, but it always does.
Even when I have a lot to do and I’m stressed, I still make every effort to go to Mass. It’s the one prayer form that really calms me down and gives me energy for the tasks ahead. Even though it’s a bit of a time commitment, I have always found that I am more productive when I’ve received the Eucharist. I can do more in six hours with the Eucharist than I can do in seven hours without it. I am positive that Christ not only blesses the thirty minutes or so that I’m at Daily Mass, but He also blesses all of my other activities as well.
But even with this spiritual fuel, I have found myself running dry on more than one occasion. I have never slept so deeply (or so little) as I have over the course of the past few weeks. Sheer exhaustion has made it so that I am asleep before my head even hits the pillow, and only my alarm clock can wake me up in the morning. I am tired, but I can still function with my daily dose of caffeine. I am overwhelmed, but I can still find a balance between all of my responsibilities. For the time being, everything is in a state of delicate balance, but I fear that one wrong move with change everything.
That balance has already required some sacrifice. The hours of work are long, and those of sleep are short. The time spent reading is ample, and time spent exercising is minimal. But that just means I have to be creative. On days when I can’t find time to go to Mass, I make sure that I pray while I’m in the car. When I can’t get outside to exercise, I make sure that I park my car at the back of the lot so that I can walk more. And when I can’t find time to journal, I can still dedicate a few minutes to a new blog post.
Despite all the sacrifices that I have already made, there are a few activities that I know I will never give up. I will never give up prayer and journaling. I will never give up reading. And I will never give up blogging. It might seem like a silly thing- I might be too stubborn to abandon this pastime of mine for more important things. But it is not stubbornness that brings me back to this website every week. It’s you. You bring me back. You give me reason to continue with my work. You are why I write.
My blog is not overly popular. My stats are modest, but there is not a single day that goes by without someone stumbling onto my website. Over time, I have even become familiar with the names of some of my followers. You have been faithful to me, and I will remain faithful to you. Though I cannot fathom why this might be the case, there are people out there who really enjoy my posts. There are people who check in every week to find out what I’ve written. Sometimes they are simply another visitor on my stats page, other times they are a ‘like,’ and once in a while, they are a short note of affirmation. Whether you are the kind of viewer that just skims and moves on, or if you regularly ‘like’ what I post, I want to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you.’ Thank you for your support and faith in my ability. Thank you for always coming back, and for serving as motivation to keep at it. Thank you for believing in me. I know that some of you read my blogs because you know me and love me, while others find something of value in what I write (and a few of you do both), but no matter what has brought you to my website, thank you. While this blog post might seem a little out of the ordinary, my gratitude must be communicated, and I can think of no better way than this. So thank you.
So why do I write? I write because I love it. I write because I have something to say. I write because I find comfort in the written word, especially when I often can’t find the words to express my thoughts vocally. I write because this is the one place where I can really express myself. I write because I want to make a difference. I write because I want to change lives. I write because I want to give glory to God. I write because this is what the Lord has called me to do with my life for the time being. And I write for you, faithful readers, because it is a beautiful thing to be heard.
Never be afraid to speak. Never be afraid to write. As someone who struggles to express my thoughts, the written word is freedom. It is joy. It is light. It is love. Never think that no one wants to listen. Even if no one else does, I will. And I’m sure I won’t be alone. You’re not alone either. We are all in this together, and more than anything, this blog reminds me that we are united through Christ. I was inspired to write, and you were inspired to read. Together we can change the world.
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!