The Day I Quit Writing and became a writer

The Day I Quit Writing and became a Writer

Luke Marshburn

Luke Marshburn

That day I walked into my office, glared at the hanging-cat posters and the gold nameplate labeled, “Luke Marshburn, Chronicler.”

My hand whacked the gold bar as I sat and pouted. It clattered to the floor.

My boss didn’t take long. I’ll never forget his thick-framed glasses without lenses, button-down shirt and pen in his pocket. His nametag said, “God.”

God checked his watch.

“What is it this time?”

I didn’t stand.

“It’s over.”

“What?”

“I’m done.”

“Is that so?”

I sounded childish, but I didn’t care. “I’m done sitting here. I want to do things, want to go places. There’s so much to see—so much you’ve shown me. And yet you’ve put me behind a desk!”

I straightened. “No more. You want me to serve you? Fine.” I tapped my skull. “But I want to do it like those people.”

God stared.

“Why can’t I be like them?”

God’s jaw shifted. He snapped his fingers, and the floor fell.

I floated. Sunbeams stole fluorescence. Wind replaced air conditioning. I touched down on a field spanning the horizon. Grasses swayed. Except, it wasn’t grass—Every blade was a hand.

I would have screamed, but fingers petted rather than tugged.

God walked up. He reached down, uprooted a hand. A girl rose with it.

I gasped. “Jaime.”

“You know who she is?” God liked rhetorical questions.

“Of course,” I said. “You showed me.”

“Then tell me, what did she do?”

“She climbed a mountain. Kept her city from getting razed. During the purge, she hid a child in a barrel.” I shook my head in wonder. “Saved so many lives.”

“That’s right.” God beamed, pumped Jamie’s hand. “Thank you for trusting.”

Jaime smiled. “Forever.”

God hugged her. She crumbled like wheat chaff. Her cloud enveloped me, smelling of nutmeg. She tickled my lungs.

God grabbed another hand, pulled up a bull-headed man.

“Kendrick.” I grinned. “He’s that hunter who spared an enemy Elf. Because of that encounter, he rescued her people from Satyrs, saved his whole village—”

“Correct.” God saluted Kendrick with fist to chest. “Thank you for trusting.”

Kendrick bowed, though one brow rose.

God smirked. “Something the matter?”

“I just…” Kendrick shrugged.

“I was expecting a woman.”

“Sorry to disappoint.” God chuckled, winked, gestured to me. “This is for him, not you.”

Kendrick smiled, nodded. A pat on the shoulder. He too became dust.

The cycle continued. A doctor. A soldier. Lawyers and mothers. Dragon tamers.

Martyrs. An eternity of harvest till the field lay fallow.

I coughed through the last cloud of memory.

God crossed his arms. “You want to be like them?”

I nodded.

“Then see how they served me, trusted my guidance. I brought joy,

healing, glory beyond understanding.” He glared, placed a hand on his hip. “Having this witness, should you not trust more than they?”

I blinked.

“Yet here you stand and question the calling. You could be like them.”

I cringed.

“You could trust.”

My head fell. Sweat rolled down my neck.

“But I…” My eyes squeezed shut. “I want to be a hand.”

God sighed. Snapped fingers. A ladder fell from the sun.

I climbed to my desk, where he stood waiting. I wouldn’t meet his eye.

“I won’t force you,” he said. I felt him lean in. “But we’ve got a deadline, and I don’t need another hand.”

He set down his pen. “I need a field.”

Footsteps. The door creaked.

I stood alone.

Teeth ripped cheek meat.

Shoulders seized. I breathed out slow.

I picked up the pen, wrote, “May I be content.”

Snarling at that note, I crumpled it, swallowed. It scraped going down. Peristalsis pushed, stomach ground. Villi fondled like field-hands, dissolved it, absorbed ink.

Ink thickened my blood like fertilizer to water, fusion and fission, made my heart beat.

I straightened my spine. Picked up my nameplate. Put pen to paper: “Kendrick sat in the forest, silent as the still earth.”

I’ve been writing ever since.

~*~*~

That’s the somewhat-dramatized version of when God and I had a

little spat about his “plan” for me.

I wanted to be famous. Or a missionary. Or someone who went out and healed the sick, got martyred, and yet my actions would spur a revival. You know, something grand that might make my crown in heaven a bit spiffier, something I could look at with pride and say to my Lord, “Look, see how much glory I brought you!”

God, though, he told me to write. He had showed me missionaries, healers, martyrs—a thousand stories in my head of lives only I could see. And he said the best way for me to serve him was by writing about those lives. That way, others could experience what I’ve witnessed.

It took a while for me to swallow my grand desires about serving him with extravagance. I will never forget the way he showed me—flashed before me—all those lives, all the ways that they had trusted him and how he had brought himself glory through their obedience. And here I was, denying God the right to guide me.

I never thought I would “love” writing. I thought I’d always yearn for something more. So when God had driven me to tears, dragged me to my knees and shamed me with my stubbornness, my prayer of humility spoke to that yearning, was flavoured by it. I didn’t say, “Lord, let your will be done no matter what,” or, “Lord, thank you for using me as you will,” or even, “Lord, help me to love writing.”

All I could pray was, “Lord, make me content.”

And that night, I started writing. Really writing. Writing with the

purpose of letting him bring glory through my meager chronicling, if that was what he in his infinite wisdom really wanted to do.

I must say, God knows his stuff.

The unimaginable happened: I love my job. And, I hope, he’s used it to draw people closer to him.

If God calls you, please, follow him. Even if you can’t muster up the enthusiasm to say, “Lord, thank you for using me as you will,” try to want what he wants. Ask for contentment. He might surprise you with joy.

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