lenten journal: thankful words


    The Boston Marathon begins each year in Hopkinton, Mass. and wind their way through other towns and suburbs until they get into Boston. Between the 20th and 21st mile is Heartbreak Hill, which is often the stretch of the race that determines the winner. It’s not that the hill is so big as much as the incline comes after having run over twenty miles. With two weeks left until Easter, I’m feeling the burn myself.

    If you pay attention to the small print, you can see each of my entries is usually posted in the last whispers of the day: 11:56, 11:49, and so on. Some nights it’s well after one before I finish writing, but Blogger marks the time I open the new post window, not when I actually post. On nights like tonight, I find myself driving home from work wondering what I can write about, trying to think of something to say. More than once, I’ve stared at the screen for who knows how long, waiting for inspiration. Since Gracie likes to get up between 6:30 and 7, and I’m the one who will wake up when she barks, my nights have been short.

    So, as the days begin to rise toward Easter and I’m just getting home from an eleven hour day, I had to push myself to do more than sit down and tell you I was too tired to write tonight. While I was in the shower, I realized I couldn’t do that, not because of a sense of obligation, but because I love doing this. When I look back over the winter (I’m speaking as if the season past tense even though I drove home from work in the snow) and see that I was not depressed for the first time in five winters, I see that what was different this year was I wrote regularly. I’ve written over 300,000 words since I started the blog in December of 2005. I’m better at both writing and living because of it.

    So, at the end of this long day, I’m sitting at the keyboard typing with a deep sense of gratitude that I’m able to write, that you are willing to read (and sometimes respond), and that the light really does shine in the darkness such that the darkness cannot extinguish it.



    1. Milton,

      I’ve always thought that writing is first the gift we give ourselves. Perhaps it’s when we feel that gift most deeeply, that our writing becomes a gift to others.

      Thank you for writing.

    2. Milton,
      I’ve read and enjoyed your blog since Lent began, after finding it through a search for Nora Gallagher. Common literary likes and paths to new ones keep me reading your rich offerings.

      On writing William Alexander Percy said, “When you feel something intensely, you want to write it down – if anguish, to staunch the bleeding; if delight, to prolong the moment.”

      Thank you for writing it down.

    3. I’m thankful for your beautiful words and compelling thoughts. Like you, I find writing — and sharing through a blog — a healing experience.

    4. Milton, I found your blog through rlp. I am a friend of your mom and dad’s. I have only met you once when we had your mom’s 70th birthday party lunch in Dallas. I am grateful for your insights. I look forward to reading your daily posts and engaging in the conversation.

    5. I am so thankful that you have had a good winter. Surely the writing did make a difference. Your writing certainly continues to make a difference to me.

    6. Hi Milton–I also found your blog recently, through RLP at the beginning of Lent, and wanted to thank you for your words throughout this Lenten season. Reading your blog has dovetailed nicely with other things in my life, in so many ways. (Recently finished reading God’s Politics–and then you go and talk about Jim Wallis–also recently read Kitchen Confidential, and there you are talking about the mood in the kitchen at the Inn, etc.!!!!) Anyway, I was compelled to comment today because of your thoughts about writing being responsible for fending off depression this winter….This winter was the first time I experienced depression, and while it was comparatively mild, I haven’t liked it one bit, and hope not to have a reprise next winter. Maybe writing (even if only personally and not in blog form) is part of the answer….I’ve been toying with that idea for years (basically since I started reading blogs, though back pre-marriage, pre-kids, I did used to keep journals and that was always very satisfying/enlightening). Anyway, now I just need to get off my duff and do it!

      Thanks for your inspiration.

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