Sunny Pathway

Friday, May 23, 2008

Getting Started

When our three oldest children were small, I loved reading to them. With one snuggled on each side and the youngest nestled in my lap, we read and reread Dr. Seuss, the Golden Books, alphabet and number books, whatever was available. Reading time could get lengthy because each child had a selection. And when they grew older, only the format changed. Then they hopped into bed and we read The Chronicles of Narnia or Where the Red Fern Grows or—you get the idea.

I also read on my own, sometimes fast-paced action books and sometimes classics written by the likes of Dostoyevsky, George Eliot, Henry James. Reading provided escape and stimulation for a stay-at-home mom. Occasionally I fantasized about writing novels myself, thought I’d use Sunny Meadows as a pseudonym—in Norwegian, the language of our heritage, the surname Engh means meadow and my given name Solveig means sunny pathway or road.

The idea of a pseudonym seems laughable now, but I did eventually write to make a little money. Not the great American novel, but articles on women’s interests, and I covered the dairy and livestock beat for a monthly regional farm journal. In the process I talked my editor into letting me write a personal column with a Christian slant. That led to writing a weekly column for our local paper. And when I went back to college as an older-than-average student, I majored in English literature. Later I filled in as a temporary part-time teacher in our local college while earning a master’s degree. And still later I published 5 issues of a Christian tabloid-sized insert, distributed quarterly, in our local paper.

Then my husband and I retired. Well, my husband has had temporary exploits in the workplace since then, but I discovered I was tired in my core and thought my productive life was over. There were physical problems. There were even days when I had trouble stringing words together correctly.

Alone, with nothing to do but think, I realized my Christian walk had become a set of beliefs and a routine rather than a personal relationship with a living God. I thought about writing again, but didn’t know where to begin. Had I blown it by not trying to break into a larger audience when I was younger? The possibilities seemed so remote at the time and I hadn’t wanted to put in the effort.

Without knowing my internal conflicts, a friend decided I must meet a friend of hers who is a writer. Much about our first meeting was discouraging. No one told me, but I knew that because I had changed, the world I would write about had also changed.

That was either four or five years ago. Little by little, God has chipped away at my defenses. I learned—actually, I’m learning—to not feel bad about reduced energy and physical limitations, to not feel bad about slower mental responses, to listen for God’s voice, to wait for His leading. In other words, to enter into faith again.

Somewhere in the mix, I became aware of the internet and, eventually, websites and blogs. I subscribe to quite a few blogs and ezines because I enjoy them. Most have a theme. Many are about the joys and trials of raising a family, and I love reading them because they bring back memories good and bad. Reading them can bring healing. Many are about writing, of interest only to writers, and I love reading them, too. They open up a world I never fully entered.

I eventually began thinking about writing again and I decided to focus on a blog, but I needed a theme. My years as a mother are long-gone and my writing experience is not extensive—I can’t offer much in either area.

One morning, I thought to ask myself if I did have anything to offer, and I rehearsed some of the wonderful things God has been saying to me. He wants personal relationships. He will satisfy and give purpose to anyone who fellowships with Him, regardless of age. Even if we’ve made serious mistakes, even if we’ve had hard hearts, even if we’ve not followed Him when He called us.

Could this be my theme? God has given me hope again, I believe I have a future, life is good. It seems there’s material to explore here—material that can include stories from everyday life because that’s what blogs are about.

I don’t plan to write daily. At first I thought I’d write twice a week. Then I began thinking about a second blog and writing once a week in each. Grandma’s afraid of overload, you know. Some entries might be very short.

Of course, writing a blog means coming up with a name. While brainstorming one day I remembered the love for reading I developed as a young mother and I remembered my fantasy and the pseudonym. Laughing, I thought about various takes on the meanings of my name: sunny meadow, a sunny pathway, even the Son’s pathway, etc.

Anything referring to the Son’s pathway would be taking on more than I could offer. Somehow, Sunny Pathway worked for me. If you think it’s corny, I understand. For me, it’s a reminder of where I’ve been and all that God has done. I’m so far from perfect and my life isn’t perfect, either, but my path is remarkably sunny amidst the storm of growing older because I actually do live in the Light of the Son.