Showing up at the Lake…

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Dear Reader:

Don’t most of us (if not all) sit down and wonder sometimes if we are making any real difference in the world? Perhaps it is the never-ending winter this year that has brought on the blahs to almost everyone I have bumped into lately…all admitting that their work and leisure have suffered as a result of the endless gray purgatory.

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The biggest lament is not the cold…but the lack of sun. For me…it isn’t until a few days have passed (without being able to go out in my garden and feel the sun on my face) that I begin to acknowledge the importance of the sun’s beneficial and healing rays on my mental and physical condition.

It slowly starts to affect attitudes and aptitudes that we take for granted. Negative thoughts start to penetrate our psyches and we started reading things into, otherwise, positive habits in our lives.

For example, writing is so ingrained in my psyche,  if a few days go back without writing…my life starts tilting off-balance…going askew. The only thing to “right” it is to start writing again.

I am so tuned into my computer, desk, the books gathered around it…that any thing amiss throws me off-kilter and I can’t resume writing until the missing item is back in place.

Before I enter my “writing sanctuary” each day to begin the next day’s blog…I take a moment to stare at the empty chair and the black screen on the computer. If I never typed another word on the computer…it would remain dark.

Life would go on certainly… but my piece of the life puzzle would never be complete…leaving one small voice silent in the dark abyss of space. But the stars would recognize the void…a smattering of stardust would dissipate.

We are all connected to each other and to every component of life as we know it…and don’t know it. By talking ourselves out of our place, our importance in the universe, we run the risk of setting off a chain reaction of negativity that could circle the globe.

What if everyone, on the same day, decided that what they contributed to the world was worthless (too little to count or matter) don’t you think chaos would ensue? Teachers, doctors, artists, writers, builders, spiritual leaders, construction workers, etc. all quitting the world simultaneously.

I am sure you have noticed that my readings have brought me back to Madeleine L’Engle as of late. I do have a tendency to settle on a particular author during certain stages of life…and obviously I am in an L’Engle period right now.

The importance of recognizing our unique contributions to the world, no matter how small we feel they are…brought back a wonderful message I remembered from an earlier writing of L’ Engle. Here is an excerpt of some of L’Engle’s thoughts on this subject from “Art in Love.

ART IS A GIFT OF THE SPIRIT…

“We’re never sure that what we write is true and honest. We try to make it true and honest. How much I succeed is really beyond my control. It happens if I am given the Spirit to write the work.

“It is through the gifts of the Spirit that art comes, that love comes. But because we’re human, we’re never entirely sure. We know we haven’t served the work as well as we would want to. But if I had to serve the work to my satisfaction, I would still be on my first writing. And that would be pride.

“The important thing is to recognize that our gift, no matter what the size, is indeed something given us, for which we can take no credit, but which we may humbly serve, and in serving, learn more wholeness, be offered wondrous newness.

“If the work comes to the artist and says, ‘Here I am, serve me,’ then the job of the artist, great or small, is to serve. The amount of the artist’s talent is not what it is about. Jean Rhys said to an interviewer in the Paris Review, ‘Listen to me. All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. And there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don’t matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake.’

“I have never served a work as it ought to be served; my little trickle adds hardly a drop of water to the lake, and yet it doesn’t matter; there is no trickle too small. Over the years I have come to recognize that the work often knows more than I do. And with each writing I start, I have hopes that I may be helped to serve it a little more fully.

“Picasso says that an artist paints not to ask a question, but because he has found something, and he wants to share — he cannot help it — what he has found. ”

……………………….

Each day before I type the first word…all preconceived ideas of the blog content (for the next day) fly out the window and my fingers just start typing. It truly is the “Gift of the Spirit” as to where and how the writing goes on any particular day.

Like Picasso…I feel the need to share my thoughts and hope that others share similar introspections….(or simply want a good laugh at that crazy gal from Summerville…and that’s okay too!) The world can always use another laugh or two.

I know that I am just a teeny teeny tiny trickle of water feeding the streams that feed the rivers that feed the lake…but we really must all “feed the lake.”

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Every droplet of water contributed to us on this planet serves mankind when multiplied by all the other droplets forming daily.

Every time one of us decides “we aren’t worthy” and stops feeding the lake with our unique talent/our droplet… then the lake (the world) diminishes one drop at a time.

So until tomorrow…gray skies or sunny…Let us remember that no one else, but ourselves, can contribute the single drop of water to the lake… that we can. The size of our contribution makes no difference to the outcome… It is just the fact that, as long as we are alive, we are still contributing to the water of life… for all to drink.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* When I went outside yesterday to take a photo of the gray, cold, dreary day….I turned around and there were my four lettered pieces of cloth (a little soggy) but hanging in there with HOPE. The sun will come out ….’maybe or maybe not tomorrow’….but one day!

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About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Showing up at the Lake…

  1. Mary says:

    Keep “feeding” Becky….YOU are making a difference!

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      Mary! How wonderful to hear from you! I have missed you. If you have a few minutes please email me (rebecca_dingle@hotmail.com) and catch me up. Want to hear about your family and how things are going for you!

      Like

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