My sister is a writer. I am not sure if she says this out loud. Rather she says things like: "I like to write", "I have a talent for writing", "I aspire to be a writer someday". These insecure statements cloaked in humility do not change the facts. Rylie is a writer. She is not a writer merely because she writes. There is some passion deep inside each of us and when it emerges from our beings it can be used to help define us. I picture words coursing through Rylie like blood. These words are as essential to her as breath. They flow out of her finger tips with each punch of her laptop keys. Apart from writing Rylie would cease to exist. She would still be present here, but in large part the essence of who she is would be missing. To me, she would no longer be "Rylie".
Why am I saying all of this? Well, this past weekend Rylie got to attend a gala where she met her favorite novelist, Ann Patchett. To say that Rylie was giddy would only begin to describe it. To say that she was awe-struck would not quite do it justice. To declare her inspired, motivated, and impassioned might scatch the surface. Rylie had what I am sure she considers one of the greatest opportunities of her life, thus far. She got to meet one of the single most inspiring people in her life and one of the people whose craft she most admires.
Talking with her about it I could see the lingering excitement in her eyes and I could even hear the difference in her voice. It got me thinking. How many of us get to have an opportunity to mingle with someone we typically have admired (stalked) from a distance, someone we only know through books or television? I got to have dinner with the Syracuse Men's Basketball team once, when I was in seventh grade. My souvenirs from that night are a signed Etan Thomas jersey,which my dad paid entirely too much for in a silent auction, and a photo of a gangly, pale pre-teen whose quivering body is being held up by two almost-seven-foot-tall -phenoms. My only advice to Rylie before she left for the gala the other night was to avoid nearly fainting in front of Ann Patchett and suffering a fate similar to mine.
As I was thinking, a Bible passage popped into my head: Hebrews 4:15-16. " For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weakness, but who has been tempted in every way, yet did not sin. So let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need". The part that I remembered as I was talking to Rylie was approaching the throne of grace with confidence. Certainly that was not Rylie's first inclination upon seeing Ann Patchett from across the room. It definitely was not mine when I saw Etan Thomas and the rest of the Syracuse team. As well as Ann can craft a sentence and as well as Etan can block shots, they pale in comparison to the God of the universe, the same God who invites us to approach him confidently.
As Rylie, or any other writer could tell you, authors choose their words with the utmost care, laboring over each one so that they can convey their message in the most precise way possible. Clearly God, from his throne, wants me not to falter, (or stammer, or feel like I am going to lose my lunch, or sweat, or almost pee myself,) as I come to Him in prayer. I can think of many ways that I have approached God, especially in the instance referred to here, where weakness is present and mercy and grace are required. I am not usually confident, more like worried, unsure, scared. Sometimes in moments like that I find myself not approaching His throne at all. It is pretty awesome though that God, the greatest celebrity and inspiration of all time, tells me to approach Him confidently, not confidence in myself, but confidence in who He is. The fact that I can approach Him at all is incredible. It is way cooler than meeting the Syracuse team. And to think that I can do this every day, whenever I want, to think that He longs to see me enter His throne room, well that makes my knees stop knocking a little.