Easter came and went. The forty-days of Lent I spent writing down my dreams (perhaps you joined me!) did not result in a metaphorical resurrection. The stone wasn't rolled away. There wasn't an earthquake, or an angelic messenger. As is so often the case, I did the work and nothing happened.
I turned to The Vein of Gold: A Journey to Your Creative Heart by Julia Cameron, searching for an encouraging word. A corner of the book's cover is creased, as are many of its pages, the result of shoving it into my backpack for weekly meetings with my friend Jodie. For a year and a half, we sipped herbal tea and worked our way through Cameron's exercises. I glanced at the "Creativity Commitment" in the front of the book. My name is signed in blue ink. I've dated it 9-24-14.
In the chapter on "Risk" I find these words by William Hutchinson Murray:
"Concerning all acts of initiative or creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. ... All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of incidents and meetings and material assistance which no [wo]man would have believed would come [her] way."
There's an evangelical fervor to Murray's words. He adopts the voice of a preacher perched in a pulpit high above his congregants. I imagine him there, inside a white chapel down some dusty road, proclaiming a message that sounds too good to be true. "Move and Providence will move, too. Commit to your passion and miracles will follow. Risk and you will be rewarded!" And, like a faithful disciple, I believed every word. It's only later I realize Murray left out one crucial detail.
There's no rushing Providence. She moves at her own mysterious pace. "All manner of incidents and meetings and material assistance" will surely come, as will long stretches of nothing. So, we do the most difficult work of all. We wait. Even Walt Whitman, one of America's most influential poets, spent most of his life waiting. He waited as all four editions of Leaves of Grass were published, each one a commercial flop. He waited through depression and rejection. He waited through romantic heartbreak, ill health, and the Civil War. One of the most difficult creative and spiritual acts we undertake is that of waiting. But we do not wait in vain. Providence is working her wonders, moving in ways we never imagined possible and in a timing all her own.