The first step in writing is finding a favorite spot, a creative corner, a place to escape the trappings of the world where your muse feels bold enough to peek out. Artists willing to reveal their secret garden find it like trying to explain your view of the ocean or a star lit sky, words do not do it justice. There is a certain “feel” in the space, a smell in the air whether that be an old piano in an empty chapel or a guitar in a dorm hallway when the rest of the world is asleep.
A men’s retreat in the Texas hill country provided the backdrop for my first realization of a “spot.” An old guitar in hand, alone at the fire pit, the smell of smoke lingering as the day’s festivities had long since come to a close. With a cool breeze, expansive skies, and crickets lending harmonies, I played. Music flowed and my soul sang. I played. Years later dropping off+ our daughter at summer camp, I glanced over at that spot and remembered.
In years since, I’ve collected piles of inspiration on church bulletins and fast-food napkins, waiting for a chance to return to my spot to figure it all out. Such whispers of wisdom collecting dust in a forgotten guitar case is a waste of words meant for more than just scribbles on a page. In prayer and reflection, I found my spot was so much more than time and space but resides between my ears. It is not halfway around the world, but when I am there, it might as well be. My wife sees it in my eyes when I am a million miles away, struggling over some rhyme, or lesson or just poor use of grammar. The world continues around me as I focus on a whisper of wisdom or a random thought that may hold a secret to a lesson yet to be learned.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7.7-8 NIV
Find your place to ask, to seek, to knock. As you learn to listen, realize a true prayer garden is not always a time or place, but deep within, an empty spot at the fire pit awaiting a visit.
If these words have been a blessing, pass them along to another who needs to hear. Reach out to me at John@LiftedKeys.com and tell me your story. I would love to know where and in what way God has guided His words through my pen.
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