Well, then. Where does this leave me? I guess I should share an event from last month to solidify this entry as both a bookend and a new launching point in this narrative. I'm living in Midtown, KCMO, and often work in Olathe, about a half-hour drive into Kansas. Sometimes I stop at Black Dog Coffee House in Lenexa for a fix. One of these times in particular, as I approached the counter at an unmentionably early hour, the barista had a particularly terrified look on her face. We exchanged pleasantries and cash, and as she set to pour a tall soy latte triple shot for me, her hands were visibly shaking. Before handing me my cup, she stopped and prefaced her explanation, "This will be the weirdest conversation you have all day." (She obviously had no idea who she was talking to.) "When you walked in two weeks ago, I saw a picture of you, clear as day, and God told me to tell you about it. I was too afraid then, but now I have to tell you. I saw you kneeling at an alter, with a gift before you. You stood up, took the gift and, with tears streaming down your face, walked away." I knew already she was spot-on. On first glance, this is merely a direct confirmation of my state of creative dormancy. She went on, "The Lord says he wants your gift back, that it's His and you have no right to take it back. And, while I don't know much about you, I think it's your song." I tried, probably flimsily and to little avail, to encourage and thank her for being a faithful deliverer of the word she received from God. She remained flustered, and I left to go about my work-day. As I prayed and pondered, the Spirit breathed upon the image she gave me. And, while nothing immediate happened, a concept was beginning to thicken. The anxiety I have around my craft, the extreme perfectionism, the tight grip I keep on my songs, all of this was brought to light. I can't be anxious or stingy with something that isn't mine to begin with. God called me to breathe his goodness, and to exhale it into the atmosphere around me. At no point in the respiratory cycle is there room to stash air away in secret pockets in my abdomen, scrutinize it, perfect it, and wait to release it until a moment I deem appropriate. No, I freely inhale, and automatically exhale, making room for each new breath. In this sense, my gift to offer, my song to sing, is not even mine, and I cannot legally worry about it, because I gave it to God the day I died in the convent and was resurrected alive in Christ. If it were mine, I could be every bit as exhaustingly self-critical as I wanted, but it's not. My response to God, in His love and goodness, is to give freely, to release the creation he built into my spirit without regard to how it will be received or where it will meet its target. My sole duty is to cultivate an inner dialogue with my maker, redeemer, and best friend. Everything outside of engaging in that dialogue is not my concern, but His. There's such peace in that, since He's infinitely better at his job than I am. I had a security blanket name Bebe until I went to kindergarten. I couldn't be caught not holding it in my hand, with my thumb plugging up my mouth. My parents say that when, of my own volition, I gave up Bebe and quit sucking my thumb on my first day of school, it uncorked a stream of words that has not stopped since. Likewise, now, to the comforts of control and calculated release, to the crutches of guardedness and self-provision, I give you up. I don't need you any more. The well has been bursting to get past your levees, and I won't hold you back any longer. Maybe I'll call this a notice of reentry. My warning alarm to existence that my throat is open and my pen is moving. A stream of silliness will undoubtedly began to ceaselessly flow, and I will joyously offer it up. Papa, you have your mark on me, and I know you won't let any arrow miss it's mark. So may the filler fall to the floor, but His voice in me will never be silent again. There is ample reason every second to shout, sing, moan, mumble, gargle, cry, sigh, breathe, belch, whistle, lament, give thanks, praise, and celebrate. May the whole world hear the cacophony of new life and be ushered in.