I wrote a reminder for a friend not too long ago which included all of the affirmations I’d given to them during the past year. All the reassuring comments, all the encouragements, all of the validations I’d ever e-mailed, texted, or im-ed (because, sadly, I rarely throw away or delete anything). Why? Because sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the murk of our own heads and lose perspective of who we are.

My wife came up with 25 reasons why she loves me as part of her Valentine’s Day gift. When I’m feeling charitable, I see Valentine’s Day as a ritual of memory for my wife and for those around us who have our affections. It’s a reminder occasion.

We need the occasional reminders (like my Break glass in case of emergency blog was a reminder). Why? Because it’s easy to forget. We get caught up in circumstance. We have external factors: critics; folks whom we invest in who end up draining us; sacrifice of time; the pressure of family. We have internal factors: lies about ourselves, falling prey to our own insecurities, our voices/demons that get the better of us and spiral us into depression.

Pastors and writers (artists) have similar head spaces, I think; especially susceptible to mood swings and depression. It’s easy to get down and wonder why you do the things you do. Even now, I thought against posting a reminder to myself because it struck me as an exercise in vanity. Then I remembered how easy it is for me to get twisted, tripped up in my own head. I received a few notes from friends who shall remain nameless and realized how much these notes, reminders of why I do what I do, pick me up when I get into those funks:

“I haven’t posted much lately, but I thought I oughta let you know I’m still reading your blog regularly, and man, you do inspire. I’ve had some rough times in my soul lately, and your words have really, really helped me get grounded. I want you to know that because whenever you are called to account, you’ve touched a poor old plodding sinner where it counts many a time.”

“And you know, you once told me that I was making you rethink some of your attitudes towards gay folks. Well, you and your friends have me rethinking my attitude towards Christians. I just wish more people of faith were as inclusive as you guys.”

“Whatever sort of wordsmith I may be, I can scarcely express how much this weekend meant to me. It was everything and more that I hoped it would be: thoughtful, exciting, enlightening, and FUN. I know you have help (and damn good help it is), but Mo*Con is still largely a one-man show, since it’s your vision behind it and your hands that have brought it to life. I don’t know if I’ve ever had such an all-around experience at a “horror-related” event. Or any event. Getting to meet you and so many folks that I’ve known online but never met in the flesh was kind of overwhelming; I’m really something of an introvert, have been since I was a kid, and it’s a challenge for me to hit the “on” switch and keep it going when I’m out at a con or some event with my peers, so to speak. But Mo*Con felt really good, really natural, and you helped make it so easy to stay in the “on” position. Your talent and energy are awesome, and I admire your devotion to both your writing passion and the way you present the gospel to people. As you surely inferred, I’m not a religious person per se, but I do believe I’m a spiritual person, for all that’s worth. Your way of presenting God’s message speaks to people where they live, and surely that’s the most Christ-like way to do it.”

Now the tough part is living up to being the man they talk about in these notes.

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