On blogging as a spiritual discipline

February 20, 2021

I used to write here at least once a week. I don’t know exactly why I stopped, although if I had to guess I would say that it likely had something to do with my friend dying. I like to blame things on Zoe; it’s the least she can do, really: to serve as a scapegoat after abruptly and rudely naffing off to the hereafter and leaving us all behind to pick up the pieces.

The truth is, a lot of what I used to write before Zoe died was very…nice. It was tidy. I’ve always loved telling a good story, and – I’ll admit it – I’m good at it. And that consistent writing was good for me. It helped me find a voice that sounded like me.

But I got sad after Zoe died. And not just sad but like, very, very depressed. And depressing. And anxious. And kind of angry. The way I’d written before, where I’d tell a story and then tie it up at the end with a nice little bow, started to feel a lot harder to do. Here was the formula:

As I drifted away from the shore of my own certainty, my own faith, my own assurance that everything was going to be fine (how could it be, when I had watched my friend be diagnosed with a rare disease and die within a few weeks?), I also drifted away from my ability to tie anything up in a nice little bow for everyone else. And I told myself – rightly or wrongly – that no one wanted to hear a 34-year-old woman whining about her existential crisis.

Or, to quote every Southern mother since time began: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

I still had Instagram, though. So over there, I posted pictures of my kids and my feet and my coffee, and wrote a couple of paragraphs here and there about marriage and motherhood, and every once in a while I’d even wade into the muddy waters of faith, but never enough to say “Hey, by the way, I’m not sure God is real. Also my heart is broken. Also I don’t know what the point of everything is.”

I think I regret it. I don’t think I gave people enough credit to come on the journey with me, and in hindsight, maybe having someone on the journey would have been nice.

It’s not that I didn’t try – you only have to scroll back through this blog to find a handful of false starts. I kept thinking I’d dip my toe in, but the dark was too dark. Until it wasn’t.

I’m writing a book now. I keep saying it to make it true. I’m writing a book. I’m writing a book. I’m writing a book. But for three years, the overwhelming majority of my writing has been Instagram captions, and I’m a little rusty. I’ve also lost some of the discipline it took to write consistently on this blog.

And like, who reads blogs anymore?

But I’ve decided none of that matters. For my own self-discipline, for the beauty of the practice, for the purpose of shaking the dust off and proving to myself that I can still write long-form, for the purpose of writing out the Truth and trusting my readers to come along for the ride…

I’m back.

And all that existential crisis stuff up there, all that stuff about not knowing if God is real, or thinking maybe everything is meaningless? As another act of discipline, I’m not going to tie it up with a nice little bow for you. If you want to know how it all pans out, you’ll just have to stick around.

*featured image by one of my favourite photographers, Annie Spratt.

7 responses to “On blogging as a spiritual discipline”

  1. Pip Bloom says:

    Yes. You have me. I’m hooked.

  2. Miranda Mack says:

    The courage to allow things into the light and to leave things without a tidy ending is part of the stuff that fertile soil is made of. Whinnging,via cyber space, a big hug and a kiss in celebration of all things messy, not quite put together or finished, definitely not tidy and 💯 not in a box with a label and bow on it.
    Go you!

  3. Catherine Rountree says:

    What a beautiful and meaningful blog ❤️
    I truly enjoy reading each one of them !
    You have a way to make someone stop and think about what exactly is said and why 🙏
    I encourage you to continue your journey…
    Catherine Rountree

  4. Jane says:

    Fuck yes Faith, bring it. You know what I’m gonna say… we’re sick and we need your medicine. Please shoot me up! No pressure, but the universe needs you to stick this one out. I’m here for it and for you, sister-love.

  5. Courtney says:

    Perhaps even more passé than blogging – leaving comments on blogs. But I support (and miss!) the long form! Can’t wait to read more. Also I never until your email understood what the title “Great Smitten” was getting at. But I’m laughing now because it IS clever! Lastly, it’s a sign of the (Instagram) times that I, a fully grown woman, find it difficult to write this comment without using emojis.

  6. I am so glad that somehow I found your voice in the wilderness of the Internet. I cannot WAIT to read your book. Wherever and however your words can be read, there is a need for them. Please keep telling the truth, for yourself and for the rest of us.

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