I don’t have many fond memories of grade school. One of the few is of my first grade teacher, Mrs. Gates. Mrs. Gates was an elderly woman who seemed, or at least made me believe, to really like me for who I am. In fact, she recognized and fed my love for writing. She would allow me to stay after school to write my “books“ while she would laminate them and send me home with them.
The next memory I have specifically related to writing includes sitting in Starbucks on 6th Street in Austin with my friend, Roland. We were talking about what we want to do when we grow up, I was about 22 and he, 20, and I said, “Man, I would love to write.” He asked me what I wanted to write about, and all I can recall is it that my answer included something about Jesus, Marx, and other historic leaders.
The next memory that comes back is with my in-laws. Riding in the back seat with my soon-to-be wife, with her parents in the front seat, and my soon-to-be-mother-in-law, asked, “What do you want to do?“ and I said, “I want to write?“ Honestly, I’m a bit surprised they didn’t drop me off on the side of the road and drive off. I didn’t show the signs of a promising writer.
By the time I started church planting and pastoring, I was around a lot of good and well-known writers. I kept trying to “write my book.“ I wrote about the church and politics; I wrote about masculinity, about justice. And I never finished. It wasn’t so much about interest as it was about motivation. I kept asking myself “What kind of book will sell?” or “What kind of book will speak to others?” And by the time I was halfway through writing it, I was already thinking of the next thing, and the current project lost steam.
I would go on to write a few articles for blog sites, magazines, chapters, and the like, but never a book. Then one day, I was reading a book or article, I don’t remember the title, but it was written by Miroslav Volf, one of my favorite theologians. He stated something along the lines of “write for yourself”. I had never looked at it from that perspective, and I didn’t know what that was, but it felt right.
Years later, I went through a deep depression and fell off the radar of the church world. I took an extended sabbatical to recover and re-center, and it was during this time, that I began to study and learn about resilience theory while transposing it through the lens of personal development and discipleship. Through this time, my family went through a lot to help me heal. I knew it had to be a bit confusing to the kids, and I knew one day, that they too would go through mid-life and may even come to a point of disillusionment.
I wanted to write something for them. What to do and how to grow through a time like this. I knew all they would have in relation to this time was their interpretation from the perspective of their age. I wanted them to know about this from the perspective of an adult. Why? Because it would be as an adult that they may one day go through this.
At that point, I was seeing a spiritual director and a coach. My coach opened my eyes to the epidemic of lostness, depression and disillusionment among leaders coming into in mid-life. Dan simply said, “You are approaching this with a good head; others may want to hear this.“
So, what started out to be a story my kids may read one day, evolved into a tale for risk-takers, pastors, and leaders who may go through the same thing. Then it became a manuscript one of my professors encouraged me to submit. That resulted in a book contract. So there you go! The journey has begun. I have a book coming out. It is still in the early stages of copy editing. The title is, “An Undoing.“ It is an autobiography on my journey of resilience during a time of deep disillusionment and depression.