This afternoon I added a new page to my blog. Then I went out for a walk, and part way through began to feel jittery about the new page, and thought I'd take it down when I got home. Now I'm not so sure.
Thinking about it some more as I ambled along by the creek, I wondered what was making me so nervous about the new page, which invites readers to offer support to the ministry of sarah tells stories.
Am I afraid no one will respond? Sometimes it does feel as though no-one reads the words I write here, no-one caring what I write or that I write, or if I never wrote again ... so if there's no-one to read these words, there would be no one to click 'donate'.
I suppose I might be disappointed ... but actually, on consideration, I might be more relieved. And that is intriguing: that I might be more nervous about people responding to my call for help, than not.
It is not that I don't believe in sarah tells stories - on the contrary, I continue to make considerable sacrifices in order to pursue the call in this direction.
It is not that I don't believe in myself, I don't think - I feel myself come alive in the writing, the contemplating, the preparing and performing of stories. I know this is who I am called to be, and I know I do what I do well.
Why, then, do I get the sense that if my readers - all three or four of you - out there accepted my invitation to help me, I would feel guilty?
Today on Facebook, that great platform for story sharing (or shouting, as I heard it described on the weekend), this meme appeared, which I shared.
This meme caused me to wonder whether I might put a 'donate' button on my website, after which I received other suggestions from friends for a wish list or subscription. I then went ahead to try a couple of these ideas out - said new page about which I am now pondering.
Is my reluctance to ask for help borne in our society's dwindling appreciation for artists? Am I concerned that if people donate resources to my 'cause' they will want something to show for their investment? Am I afraid I can't deliver?
Part of my calling - and it's hard to claim this without sounding like I have tickets on myself - I firmly believe is symbolic, prophetic. In my living I seek to model a way of life, a way of being human, that I believe is described in the story of Jesus, revealer of God. It is a way of being human that seeks affirmation for the fulness of humanity for all - and we are only fully human together.
So, if I believe in myself, as I say I do, and I believe in this call to the ministry of story and poetry, which I also say I do, I must model resistance to the diminishing of art and artists.
So, if we are fully human together, I must make myself vulnerable to you, for I need you. I have something to offer, stories and poems and spaces and skills to give to help strengthen individuals and communities. But I can not do that without some help from the community so that I may live.
With a deep breath, then, I will muster all the courage I can find, and make myself vulnerable, model value of and commitment to my art forms; and I will ask you to do the same.