By Craig H. Smith
I delight in the creative process of writing. When scattered thoughts become clear reflections ... when tweaked sentences bring sharp focus and new perspective ... and, when the light bulb goes on and aha(!) happens, excitement pulls up a chair and plops down right beside me. Searching for and finding the right words, the right phrase, or the right image to express a stirring victory, a human failure, a deep learning, a raw frustration, or one of life’s God-moments is pure delight.
My journey to writing had a rather shaky beginning. As a college freshman, I declared a double major in both English and physical education. As a student athlete, I played both baseball and football. In the spring, midway through baseball season, I was summoned to the office of Dr. Klingler, Dean of the English Department. He invited me to sit. Then, without cordial small talk, he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Mr. Smith, do you want to be an English major or … [pause for dramatic emphasis] do you want to play baseball?”
Honestly, I could see his point. I had missed nine of his classes because of road trips to “away” baseball games. He had the right to question my commitment to English. And, so he did! With all the maturity and arrogance of a college freshman, I quickly responded, “Dr. Klingler, I want to play baseball!” And, I walked out. He gave me a “D” for the semester’s work. (There’s more to the story down the road.)
Once I entered the work-a-day world, writing opportunities were wide-ranging. As a businessman, pastor, denominational church executive, and later as a leadership and health coach, I had a wide—some might say weird—backdrop to my writing. Putting words on paper took on a many-sided approach. From business correspondence to sermons to notes of encouragement to motivational and inspirational prose for various publications, I adapted to writing for the “task at hand.”
I guess it has been this eclectic experience that has allowed me to blend the motivational with the practical and the inspirational with the down-to-earth. So, it has been my experience that, when heaven and earth touch and when God’s story and our story commingle, life comes alive in a whole new way. Meaning and purpose dance with the ordinary and the mundane, and, in some miraculous way, we live life at a higher level.
Thanks for listening!
Oh, and as for Dr. Klingler ... this former brash baseball player had the occasion to bump into Dr. K. at a large church gathering right after the release of a Lenten devotional series I had written for our denominational publishing house. He walked right up to me—in the same manner with which he had approached me nearly 45 years before—and, holding a copy of my work, he piped, “Nice work, Craig. Nice work!” I smiled and replied, “Thank you, Charles.”