“In his Voyages dans les Alpes, de Saussure wrote briefly about the chamois hunters of the Alps, men who pursued a notoriously perilous profession. The hunters were menaced by crevasses on the glaciers over which they chased their quarry, they faced death by falling from the steep slopes the chamois preferred, and death by exposure from the Alpine storms which could gather so quickly. And yet, de Saussure had written:

it is these very dangers, this alternation of hope and fear, the continued agitation kept alive by these sensations in his heart, which excite the huntsman, just as they animate the gambler, the warrior, the sailor and, even to a certain point, the naturalist among the Alps whose life resembles closely, in some respects, that of the chamois hunter.

–Robert Macfarlane, Mountains of the Mind

I would add to that list creative writer, a vocation that requires the ability to hold the tension of 24/7, in perpetuity, anxiety.

Will I meet my deadline? Will I be able to pay the rent? Will I be attacked, jeered at, relegated to lifelong failure? Most to the point, am I offering myself FULLY to God?

When the sheep are separated from the goats, will I be able to point to my pitiful little pile of books, blog posts, essays, and say, “This was my heart, Lord. I know it’s not much, but I gave all I had?”

I wouldn’t trade a single second of it. The tension gets me out of bed in the morning, urges me to prayer, gives my life purpose and meaning.

Last week a friend in recovery said something that’s been ringing in my ears ever since. This guy has been in a wheelchair for several years and suffers ongoing health problems.

He said: “I don’t say to God anymore, ‘Help me.’ I say– ‘Use me.’ “

9 Replies to “USE ME”

  1. bonitamlewis says: Reply

    Love this!

  2. There’s much in this post, true and with the characteristic generosity of spirit. Dostoyevsky acknowledged that ultimately the “strain” was useful, God knows he heaped it on himself. Yes to the wrenching difficulty of writing, others: music performance, visual arts, theatre. It is strange, the willingness to endure it. A yet so many want or even need to do it. Skip to your friend’s enlightened insight: imagine ! Turning in the one prayer everybody knows, the plea for help, in exchange for being used in any even unforeseen, unknown way. It’s just so beautiful. “Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.” And mean it whole heartedly.

    Thank you, Heather and thanks to your friend.

  3. Thanks Heather, I needed to hear this today.

  4. Nikki Golden says: Reply

    Yes, good message for today! Thank you.

  5. HEATHER KING says: Reply

    Thanks, folks–the principle holds true for anyone who takes his or her vocation seriously. Parenthood, for example: my God! Talk about a cliffhanger…

  6. Hi, Ron from Augusta, Maine here. A fellow New Englander. Your Posts and shared articles have been the highlight of my days for many years now. Thank-you Heather.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Ron, bless you for letting me know! My late sister Jeanne lived in Hallowell, I have another brother in Eliot, ME and as you may know I grew up on the coast of NH…missing the smell of the marshes and salt air. Always thrilled to hear from a fellow New Englander and please pass the blog along to your friends…if you have any. I don’t, but I like when other people do. BIG SMILEY FACE!!

  7. Sorry to hear about your sister passing. Apparently she was my next door neighbor in proximity anyway. I actually lived in Hallowell for several years. So close
    . Yes, from reading your books, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I realized you lived in NH. I don’t have any close friends here in Maine. But I would gladly pass on your blog if I have the opportunity. BIG SMILEY FACE!! to you as well. God bless you.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      ha thank you Ron!

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