Lately, I’ve felt like 2020 has been herding me precariously toward the precipice of a grand paradigm shift. Simply put, my life is about to change … a lot. This year has given us all much reason to pause and ponder. And in my own musings, I have found myself at a professional crossroads. I’m not sure if you all knew this, but I’ve spent most of my life as a vocational minister. Yet, as I’ve scanned the horizon for clouds and clues about what the future holds, I just can’t shake the feeling that something different is just around the corner.
Personally, the last year or so has been drastically different for me already. Instead of working one main ministerial job, I’ve been working several jobs, most of which have nothing to do with church. One of those jobs is writing. However, I don’t really write for a living. I do get paid, but I don’t rely on it to pay the bills. For that, I work other jobs. Yet, since I was so graciously invited to write for the Pleasanton Express back in August of 2019, I have received more affirmation about my gift of writing than any other gift I have ever displayed. In fact, a number of people who know me extremely well have said that writing is my strongest gift. It is crystal clear from the plethora of positive messages, online comments and handwritten letters that my writings are connecting and resonating with many of you. I sincerely thank you all for being so kind and encouraging. Yet, as God grants me an ever increasing sphere of influence, and as I embrace the green light to walk down this new corridor of professional writing, it has become painfully obvious to me that I will not be able to respond to all of you with the same kind of sentiment that you so generously pour out on my behalf. There simply isn’t enough time in the day. And that’s the curious thing about being a writer. I am instantly able to connect with thousands of people through monologue. Yet, if I were to attempt to engage in dialogue with every person who reads my weekly column, I would probably go insane. That being said, I do try to read everything that is sent my way, and I am moved deeply by every word penned out of genuine gratitude.
Back in the day, when I was a youth pastor, I remember listening to Larry Osborne as he spoke at a conference. He said that people are like legos. They only have so many connectors to connect with other people. Though I don’t have enough connectors to connect with all of my readers, I do love you all. And I hope to point all of you back to the source of that love … the One who not only created you, but who is able to connect with each and every one of you in ways that I could not begin to fathom.
PAUL MICHAEL JONES is an artist who currently dabbles in music, photography and creative writing.