The Test

The white page before me is terrifying.

The drive to write is a fierce fire that burns, but it cannot banish the fear of failure. Failure and I–we go back quite a way. I am not anxious to renew the acquaintance.

Still, every time I sit down to write, the blank page mocks and teases.writersblock

You have nothing to say! The empty page is nicer than anything you can come up with!

Some nights I listen to the mockery and walk away. It only makes the next time that much harder.

Tonight, I sat and looked at the blank space once more. This time, the realization hit me with power and urgency.

The empty page is a picture of life. More to the point, today, it is especially salient as we stand on the verge of a new year.

The story is already written for the year we’ve just lived. It is now a completed book of history. Oh, edits will be made. The intellectuals and politicians will debate the wording for many of the events, and what results will be something completely different than the actual occurrence, but it won’t change the fact that the book is closed and ended.


I hear the fireworks outside my office walls as I type.

The moment has come. The old year is dead and gone. Scribbled pages, strike-throughs, erasures, and footnotes–all of that is complete. There will be a time to look back and decipher it later.

It is time now to step onto the new, clean page.

Blank, like the page you’re reading here was moments ago, it may terrify us. The fear of failure, of loss, of pain may keep us frozen, but it’s a sure bet that the page will be marked up very soon anyway.

Life moves on, whether we will or no.

What will you write? What will I write?

Will the message be coherent? Will the lines run true? Will the communication be plain?

“These are the times that try men’s souls.” Thomas Paine, that great American patriot, was speaking of the terrifying early days of the Revolutionary War. He was speaking of military resolve, of political concerns.

No matter. The words ring true for us.

What we do next will show our mettle. What we say today will prove who we are at our very core. What we face right now, this minute, is a test of our faith and our resolve.

The test begins now.

Pencils ready?


“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.”
(Psalm 56:3 ~ NASB)

“…Knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
(Rosa Parks ~ American civil-rights activist ~ 1913-2005)

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *