Character Building

I had an introspective thought and then turned to wondering whether it had implications for character building on two levels. Let me know what you think.

I attended a church workers’ conference on wellness with my husband last Monday. It was no surprise, then, I was a bit introspective on the way home. The presenter, who was warm and lively, suggested thinking about health in terms of the fruits of the Spirit. (A bit ironic, considering the Spirit works fruit, while he was encouraging us to strive for balance and progress.)

Anyway, I thought about how chit chat is just not my strong point. And as I ran through various adjectives in my head, I’m not a great many of them. For example, although I often want to comfort, I’m not sure I do always comfort. Rather, I think I encourage. I lend courage and perhaps a bit of strength with my presence or support.

I think that kind of distinction is actually pretty for character building. If we’re writing fiction, we need strengths, weaknesses, and nuances. Maybe considering adjectives in search of a focal point lends exactly that kind of direction.

On the other hand, wouldn’t it be great for me to now become a more sensitive comforter since I realize I can’t just wing it? Encouragement—finding external strength to press on—is just different than seeing an internal need and applying its necessary balm.

I do think that ultimately character building, in writing or writhing, fluctuates like health. Skills and muscles both need exercise, even if that muscle is the human heart and the imagination that lends itself to empathy and interactions in love.

On that note, I guess I should end saying, “Don’t forget to rest, receive, and write.” 🙂

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