Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our Faith, Our Selves: Write of these

QUO VADISImage by jesuscm via Flickr_Quo Vadis
Jean Purcell
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Remembrances swirl, of words, the Word, and trying to tie things together that refuse tying down. This is part of the life of faith.
     Some of us who believe in Jesus as the Redeemer, Son of God, only begotten of the Father, doubt ourselves when locked up on purpose with our thoughts. "As a Christian, why do I write, when there is already a profusion of words? Why add more? Hasn't all been said?"
     Yet, one does not ask, "Are there already too many candles lit to reveal the way or light bulbs waiting to cast out darkness?"
     In Shadowlands, C. S. Lewis has a student at Oxford who says that his school teacher father told him, "We read to remind ourselves that we are not alone." A profound explanation also for why writers write.  

Writers that claim to write only for themselves cannot win my belief that that is true. I find the claim almost impossible to believe, although I have not walked in those shoes, so how can I know for sure? I cannot help challenging, however: "If you write only for yourself, for your pleasure or relief, then why do you deliberately make your writing public?" The desire to connect with others must be there, if only for attention. That, too, is a form of connection.
     I write daily. Whatever I write, it will connect with someone somewhere at some time unknown to me. I pray the effect will profit them. I do not write lightly very often, and very often I wish I could. I sort of plod along. Yet, plod I must, and I have learned to respect plodding.
     Sometimes I am tracking thoughts and impressions as they change. They narrow or widen. Increasingly I notice how much I long to delve deeper in the inner life and to find better expression for that. It's part of holding onto something unnamed that is trying to get my attention for an important reason I cannot guess. It may have to do with interpretations earlier, now broadening or changing altogether. It may have to do with perceptions growing brighter or dimmer, as the case may be. This draws the writer to admit certain things and then to seek to be true to that. I am not as afraid or embarrassed as I once was to see my glaring weaknesses compared with those whose strengths of discernment and expression have helped me in vital ways at precipitous times.
     I still scribble on the backs of envelopes and margins of certain books. I started the habit long ago of using that habit like a coded diary. Sometimes I have added dates to the margin. When we reread the familiar with new notes we see that it has met us afresh, not quite exactly as it did the first time. We recognize it, yet differently now. It means more...or less. We are not where we were then. This is especially true of the holy words.
     Like the blasts of unseen winds, words and meanings wake us up again under different circumstances, different places on the path. It is faith, after all, that called us into the relatively unknown, to us, landscape of faith. This supernatural gift for the mind and heart that we call faith leaves us unsatisfied with just the little that we have. Yet, seeking more that lies in the familiar Word and shining on it the helping glimmer of faith...has to cost us. What helps us bear the most costly parts are that the seeking of God faithfully will, at some point, relieve, comfort, or amaze us. Yes, it baffles us, but we can, we learn, bear that. Searching, as if through the glass darkly, we lean into God in the hope of getting even a glimpse of one new glowing ray. However thin it might be, however little or much we came near to seeing that way before, we search for treasures of God, personal for us as well as universal. 
     Again, when this happens, we want to, or we must, write. 

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