06 Aug God and Writing
God and writing have always been mysteries that run throughout my life. Both are fairly unknowable but have strong presence. Neither can be nailed down and explained. Both haunt many people and force them outside themselves in a search for truth. Countless books have been written on both God and writing and I have read many of them. There are countless others. Having a relationship with either is a commitment to uncertainty and requires a person to trust a path without a destination. You are always being led – somewhere. You are always moving if you choose to follow. There will be unexpected discoveries – people, places, things. You will learn things about your self. You will be taken out of your self. You will be taken into others. There will be excitement and wonder and awe. Both can feel pretty maddening but also provide a substance difficult to find elsewhere.
I truly have experienced a life long journey into the mystery and confusion these two experiences have provided me. I have struggled to know who I am in relationship to both God and writing. Neither of them talk back to me and let me know how to be in relationship with them. They are like Mr. Miyagi who refuses to give Daniel an answer. They don’t ignore me but want my attention. They do not articulate answers. It’s more like, go over there, now go over there, now go over there. Paint the fence. Scrub the floor. What have you learned?
I’ve spent much of my life searching for certainty. Maybe that’s my book title. Searching for Certainty. It might just be this search that is killing off other parts of me. Parts that trust more, feel deeply, create and love freely. I still value things that are known and I don’t believe everything is up for grabs and socially constructed. There is truth, there is a knowable. But there is also everything else which is often mysterious. Art, music, poetry – these mediums explore the depth of human experience in a way that doesn’t give you nicely wrapped answers. But they help provide the richness in what it means to be human — that we are all on a journey. The journey forms our self if we choose to accept the invitation.
God and writing also make me feel closer to Being itself. They make me feel alive, like there is a reason at the bottom of all things, a life-source giving rise to all that is beautiful. When I truly embrace them I feel something like love. It’s hard to articulate the satisfying feeling in my chest. I was explaining to a writer friend of mine that when I write I feel known. Even if nobody reads it, I feel this sense of being known in a way I cannot experience in most other ways. I don’t know if God yet provides that for me. I struggle to rid myself of old religious baggage to more purely experience God on my own terms. Maybe it will be through writing that I experience both myself and God in new and personal ways.
God is found in creation. Not just his/her creation, but in that act of creation. Maybe not for everyone, but for artists. I can see why everything I’ve tried up to this point has been insufficient. I need to create, to open, to allow. God created beauty and art and mystery and awe. Why do I try so hard to find him in reason and belief and certain, well articulated answers?
I’ve also tried to know my writing through reason and certainty. I need to see where it will take me before I go. But I won’t find my writing that way so I haven’t found my writing that way. I don’t even know what “writing” means. Am I writer? When will I think I’m a writer? Will I be a writer or just write? Does it matter? Sort of. But if writing is a forest, I have only written about it from the outside. I have not gone inside. I’ve snuck up to take peeks but never commit to going inside. I have written things and thrown them in. I have flirted.
God and writing. But both feel true. Both call me, frustrate me, and keep me in wonder. There is enough truth to stay involved. So I will.