On September 30th the anonymous author over at Set Your Paths Straight answered questions that have weighed on my own mind for a long time.
Today is one of those days. I want to write. I need to write…but my thoughts are like spider webs – knitting together and then floating away. I can’t concentrate. So I sit before this screen and ask myself the question, “why must I write?”
The truth is there are millions of blogs out there and at least many thousands that are faith-based. Everyone has something to say, and now that we can all self-publish – it seems we think we have to say it. So, what makes me think what I have to write is important enough to be read?
It’s because of Him.
I write because of God…. because I have this pressure in me – to have one more chance to share (and make a difference for someone) – that Jesus is real. I write because if I didn’t do so – I would burst from the inside out. I want to jump and down and tell anyone who will listen that though people will forsake you, Jesus will not. I write because I am a broken vessel who has been given a particular heart for others who are as broken as me. I write because I know that Jesus came to heal the sick – and God knows we are all sick – mentally, physically, spiritually… so broken, so tragically broken.
I’ve really wrestled with these questions over the past few months. Sometimes I think I’m just throwing bricks into the Grand Canyon. I ask myself (a lot) “What’s the point?” Is this the greatest vanity project of all time for me?
I do my best to write well even if it doesn’t always work that way. I once harbored a small dream of attracting legions of readers and turning this into a successful literary career of some sort, but that was not meant to be. In many ways I’m glad for that unanswered prayer. In the end I write for God, and for me. I also write on the slim, small chance that something I say may break through all the noise, clutter and shouting of the blogosphere and find its way to the troubled or questioning mind of someone who needs it at that moment in time. That in some way, and somehow, I’m making a difference for someone. Anyone.
Last weekend, and for the first time in years, I watched Field of Dreams with my family. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies and I’ve watched it dozens of times. But last week these few lines (listed below) smacked me upside the head for the first time. It’s towards the end of the film, and Ray is frustrated because after doing all that he was asked to do by a disembodied voice (yes, really), risking his farm and his relationships with family and friends, his new friend Terry is asked to do something that Ray wanted to do. (I’m not going to explain the whole plot because I’m assuming you’ve seen it by now. If you haven’t, do so soon.)
Ray Kinsella: I did it all. I listened to the voices, I did what they told me, and not once did I ask what’s in it for me.
Shoeless Joe Jackson: What are you saying, Ray?
Ray Kinsella: I’m saying, what’s in it for me?
Shoeless Joe Jackson: Is that why you did this? For you?
So while I do in a small way write for me (because sometimes I just have to get it out or I’ll “burst from the inside out”), I ultimately write for God. And for you.
It’s like sowing seed in the Parable of the Sower. And it can be lonely work involving a lot of patience with little to no feedback.
But it’s enough. It has to be.
Oct. 2, 2015 – Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels
There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year he won the award for the best grown corn. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. “How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.
“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”
So is with our lives. Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.