There have been a few Novembers where I've done the NaBloPoMo challenge, which is to write a blog post every day for a month. I start out using up the ideas I've been meaning to write about, maybe write a few meaningless things, and then I start to get down to nitty gritty things that my soul actually needs to say, and the commitment to write becomes a useful excuse to actually get important things out of my system. The last time I did this in November, I ended up really pissing somebody off. I never set out to piss people off, but in reality when it happens it's not always a bad thing. Did not Jesus say "Woe to you when all speak well of you?" I just realize that there are some aspects of my life I can only get to when I write. Which is why I write and why I always have written as the primary means of understanding, of arriving at my actual heart. I cannot give to God that which I do not possess, and I cannot possess something that I haven't arrived at.
So I write.
No every-day-for-a-month challenge, but how about every-day-while-I-can. That should do it.
I know that if I write enough, it will be more therapeutic than screaming. Screaming, after all, hurts your throat. Writing, done well, always gives me that sense of having summarized everything. I either summarize everything, or I am left knowing that I haven't gotten it all yet. Both, I suppose are useful in their own way. I get a very deep sense of peace from feeling I have written well and said everything that I have to say. I never get a sense of peace from screaming.
So the scream-every-day-for-a-month idea is right out, I think.
When I graduated from high school I wanted to be a professional writer, and my English teacher encouraged me to go for it. This was back in the day when I had a manual typewriter and a copy of Writer's Market and lots of paper and envelopes. I used to sit down and force myself to write every day then, too. In fact, I still have things I wrote then. I sold one article I wrote to an Assemblies of God magazine and I was ecstatic. That whole ecstasy thing only lasted one summer, though. I wrote a lot, but I had no one to read it.
In college I always used to say that I was born in the wrong decade. Come to think of it, I said it mostly because one of my professors put that idea into my head. He knew I was a hippie at heart so he thought I should have been born in the 40s like he was, to come of age in the summer of love instead of being a fetus then. But now I think I was born at exactly the right time to be currently living in the age of the internet. One of my biggest life regrets to date is that I did not buy myself a computer and get on-line when I lived in Japan in the late 90s. I probably would have saved myself a lot of suffering that way. I used to wait with my breath held when I heard the postman's scooter pull up. I counted the number of steps I heard him take to the second floor, and I knew just how many seconds it took him to reach my door and stuff my mail in. And I knew if it took too many seconds that I was not to get any mail that day. And I had to wait another 24 hours for any hope of a letter.
Normal people, I guess, talk with others. So I've heard. Oh, I do, too. But nothing will really ever take the place of writing. I started writing every day when I was 10. I wrote letters to my best friend, Gail, even though we also saw each other almost every day. Writing was about saying important things, things we wanted to talk about (especially things I wanted to talk about). And even at that age I often finished a letter with a better understanding of whatever it was that I wanted to talk about. I guess that's really why I write. I write because I want to understand. I don't understand and I want to. Sometimes I don't even know what it is I don't understand. But I know that if I write long enough, my soul will let it come out.
Maybe this is like going on a silent retreat and letting all the noise and commotion inside calm down and quiet down.
You know what, I'm actually quite sick of contrasting myself with "normal people" and considering whether I was born in the wrong era or not. I don't even really do that nearly as much as I once did, but still I find myself mentioning it when presenting myself in a public forum. I'm just who I am. I'm just a person. I used to think that to be considered good or holy I had to have a different personality, or just be someone else. That's just wrong. I am the way God made me. I'm a limited human being, but somehow God likes us that way. We all have strengths; we all have weaknesses. I heard a preacher talk about this once and when it really hit me my jaw almost fell to the floor. God made us this way, she said, so that we could know we need each other. God loves us in our strengths and weaknesses because this way we know we are not complete in ourselves. We need others. The first time I really heard that with my gut it blew me away.
I don't know about you, but I feel all my irritating incompleteness, and my first gut reaction is not to run towards people yelling, "Hi! I'm incomplete and I need you!" My gut reaction is more like "man, you don't want to see this shit." But we do, don't we. I mean, if we are honest, we want to know that someone else struggles. Seeing you face your struggle gives me the courage to face mine, and vice versa. So, the big enemy is pride. Pride says "I don't need anyone, thank you." Pride is lonely. Pride sucks.
And pride makes me self-conscious about the fact that I'm the only one who is like me on this earth; that I have to write and write to get into my heart and feel anything real and even understand my own thoughts.
Humility is the key to intimacy. Jesus came by way of a manger and obscurity in order to win over the hearts of mankind. He didn't mind needing other people to stay alive. If God chose to make Himself needy, how do I respond to the need I can't help but have?
I moan a little. And even though I might feel like screaming, I blog instead.