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March 11, 2012 / CB

A Place to Begin

photo by Kevin Rawlings, via Wikimedia Commons

My stock & trade has long been wrapped up with words.  It’s important to know that, I think, as a place to begin.  I’ve been an English teacher since college, a writer since high school, and a reader as long as I can remember.  I love language with a passion I find hard to express even in writing, where I am far more lucid and eloquent than in conversation.  I seek out beautiful sentences and consider words, or even parts of words, for longer than I really should.  Most people deal with language as a clear pane of glass. It gives them access to the world, but they rarely stop to look at it, let alone clean it.  To me, though, words are pieces of stained glass.  They create a window which is constantly changing and endlessly fascinating, coloring everything I see.

As I’ve gotten older, my relationship with words has only grown deeper, but it has also grown parallel to my relationship with God.  Like everyone, my path has wound through detours, breakdowns, and wrong turns.  All the same, it has inexorably led me to God and to a relationship with his Son.  Over the last few years, my faith has deepened and become more central to my daily life.  As I actively follow the Christian Way, I have turned over vast tracts of who I am to God, given over to Him all that is most precious to me.  The one great exception to this move has been my words, my writing.  In some ways, I think it was easier to surrender control of my soul and to trust Him with the care of my family.  Those are the big things, after all, and are obviously important to Him.  My writing, though?  Why would God care about that?  It has been easier to keep that separate because, despite my passion for it, it simply seemed less important.  Or at least, I tell myself it seems less important to God.

Not long ago, I realized how hypocritical it was to claim I had given my life to God while keeping my writing separate from my faith.  Illumination came, as it has before, when I was challenged.  God looked me square in the eye and asked, ‘What can you give to my kingdom?’  I turned and looked in my life, considered the solitude of my self, and realized there was only one thing to give.  It’s the only thing I’ve ever been good at and the one thing I’ve never turned to God’s use.  Writing is the greatest talent He’s given me, but I’ve never known how to use it in His service.  In fact, I still don’t.

All the same, like Abraham, here I am.

I don’t know what this blog will become or how it will evolve under God’s care, and, to be honest, that terrifies me.  In putting words down for my own purposes, I’ve always been in control.  The stories were mine to tell and shape as I saw fit.  I mimicked God in my own small, created worlds.  Now, though, I’m writing for a reason beyond myself and my linguistic obsession.  So, this is me setting out with only a staff.  I will mull over words and faith here, and I as I do, I pray He will do something great through this little thing I have to give.

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