I’m not sure if it is either one of the above… It is a report of an experience: one of those entirely subjective things that others may or may not understand – but is true, nonetheless.
This week’s reflection was a non-standard one – a freestyle poem/psalm that explored the idea of finding God in the Everyday. I have no idea how such writing will go over; if it will be understood, or will most folks simply scan it – or delete it, unread! – because they (like me) have trouble reading poetry?
I have trouble with poetry – even when it is re-reading my own! Just proofreading the text was a challenge for me; I much prefer lines of text that follow, end-sentence-period-space-new-sentence over the irregular line ends and odd capitalization that are the hallmarks of poetry.
Although my sense of … anxiety? curiosity? fear? is more pronounced tonight because of the style of the writing, it is not significantly different from my usual feelings of … wonder? hope? Sending out a reflection, an essay, a prayer or poem … all the same in that I hope that/wonder if people will understand what I intended.
Or, perhaps more accurately, that I’ve conveyed what I intended. Did I make myself clear? Did I leave enough “open space” for each individual to find him/herself in the story? What are the chances I’ll be misunderstood? Was my writing muddled? Did my sentences lack clarity, did I fail to express the major ideas?
These questions and more … will never be answered with certainty.
I’ve read essays and magazine articles in which author’s describe the release of a book or publication of an essay as like giving birth, or watching your child go off to the first day of school, or away to college.
It might be a bit like that, but more so I feel like the engineering staff at NASA: those guys who sit at their computer screens and watch as their “baby” takes to the skies. My portion of the project is a small one: it’s part of a collaboration – I can’t take credit for the good parts (they came from the Holy Spirit) but I still care tremendously about its success. And it also feels like a valid description because you really do “send it off” into the ether… and there’s no telling where it will land, or what it will encounter. You no longer have any control over it, but can only watch and wait (and pray).
The other thing that makes it bearable – even considering the flaws and failings of the author – is the wonderful phrase that was told to me by that nice fellow who was my mentor when I was with the UMC and sadly I can’t recall his name. Something like Schneider? Anyway, he said, (about preaching) “Always remember that the space between your lips and the congregation’s ears is filled with the Holy Spirit – and in that space anything can happen!”
That goes a long way to explaining why what we say isn’t always what someone else hears. Especially when the message they receive is one that gives them particular hope and joy. Then we seriously CAN see “God’s fingerprints” in the world!