Friday, March 16, 2012

A Writer's View from the Tree (and Our Vision)

People who think writing is a gift usually aren't writers.

Writing is hard.

It's knowing that when you step out of the shower the words that sprayed from the nozzle so beautifully will drip to the floor and pool around your feet in a muddled pool of nothingness. Once wiped, they are gone.

It's a hunter trying to aim at an escapable squirrel leaping from tree to tree. It's a trainer holding a steady whip while prompting tigers to sit in a straight row, knowing it's next to impossible if those tigers aren't trained well. It's a farmer looking across an empty wheat field and seeing it hidden in fog and buried in dirt. It's a painter trying to paint God's creation on blank white. It's a mother looking into the unfathomable face of her newborn baby trying to know his mind, his heart, his soul and, when nothing reveals itself, she simply embraces the mystery and kisses the depth of it in total surrender.

It's a lone man climbing a tree in order to hear One Voice among many.

Ann Voskamp says that writing is "...a handicap, this scratching it down. Some folks understand their life in the living it—I can only see it, understand it, in the second living of it: the writing of it. Thus, why I keep blogging."  (Eucharisteo)

That clearly defines one reason I still blog after eight Januarys of learning something new.

It also tells me why I go through life not being able to properly express my thoughts without an pen in hand and, even then, the ink flows slowly, blotted, clumped, riddled.

Like Moses' stuttering tongue, writing is a handicap.

For some of us it's our way of trying to touch, hear, and see what is otherwise escapable, untrained, hidden in fog, buried in dark, unmarked on canvas, and unfathomable in the depths of its mystery. It's our way of trying to understand what's going on around us. It's our way of trying to speak loud enough when all God has graced us with is a whisper.

It's being Zacchaeus in a loud, crowded world full of voices and questions. It's Zacchaeus trying to climb out of the way yet wanting to know what's going on in the same breath. It's Zacchaeus, despite his short stature, trying to see directly into the eye of the crowd. It's Zacchaeus in a tree trying to keep his eye on the one true Voice that graced the earth while so many voices, obstacles, and opinions block his view.

It's knowing that climbing a tree in our crippled state is nothing compared to the way Christ hung from a tree in his crucified state.

Ann writes: "Honestly, writing words for me is this startling experience of meeting the Word."

Writing should be, for all writers, a way to get other people to look towards the Word...even if it means leaving the crowded streets, climbing high into the branches of a sycamore tree, and looking down so that our eyes can behold Jesus and our ears can hear his message.

Let us never lose sight of that responsibility despite our handicap. That sight is what gives us our vision.


  1. This Ann is a good person to read. Writing shows us and other all of God's creation. All the elements of life may or may not be apparent. In the faith of God or not, all words could not exist in our world.

    Great post. Thank you.

  2. This is beautiful and it resonates with me. Shared it on twitter and would like to pin, with credits, on Pinterest. There is a Catholic community there on the Catholic Pinterest board of 923 readers. Would that be okay with you? (Most of my blog traffic now comes from Pinterest.)

  3. Thank you, Allison. By all means, share. I didn't realize so much activity was coming off Pinterest. I have an acct but seldom go there. Will definitely have to ck out the Catholic Pinterest. Do you have the link, Allison?

  4. Here you go, Cay.

    It's a vibrant place and growing everyday in leaps and bounds.


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