A Word for the Weary: Part I

 

Isaiah 50:4-8a

Every morning I read a psalm and a few gospel verses, set the timer, and write into the sunrise.   There are days when when my lingering in bed or the demand of an early meeting squeezes my 20 minute practice into 5 or 10.  There are days when I stare at my timer impatiently, ready to get on to the real work of the day.  There are days when I doubt the words I write are worth their weight in ink.

But then there are those other days…

Days when I can’t write long or fast enough.  Days when my pen finally stops and I breathe heavily over pages filled with words somehow only partially my own. Words too desperately honest, too important, to be held back by my measured hand.  The seemingly formless scribbles concealing the rawest beauty.

Writing is the spiritual practice that helps me transcend the noise of my first conscious moments and listen.   Word by word, I am emptied like the body exhaling out every last bit of stale, constrictive, breath.  In the mystery of hand and mind moving at the same time,  I read back the surprising things I’ve written and breathe in refreshed, resting in a new space of center.

Writing invites me into self-examination before NPR tempts me with self-righteousness.   Writing affirms that I am enough before my inner-personal trainer tells me to run faster.   Writing (for myself and not anyone else) allows me see beyond my work the God who is working on me.

Writing is the discipline that reminds me that I need to hear the voice of the Lord before I have words to offer anyone else.  Isaiah writes, “The Lord has given me the tongue of a teacher that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.”   My worst writer’s block occurs when I forget that I am chief among the weary ones.  My pages stay empty when I write to meet my preconceived notions rather than whatever words my pen forms.  And so morning by morning I show up.  The timer is running…

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