on writing

My husband just sent me this article on 15 famous authors and why they write. I could read the rationales of 100 great authors on why they write and not get bored.

Judy Blume says:

Those of us who write do it because there are stories inside us burning to get out. Writing is essential to our well-being.

I get this. Sometimes the ideas are nothing but a wretched muddle of my fragments in my head but writing can be healing. The words belong on the paper. Getting them out is good for me (and for the people around me).

As Joan Didion said:

write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.

Writing is a voyage of discovery into one’s own soul. I rarely know where my blog posts are going when I start them. The process of writing can be deeply revealing about what I think and feel and why.

Stephen King captures the two-way nature of writing:

In the end all writing is about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.

I often wrestle with the question – why would anyone want to read what I say/think? I pray my writing enriches other’s lives and I’m thankful that since starting this blog various friends, colleagues and acquaintances have encouraged me with their feedback. Most of the time I have no idea if what I write helps or hinders other people’s lives but the truth is – I would write even if I knew no-one was reading.

I am a writer.

My husband gave me a hat for Christmas just because he thought it looked like a writer’s hat. He has been ascribing me with the title ‘writer’ for a couple of years, but I’ve only recently settled into it.

the writer, the hat and the husband, January 2012

Writing makes me ‘come alive.’ In writing I learn more of myself and more of my maker. The more I write, the more I want to write. I hope and pray this passion only ever grows.

Worship worthy

Yesterday I went along to the City Bible Forum in Sydney for the first time – a weekly lunchtime meeting investigating what the Bible says about different issues.

Working with missionaries all over the world as part of my job exposes me to some of the realities of life for people serving and living in countries where security risks for Christians are high. It reminds me to be thankful for the freedom we enjoy in Australia to gather around the Word.

The talk was on the theme, “Must love always end in tears?”  Now, tonight I’m sitting here with dry tears on my face after watching the start of a romantic comedy where a man loses his wife in a car accident.

The end of love whether through death or otherwise, is excruciatingly painful.

Worship of something is inevitable for humans. Bertrand Russell said “love ceases to be a demon when it ceases to be a god.” I don’t think we can love someone too much, but we can put the wrong thing in first place – and that will certainly end in tears.

God has always commanded that we make him our first love. We were challenged yesterday to consider that if the object of our worship is anyone/thing other than God, it will almost certainly, destroy us. The object of our worship must be worthy of it.

Love is painful. Jesus has been there – confronted by his friends mourning for the loss of their brother Lazarus, he wept (John 11). He had compassion for the woman at the well whose own love life had likely been deeply painful and unsatisfying. He pointed her to himself, the Christ, the one who could offer living water, eternal life – through the only truly satisfying love relationship possible.

How good it is that there is a bigger picture, one who is truly worthy of our love, a God who from the beginning has called us to worship Him alone and who came to earth to show us how.

I long to love God with all my heart, soul and mind. It’s a regular prayer of mine. And as I love him more, though there will certainly be pain, I will love others more like Jesus did. I will love my husband well.

Though inevitable, death is not the end. Our hope is in an eternity with our supreme love, the all-powerful, gracious God who romances us like no human being ever could or will.

my soul’s longing

A couple of weeks ago when I started my new job and I found myself back in the familiar hustle bustle of the CBD, I began craving vast open spaces. I yearned from somewhere deep within to be surrounded by nature.

And then it occurred to me that I hadn’t left Sydney in almost four months, not since I touched down from our round the world trip. That’s a lot of time to be in the suburbs, in one place, with people, buildings, cars, in constant, close proximity.

The week I started my new job did end with a brief overnight visit to a conference in the Blue Mountains. Although it was an important trip for my new job, a great opportunity to meet and be inspired by the stories of some of the missionaries, by the time I left it was my sixth day at work (and up until this one I had been enjoying four day working weeks), so I was pretty exhausted.

Yesterday was date day. No sales shopping for this girl (not yet anyway!) We drove south to the Royal National Park, and once in, Adam wound all the windows down in the car. Not something I usually enjoy, but as my hair was whipped into a frenzy and I breathed in the smell of the gum trees outside, there could be no denying – it was good. Later, standing on Garie Beach for a few moments, with the southerly wind blasting the salty Pacific air into my face, gazing up at the vast cliffs, my soul started refilling.

The rest of our afternoon entailed fish and chips and ice-cream and a stroll on the beach. Stepping off the little footbridge onto the sand and wriggling my toes around in it – I think that added a few drops into the soul tank too. As did a long time just sitting in the sand, mid-stroll, watching Adam shoot videos on our new camera and the waves crashing over the low-lying rocks along the shore, each one causing tiny cascading waterfalls. Planes flew overhead, the ferry came and went, strangers wandered by and kids screamed as they played in the sand a few metres away. But it didn’t matter. If only for a day, I was back in nature and some dwindling part of me was coming back to life.

the serene view from my spot on the sand

I wonder what it is that makes us humans need nature – to feel the sand between our toes, smell the salt air, see bushland all the way to the horizon and hear the sound of waves crashing on the shore. I knew I wasn’t trapped in the city, yet I felt ‘cooped up’ to a certain degree – perhaps more by the busyness of our schedule than by anything physical. It could be a bunch of things but above all, being in nature brings me back closer to its creator. That which I see, hear, feel, touch, smell points to Him. I’m a little closer, reminded of who I am and what matters, and my soul rejoices at the Lord of all creation.

This morning, after writing most of this post last night, I remembered the words of the Psalmist…

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

Psalm 42:1-2