listen to your life
So I’ve been agitating and provoking my friends to start blogging again. I’m not sure I expected anyone to actually respond, but it seems I underestimated my powers! Sam has got back on his soap box. Vox is lifting up his voice again. Espero is doing her honest and hopeful thing as only she can. A few faithful bloggers had never gone away (like Kevin and Sharon and Dave and Gemma). Others have started up recently without needing any poking from me (Wee Frizz). I’m hoping a few more will join the party over the next few weeks and start or revive their blogs (I’m looking at you, Rachel and Lorraine).
(Update: it turn out wee Wylie-Neill had beaten me to it and has broken her long silence here. Word is that wandering Wendy is also waivering. Jenzo has been blogging away so we have lots to catch up on. Small Corner is feeling hard done by but a quick check confirms she wrote one blog post in 2013. So, you know, get your blog on. More updates will appear here as they break.)
I value the conversation that can be stirred up by blogs. Someone asked me why I prefer the conversation on blogs to the kind we can have on Facebook. I think it’s something to do with slowing down. Facebook is fast, always changing and updating. It’s easy to drop a quick comment, a quick like, it costs nothing, we don’t even have to stop watching TV to do it. I find it compulsive and addictive and entertaining and mostly unsatisfying.
But when someone sits down and writes something about their life, about their thoughts and ideas, their hopes and fears and joys and sorrows, about what is inspiring or depressing them – well then I think that deserves a few minutes of my time to brew some coffee, and then to read and digest and ponder. And then maybe a few minutes more to respond – to agree, to disagree, to cheer, to celebrate or lament with them, to say “me too!” or “yes, but…” or “what do you mean by…?” or “I wonder if…” We blog to know we’re not alone.
The challenge I’m setting myself is to learn to write a little more about the everyday and ordinary. I tend to live in a world of ideas. I’m most comfortable writing about my latest theological and philosophical musings than about about what’s going on in my life and my heart. And partly that’s OK, that’s the way I’ve been wired, that’s what I love and maybe what I’m good at, so for me to write honestly about my life will include writing about Big Ideas.
But I’d also like to learn to pay attention to the small things that particularly stir my heart – whether they are things in movies or books or music, or things I see walking down the street, or things that happen in our little home, or things that rise up in me without any obvious cause. This little quote from Frederick Buechner has long been a favourite and I guess it kind of sums up what I’d like to learn to do:
Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.
I’d like my writing to be a way of being awake, paying attention to the story of my own life, looking for signs of grace, listening for “whispers from the wings of the stage.” Another quote has been following me around for the last couple of weeks, this time from a novel by Walker Percy:
Not once in his entire life had he come to rest in the quiet center of himself but had forever cast himself from some dark past he could not remember to a future that did not exist. Not once had he been present for his life. So his life had passed like a dream. Is it possible for people to miss their lives the way one can miss a plane?
I guess my hope is that maybe blogging can be a way of being present to my own life, because I don’t want to miss anything. And maybe reading and responding to each other’s blogs can be a way of being present to each other, listening to each other’s lives as well as our own. Anyone else want to get on the plane?