Thursday, March 31, 2011

What I have been doing lately

(Which is a great short story by Jamaica Kincaid, by the way)

This glum weather, the very opposite of spring, has made me dig my sweatpants and socks out again, and shoved my spring cheer back into hibernation. Grey weather oppresses my spirits. And these days, it feels like I'm not doing anything worth doing: a small job, a small town, planning a wedding months away, addressing invitations, and reading Roald Dahl's biography in the in-between time. Really? They feel like wasted days.

Yesterday I was moping around the house, feeling sorry for myself, and decided that I needed to get dressed up and get out of the house to cheer me up. So, off to the coffee shop with my poetry notebook in hand. I have not written in months. I sat and stared at the page for a while, wrote a few words, crossed a few words out . . . an hour later, I had actually managed to re-write the end of a poem I've been fighting with for a while. Some small accomplishment.

At this point, an elderly man sitting near me decides to engage me in conversation, asking if I'm writing, if it's for school, all about my school, if they argue about Christianity at said school, and what I want to do with my life. Somehow (probably because I was already feeling beaten down), I heard his questions and attitude as demeaning and judgemental, and I further sunk into the darkness that screams in my ear:

Why do you try? Why does it matter? Why should anyone listen to what you have to say?

I don't have an answer to that question. I don't know why anyone should listen. I don't know what I want to do with myself in ten years. I don't know why I continue to pound away at my poetry in a world that doesn't give two figs about literature of any sort. I'm afraid to care, because I care so much. My heart screams that this matters, that our world needs art to make us human again, needs the gospel to make us human again. And maybe I can play some small part in that.


What do you love, and how do you make it matter?

1 comment:

  1. Ah, my heart hurts for you, my dear friend.

    I can't give you all the affirmation you need in this area, but I know that you have a gift that needs to continue to be developed. It is a beautiful thing, and God has already used it to touch people (e.g. your published poems sparking my imagination and spurring me toward a deeper understanding of Christ's love).

    I wish you could see results from your work and your love all the time. I'm reminded of how Jesus talked about the seeds of the gospel being planted by one, watered by another, and harvested by a third. The planter has the most frustrating role, but it is most essential. The art you make and the passion you have for excellence and beauty plant seeds that you may not be able to see. I'm afraid this is the kind of truth you can't see with your eyes, but it is truth.

    You told me once, when I was musing about getting another degree and how it wouldn't be worth all the money, that sometimes learning for learning's sake is all you need. There doesn't have to be a purpose, because it is good in itself. It's wonderful when you get to share your loves with others who appreciate them, but do keep going even when you don't see the appreciation. I KNOW that the Giver appreciates it when you enjoy your gifts. I believe that it ministers to His heart when we do that.

    I wish I could fix things (and that God would fix things) NOW, but I know that you will meet new people soon that you will be able to connect with on this. I hope that those relationships and the good conversations you have about your passions become so beautiful that you forget what it was like to feel alone in this.

    Gah, I love you, Millie Jones!