The difficulty is that the things that I really long to say in this space cannot always be expressed, for many reasons. Instead I take side trips, into politics, or ecclesiology, or theology, or sometimes just plain silliness...badger, badger, mushroom! I think there is a place for those topics, and a bit of foolishness now and then, and appreciate those blogs that focus on such specific themes. But that's not what I had hoped this place would become.
I'm not sure exactly what my expectations are for Jake's place. But in the last few days, I've seen glimpses in the words of others that have caused a stirring of something within. Perhaps following this internal nudge will help me discover the root of my latest compulsion to write something, anything, in this space daily, even when I know the words will often fail to dance near what is really bubbling up from the inside. It's as if as long as the words keep flowing, the hope lives on that once in awhile the dance will glide close to the silenced longings of the heart.
In the last couple of days I've stumbled across some real gems from my much-neglected blogroll. Real Live Preacher offered these words a few days ago;
Tonight I wish it was like the old days with Real Live Preacher, back when I was anonymous and no one in my church knew about this blog. For some reason this is where I want to come when I’m sad. I want to come here and write. I think of Real Live Preacher as a place. I know that’s a little strange. The blog software comes on the screen and I feel like I’ve left my life behind. I feel like I’m the one that matters here. My feelings matter. What I need matters.For those who might not know RLP, he is one of the most gifted faith-based bloggers on the net. What caught my eye in this entry was thinking of RLP as a place; a safe comfortable place. I understand that feeling. I also understand his frustration in having to be careful now. It feels like a grieving process when the space no longer feels safe.
Only it’s not the old days. And I have to be careful in what I write. Not because I might hurt someone at the church, but because I have to be careful that I don’t use this blog as a backwards and roundabout way of sending messages to my church family. That’s a real temptation. It’s the sort of thing you could do without thinking much about it. It wouldn’t be healthy either.
Today I visited Bob on The Corner and discovered a post that is one of the best things I've read in some time. It is a marvelous piece, not only because of Bob's skills as a wordsmith, but in the way that he invites others into the conversation.
He tells us about a book written by Renee Alston, Stumbling Towards Faith, and her recent virtual book tour through the blogoshere. He goes on to offer some amazing words about creating safe spaces for the soul;
Renee's story of audacity in the midst of evil is one that resonates to our very core. Renee has written us into her story, creating a communal space - one that is bounded, safe and trustworthy - in which a soul's work can be done, its grounding, connecting, truth-telling and life-giving work.This dances close. Creating spaces in which the soul can feel at home. Yes; that dances really close.
How often do we come together in ways that welcome the soul and make it feel safe? It often seems that the answer is not very often or not nearly often enough. We know a lot about how to create spaces that invite the intellect to show up, analyzing reality, parsing logic and arguing its case. We know at least a little bit about creating space that invite the emotions into play, reacting to injury, expressing anger and celebrating joy. We are expert at creating spaces that invite the ego to put in an appearance, polishing its image, protecting its turf and demanding its rights. But we seem to know very little about how to create spaces in which the soul can feel at home, able to speak its vulnerable, challenging and transforming truths.
Bob offered a link to Renee's site, on which I found this;
...a fabulous thing about bloggers, i've discovered, is that nearly every one of us has our own particular "soapbox;" ongoing passions and burning issues inside of us that clamour to be let loose on our blogs. we write both to be heard and to hear. we write to invite people into our heads, to dialogue about the world, to talk about what goes onside of us, and to find a place that is ours."I feel like I’m the one that matters here"..."able to speak (the soul's) vulnerable, challenging and transforming truths"..."to be heard and hear"..."to find a place that is ours." These are all pieces of the fascination for those of us enthralled by this medium. Words on a screen having the power to nurture, enlighten, transform, convict and give wings to the the soul. What an amazing thing.
Returning to The Corner, I found one last quote from a place I'd never visited from an author I didn't recognize;
I write because I kept my mouth shut all my life. I write because I am alone and move through the world alone. No one will know what has passed through me, and even more amazing, I don't know. I write because I am crazy in some ways and I know it and accept it and I have to do something with it other than go to the loony bin. I write because there are stories that people have forgotten to tell, because I am a woman trying to stand up in my life. I write because to form a word with your lips and tongue or think a thing and then dare to write it down so you can never take it back is the most powerful thing I know. I am trying to come alive, to find the distances in my own recesses and bring them forward and give them color and form. I write out of total incomprehension that even love isn't enough and that finally writing might be all I have and that isn't enough. I can never get it all down, and besides, there are times when I have to step away from the table, notebook, and turn to face my own life. Then there are times when it's only coming to the notebook that I truly do face my own life. And I write out of hurt and how to make hurt okay; how to make myself strong and come home, and it may be the only real home I'll ever have.
-Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down The Bones..."the only real home I'll ever have..." So close, it's almost within sight...
Words have escaped me. I need to lean on yours. Help me see more clearly, and in the process, possibly cleanse your own lenses. What compels you to draw together words, mold and temper them, and then launch them out into cyberspace?