I chase inadequacy. My pursuit has taken me through 12 years of teaching English to high schoolers, a Master’s degree, and a couple years of therapy plus some prescribed pills to make up for the mental health that leaked out of me along the way. All of this to sink my teeth into the power of words.
But why? Words are not enough–not right now, they aren’t. Because when faced with the most intense and complex Truths, words buckle beneath the weight of reality.
That’s why this is impossible to write–the reality I’m struggling to pin down reigns undefeated. It’s knocked out every one of my bizillion lightweight drafts, and although I’ve been known to kneel hard on reality’s chest and flail limp pencil wrists at its face… well… um… that’s as far as I get.
I admit there’s no subduing my opponent–
Reality. This Truth of mine
wild, savage, pure.
It bares its teeth and growls and dances true and bleeds life.
Who am I to tame it, to harness it with words?
After all, Truth is what Truth is.
It bows not to me.
In fact, it’s spent months mocking me–
this stupid, blinking, trash-talking courser and its ever-growing mob of misfit syntax. It’s got me all soggy in a spotlight encircled with the midnight rain, crying up past at that quintessential yellow streetlight in desperation like, “Cuuuuurrrrrrrrsssssse yooooou, cooouuurrrserrrr!!!”
So I’ve come to the concession that this thing I long to show you exists only in spirit and fire. These flat sentences are a synthetic syntactical replica of what burns in my bones. [Well, sort of. But we’ll get to that later.] This post is futile: I’m attempting to carve words from the stuff that boils up constantly from the epicenter of my soul. And I want you to feel its weight and texture, but the stuff is liquid, and have you ever tried to sculpt water? It’s like that.
Language–however awesome–does not rival the reality it aims to represent. Don’t get me wrong: I believe 14719% in the fearful power of words-well-formed. But I also believe that life lends that power:
It is the clay we use to shape our art.
It’s the reason a silent presence speaks
volumes more than piles of Hallmark’s finest platitudes.
It’s why the right words slip. like. water. through our fingers
in our most poignant moments.
It’s why the classics remain.
It’s why we sing.
And hurl paint at canvases and
drive fists through walls and
find long-lost peace in flaming sunsets.
It’s why this idea I’m chipping away at has already tried on a thousand deleted words. And why I’m tapping out these ones with amateur thumbs on a dark bumpy red-eye flight.`
I see words as clay, with varying degrees of quality. Truth is 100% top shelf: it comes only from purest slabs of damp, glittering clay sourced exclusively from magical clouds where sherbet-colored unicorns scarf down cotton candy for a living. Wise hands painstakingly shape that magical stuff into words that build Beauty, Justice, and Community.
Floors of frat houses and movie theaters manufacture the sticky, hairy ooze that is the base of the low-shelf stuff. Those syrupy, hairy clumps of nastiness are processed with toxic sock juice and your local wastewater treatment plant’s rejected sludge. Sick, self-serving souls then slap that shit around into careless lies and dangerous dogma. Still dripping, it’s furiously devoured by misled masses.
My hands are shaping, slapping, smoothing, crushing, and starting over and over and over again–attempting to define and convey reality–
a challenge worthy of our finest artists.
No wonder I’m struggling.
These words have ambition: they set out to describe my rock, my most-cherished anything. And they fight tooth and nail to cut through the cultural grease that warps the raw and true Beauty they toil to represent.
You should see the real Thing. You really should. Because it is undefeatable. Because it is the source of Light that remains in our darkening world. It is my everything. If you have seen any good, any sacrifice, any kindness from me; any peace despite my anxiety disorder; any confidence despite my failure to live up to societal expectations, well, it’s because of Him.
Yah, I just capitalized “him.” Which worries me because in the recesses of your imagination, I maybe just morphed into an alienated doorbell-ringer toting a pile of religious literature.
No matter, it’s not like that. I’m not preaching at anyone; I’m not saying “You’re wrong, I’m right.” I have no expectations or agendas for you. I just want to invite you to come swim in the deeper end. To float and twirl in the depths like we used to before being inundated by social media (irony?) and seduced by the shallows of our smart phones.
This is what I’m needing to tell you: I’ve noticed most people (Americans, anyway) are in the dark about real Christianity, and deserve to have some light shed on the pure stuff. Personally, I have found it to be profoundly true, historically valid, logically sound, incomparably unique among other religions, and ultimately life-giving.
I hope you consider following me here through a series of posts expounding on issues pertaining to faith, society, and human nature. I pray that you get a glimpse of the real Jesus and the real Truth. I pray your mind and heart be open. And mine too for always.
Love to you!<3