[Thoughts from the conference where I'll be this week: Writing and the Pastoral Life. I'm in rural Minnesota, at St. John's University and Abbey]
I woke up this morning with words, with a prayer of thanksgiving on my lips. I woke up with this almost violent need to write. Write what? Who knows? Write how? Does it matter? I might just have scribbled on napkins if I had to.
I'm afraid that what I've been afraid of all along is coming true: that once I start, once I allow myself to write-- I might never stop. That the yearning in my own soul to give rise to words might just overtake me, and might change my life forever. I'm afraid that the words might ask something of me, call me to a challenge that I might not yet be ready to rise to.
I went on a five mile hike this morning-- and the blessed peacefulness and silence almost overcame me. But the silence was overcome by words: lots and lots of them about all sorts of things. Perhaps these words have been here all along, but there are so many other words that are always bombarding me that I can't hear my own.
And if there is too much noise for me to hear my own words, imagine how hard it is to hear The Word. The Word which shocks, and surprises, and interrupts, and changes, and is. The life giving Word that sometimes I'm too busy to hear.
"Graceland" is the name of my favorite song and album. It's by Paul Simon, but more importantly, it's what "home" sounds and feels like to me. We always listened to this album as we traveled from my home in Tennessee to my parents' childhood homes in Florida. But today, it's also a pretty good snapshot of my theology. Somewhere I really believe that the Christian journey is all about a wild trip to Grace-land. As I see it, Grace-land is the place where God is waiting to meet even us–with all the baggage and brokeness that we tote with us. Grace-land is the place where we will be received with open arms, even though our attempts at “getting it right” have been miserable failures at best. But, I think, every step we take is a step on the journey to Graceland.