Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Moment in Time Wherein We all Pause and the Author Recites her Memoir

If I had to classify my life in a type of genre, I think it would have to be some kind of raw, urban fairytale. The rawness to keep it truthful and the fairytale bit celebrates the fact that I am alive and just living is a grand adventure!

I see the world differently from the average, garden variety John Doe, I think. I have heard some photographers say that they: ‘See the world through their lens.’ I like that, it has a poetic ring to it. And I—well, I see the world through words. Every smell, every feeling, glance, conversation, song, laugh, color, sunset, touch, relationship, emotion, sigh, and quiet happy moment can attach itself to words. Words. Beautiful words. How I love using them! They are like some precious dangerous thing that we are entrusted.

I like to attach a story to everything and everyone I meet. To me, everything is a mystery worth finding out whether it be: an abandoned house, a new neighbor, or a stray mutt.

Within three seconds of meeting someone I’m asking myself a dozen questions about them. Secretly, I cast a few glances down at their hands. Next to the eyes and vocal timbre, the hands say the most about a person. What kind of hands does he have? Soft, thin skinned, long fingers—the scholarly type or a desk worker. Tanned, harry and round-veined—the outdoorsy, active personality. Its hard having a critical, writer’s eye for things because then you have to be so darn honest about what you see. In order to write truthfully you have to be analytical. I can’t just say: “the man was ugly.” I have to describe the unique characteristics of his face that make him fall under that classification…

He was the ugliest man I had ever seen. His shapeless potato nose (which looked like it had been broken one too many times) was red and porous from years of excess drinking.

And then, dear-oh-dear, I check myself. I ask the question: is all this scrutiny okay? Are these the kind of thoughts a church-going-elder’s-daughter should be thinking? Better still, are these the kind of thoughts one who is pursuing holiness ought to have? I had come to a crossroads—no—I was in an epic game of tug-of-war…and I was the rope. God vs. Me. Faith vs. Fantasy. Right vs. Wrong.

But what was wrong? Was it really wrong to want to depict truth in its honest and truest form? Was it wrong to draw from life in this way, even if wasn’t completely about redemption and holiness and grace all that time? After all, I wasn’t writing immoral things just daily observational things, some were profound epiphanies, others just my random thoughts.

Additionally, I wonder…does all this scrutiny make me a detective or a neighborhood busybody…

Derek Shepherd, Detective, solves mysteries before they’re afoot, never counts the cost, brave, daring, tall-dark-n-handsome, with a casual, half-smile he breaks a dozen hearts, he strolls around confidently smoking a cigarette and has the best comebacks, thinks on his feet and always wears an even poker faces.

Hm, no. Regrettably, I am not like the very fictional, tween heart throb Derek Shepherd (I made him up, FYI, you won’t find this dream man on Facebook search ladies). My definition of daring is mixing peanut butter in my yogurt, I have scared small children when I practiced the “casual half-smile” and all my best comebacks are two days tardy. So, detective? I don’t think so.

Silva Stocks peeked for the third time out the window to the teenage couple talking across the street. She recognized the girl, Megan Williams, the pastor’s daughter. But the boy, who was he? Strange looking young man and—oh—my! Horror of horrors! Blessed morals and goodness! Could it be? Did he really—no he couldn’t possibly—yes he did! He had two, cheap diamond earrings—in his EARS! Silva rushed to the phone and dialed a number with shaking hands.

“Debbie! Yes, it’s Silva! I have some bad news about your daughter…”

Um, I don’t think my tendency to stare and spy has gone to that extreme, thank heavens, but I’ll keep myself in-check.

So what is my problem? How does this obsession to record life in an honest, down-to-earth way stay in-check? Best of all, how do I express these things with my Christian values remaining as the foundation?

Since I couldn’t find an answer I realized something had to change. I grieved the death of my personality as a carried it up the mountain and laid it on the altar to sacrifice it to the Lord. I was doing it because I loved God more than my quirky habits and creativity. With trembling hands I held up the knife. But then God reminded me of something that in all my zeal for righteousness, I hadn’t thought of before.

“I created you with a curious mind.”

I frowned lowering the knife. “Did you say that Lord? ‘Cause I thought you wanted me to die to myself?”

But God continued to show me that he delighted in my uniqueness and curiosity of the world. Yes, dying to my sinful nature is imperative, and God has done so much sanctifying in me in being careful with my words. But I have to separate the two issues and realize that He never meant for me to die to everything that makes me… That’s just stupidity. I can still write with passion and truth and remain faithful to Him. Christ called fishermen. Messy men with free wills and misconstrued presuppositions about Him, but He called them all the same.

The Lord has given me passion a to write. I just needed to think about it rightly and not worship or compromise it.

So, guess what? I can die to myself and live more fully because of that death. There is nothing good in me, but a because of Christ I am a daughter and His beloved. What an insane paradox this faith is! What a bright and dazzling adventure!

So anyway, that’s me. You can you can applaud, disagree, or you can scratch your head in utter confusion.

Yours Curiously,


1 comment:

  1. Words....What is in a word Miss Vieman? Or hands, or a tone, or a person, or a song? Perhaps some things were created and seen only to be pondered, treasured and loved. God is mysterious and transparent at the same time. He is all in all. Reading what you wrote was amazing...