Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Sometimes you read a piece of writing and it just sticks. The piece of writing by Marianne Williamson I share toward the end of this post, has stuck with me ever since I first read it. Like many other great pieces, it was, for a while, incorrectly attributed to a famous person. Such is the case when the world finds it difficult to believe that profound work can come from a not-known or lesser-known human being.
I did not have this piece in mind when I started this blog – a part of my Create Your Own Productions move – five years ago. Neither did I have in mind the fact that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr had delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963. As I thought about this anniversary piece, however, I knew it had to reiterate the foundational “Arise, shine” as Isaiah 60: 1-3 moved me in 2008. It was my kick-in-the-pants; my shot-in-the-arm; my it-has-started-hurting-bad-enough moment. And, that year, with my mother’s encouragement, “Why not create your own…?” and Usain Bolt and #TeamJamaica’s inspirational achievements in Bejing, I had to act. It took far more courage than I thought I had in me – I’d be open to public ridicule for poor writing, is what I thought – but I did it. I was on the verge of suffocating from too many words caught in my throat. I simply had to write – or suffocate.
In that moment, too, I grabbed hold of the support that was the truth of that passage:
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
So, it was an elongated moment where many sources of inspiration came together. Looking back, had I not been stewing in a state of despair; feeling oh so forlorn, that gave way to seeking hope and strength and inspiration, I might not have made that one simple courageous step.
I imagine that many will look on and ask, “Sooo, ummm, where’s the fruit of your work?” Ummm, you’re reading it; make that, a piece of it. I am not about to give my résumé of pieces I’ve written; pieces I’m writing. Simply put, I feel happy – who would’ve thunk it? – that I am doing what I set out to do. Still desire to be published but, in the meantime, it is important to me to keep this date of the 8ths – 8th; 18th and 28th for posting – and I have not broken that promise to myself. And, of course, my out-of-the-public’s-eye writing goes on.
One other piece of the fruit – and the sweeter part – is the intangible. (For, you can always print these posts. Just please remember to ask permission first. Feel free to link back to them, though.) Now and again I’ll get a comment from someone saying how much it touched/moved/inspired them; how much they appreciated it; how they experienced a lift in their spirit, and so on. Sigh. When you don’t know the difference you make… That right there is the juice and the succulence and the joy and the warmth of it that makes me feel humbled and blessed, that God would use me to do this. (And, yes, I was kinda thinking about millie mango when I wrote that. J)
Thank God – not a phrase, really – I thank God, that I am no longer suffocating. There are new media through which I write and, one of the things that keep me grounded; keep me home; keep me shielded; keep me unscathed from the cynical and the bitter and the sub-tweets and sub-posters and sub-texts, is the fact that I am honest in my writing. Some things get through, and I like that. I’d rather not have a skin so thick that the helpful criticism is kept out with the unkind. But, for the most part, I am at home and sheltered, in the honesty. Remember the bit I shared by C.S. Lewis the other day?
Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that’s the whole art and joy of words.
Yeah. So, I re-read and go, yes, that is what I wanted to say. (Except for that one time the other day when I skirted an issue for fear of being dragged into a brouhaha… But, let’s not revisit that, ok?) I honestly believe that, since people are people wherever you go, being honest from the depth of my heart on an issue will resonate with at least one other human being; will have relatability. My feelings have to be centered somewhere. And, it shows where, when I share them.
This gets its own paragraph: I don’t know why other writers write. But, one of the highlights of my writing is someone saying, “I know exactly what you mean. I can relate to that.” It is not necessarily in that order. They say it however they want, but, you know what I mean.
And, before I close this post, I thank you, all of you, who take the time to read these posts. Thank you, all of you, who take the time to comment on the content or simply to encourage me. To those who’ve been there from the start – my mother, my youngest sis and other members of my birth family – thank you for your support.
Continuing with the theme of shining in this anniversary month, it is my pleasure to share the following with you. From her book, A Return to Love, this is Marianne’s piece, the excerpt popularly known as: Our Deepest Fear. (And, no, I don’t know her like that, but I don’t think she’d mind.)
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Let's use it all up. Arise; shine!