Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Forest and the Trees

Whether it is with work or directions or wedding planning, details are not my forte; I see the forest rather than the trees. I am a classic Myers-Briggs INFJ in this sense, which I guess explains a lot about how I write, how I see God and the role of religion, and how I attempt to make my mark in the world. As far as ideas and inventions, I'll think it up...I just might not necessarily be the one to "make it happen." I am attracted or repelled by certain people and things by the energy they project, something that is not always tangible or easy to explain. Environment is important; instincts and intuition even more so.

Sometimes I wonder if I should use my head more than my gut, especially with the whole 'career crisis' I have been going through. I was offered a position in supports coordination for people with mental retardation a couple weeks ago and I took it, to have a job. I really want to be doing something "more," although that 'more' has been especially elusive lately. I didn't want to be sitting around twittling my thumbs (and draining my savings) waiting around for it to show up. It was a decision made with the head, not with the heart.

I guess that's why the title of a book on Debbie's bookshelf--Searching For God Knows What (Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz)--jumped out at me this afternoon. I wanted a book to keep occupied with on the way to my parents' house for the Meeting of the Future In-Laws. The book itself, I thought, was crap--it reminded me of something written by John Eldridge--a lot of fluff and personal testimony, urging people towards a vague "something more" (that is, something more than dogmatic religion), the "deepest urgings of the heart," etc., and pedding their wares, attempting to make a name for themselves and squeeze into the already overcrowded 'Christian-Inspiration' section at Borders. 'God books' are a hot ticket item in the writer's market, and it only makes good business sense to get in on the game. After all, if you could make your living writing about something you love....wouldn't you?

I don't aspire to be a famous author, or even a published author per se. I think blogging is enough for me. I am still slowly chipping away at the book, but it is a constant work in progress (I think "Sloth" might be an appropriate next chapter). Even in that way, though, what makes me any different from the John Elridges and Donald Millers of the world? Aren't I writing my own story--a story of the intersection between personal faith, religion, and mental illness? Ah, the hypocricy.

I have the vision of the forest (the story), but it's getting down the trees (the words) that bogs me down. This is not so original for a writer. Maybe I am not cut out for the detail-laden ordeal of writing a book. Or maybe its that I don't believe in what I'm writing...that I have a story worth telling...that gets me hung up. I'm good with the wind-up but lousy with the follow through. Or maybe I'm just lazy--writing a book is a lot of work, and hard work and attraction have not always gone hand in hand for me. Somehow, I don't think these reasons are so original either. Writers write; it's what writers do. If you're not doing it...well...

If someone were to ask me: What do you want? What is worth working for? What is keeping you from moving forward in your life? I wouldn't know how to answer, except maybe that it is fear--fear of the unknown, of change, of responsibility, of growing up--in the vaguest sense of the word that has me hung up. Not the kind of fear that keeps you wide awake and terror stricken, but the subtle churning of the unsettling feeling that you are not living up to your potential...that you are not doing what God has commissioned you to do--not that you especially know what exactly that is. That instead of answering fearlessly like Samuel, HERE I AM! you stay mute, and pretend like you never heard a voice in the first place. A voice of the heart. An intuition. A prompting. An unexplainable call. Something all those who have been ransomed by God can attest to, but can not always put into rational words.

It's 2:45am and I am drinking coffee from a small purple dish. There were plenty of clean mugs, but something said that this odd cup would make for a more enjoyable french-press experience, a small unorthodox vessel to sip from in the pre-dawn stillness at the dining room table. Call it intuition. Why am I not drinking out of a coffee mug like a normal person? Because I wanted a little cup, and this was the closest thing to a little cup in the cupboard. Never mind that it is intended to hold a hard-boiled egg; it is now holding my coffee. There is no one awake to tell me this is inappropriate, and even if they did I would drink from it anyway. Details, details...maybe they are not so important after all.

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PS: Thanks to Michelle for her kind words about Rob's Fobs on her latest blog. 2 years, 25,000+ hits, and still going strong!

1 comment:

Michelle's Spell said...

Hi Rob,

Really great posts as always! I always wasn't impressed at all with Blue Like Jazz (I expected to like it as I'm kind of drawn to lighter theology books). Good luck as you progress on your book -- slow and steady, I say, not being a fan of faster is better. :)