Personal Reflection: Experiencing God in the World
EXPERIENCING GOD IN THE WORLD
When I lose myself in a book, eavesdrop on a conversation or people-watch a bit too intently, I always give the same excuse to my husband, Aaron. “It’s my job,” I say.
I am a writer.
When I started my career, I thought my gift – my superpower – was the ability to combine just the right words to compel action, to create worlds and to make people feel. Using this gift for good is incredibly rewarding.
But in the darker times when the words don’t come easy, I realize that the gift is not in the product but in the being – being a writer demands I live deeply and thoughtfully in the world God created.
You cannot describe the startling joy of a Texas peach unless you’ve ridden to Fredericksburg with the windows down and the music up, turned into a gravelly parking lot as dust sprayed the sides of your car, felt the sun on your neck and the sweat on your legs and heard the slap of flip-flops on the wooden floor of a roadside stand. You can’t describe a Texas peach if you haven’t reached into a gently bulging paper bag, chosen one with the warm hues of a summer sunset, felt the tiny peach hairs against your lips and the sweet, sweet juice on your tongue, chin and hand.
Being a writer means that a peach is more than just taste. It’s an experience.
But I don’t get paid to eat peaches, and the writer’s reality is often, too often, long hours spent in solitude in front of a computer screen.
This past Christmas, Aaron sensed my retreat into a sensory world of typing noises and email alerts and the harsh blue light of a monitor in a darkened room. There was work, so much work, and I couldn’t get out of my own head. I was losing my joy. He gave me the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received.
He helped me remember that the writer’s job is to write, yes, but it’s also to experience.
Now, twice a month I close my computer early. I drive until fields replace parking lots. I stand beside one of God’s most beautiful creatures and marvel at the ease with which he raises his leg and rests his hoof in my hand. I return home smelling of dust and sunshine, dogs and horses.
I have come to know deep in my heart that this experiencing is not just the job of the writer, it’s the duty of the faithful. It is living devotion to God’s work in the world.
-Psalm 34:8 Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!