Monday, March 17, 2014

Who Do I Think I Am?

Today, I got my knitting magazine in the mail.  I am always excited to get the new issue, but a little wistful by the time I am done.  In the whole array of possible knitting magazines, I chose this one for its title.  "Knit Simple", it is called.  And yet, truth be told, I can very very rarely find a pattern that is not beyond me.

Still, every other month, I look forward to paging through the magazine, looking at all of the designs for sweaters and scarves and gifts for the children in my life.  Sometimes, I muster up a sigh.  "Someday," I think.  "It's possible that someday I will be able to knit this."  Other times, I am in a darker mood, and think, "I cannot imagine ever being able to knit these.  Why do I continue to waste my money on this magazine?"

Last week, my husband and I were in an historic small town not far from where we live.  On my recommendation we stopped for a bit in a local arts center.  The wonderful old refurbished buildings host art galleries and classes, and even an alternative high school.  There are sometimes concerts as well, and, when the weather is nicer, the sculpture garden is an attractive destination.

But I wanted to stop in at the arts center because I had learned that a well-respected regional literary journal was published here.  It is called the "Great River Review", and, for some reason or another, I wanted to subscribe.  I had been thinking about it for awhile, actually.

So we went out to the arts center one afternoon.  We took a short tour through one of the galleries.  We found out some of the things we could do if we came back in another, better season.  I told them that the real reason I was there was to subscribe to their literary magazine.

They gladly took my check of course, and even gave me a free sample of the journal.

But then one of the managers at the center, perhaps even the director, turned to me and asked, bluntly, "So, why do you want to subscribe to the Review?"

There was an awkward pause, and then he added, "Are you a writer?"

There was another awkward pause, after which I mumbled a few words of aspiration.

"Ah," he said, sympathetic.  "That describes many of us."

I felt that I hadn't really adequately accounted for the hope that is in me, perhaps because I still don't know exactly what it is.  I used to want to be a writer; somehow I still aspire to that, not just to write sermons, but something more, my reach exceeding my grasp.  I know that I like to fit words together as if they were part of a jigsaw puzzle, for the fun of it.  But I don't know what the whole picture should be, even now, even with the years of ministry, even with all of the funerals, all the prayers and all of the baptisms, and the daily mystery of the love of God in the most ordinary moments.

Who do I think I am?  I'm not exactly sure.  Am I a writer who preaches, a preacher who writes?  Am I a prayer who works, or a worker who prays?  All I know is that, somedays I look at glossy pictures and stories and poems, and I sigh, "Perhaps someday I will be able to do that."  And other days, I cannot even imagine it.

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