Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Chance Encounter

We were camping in the Cascades this weekend. Yesterday, when I tried to go hiking with my husband I was too sore, and so I had to turn back to rest while he hiked on. Intending to write I found a quiet place near the edge of a lava flow. I spread out a blanket and started by reading the bible, intending to work on Icon, my symbolic novel experiment in mystic writing, in a bit. For a while I was distracted by the clicking of some insects that sounded something like I might imagine rattlesnakes to sound like, but I started to calm down reading about Solomon and the queen of Sheba, Joash, Elisha, political uprisings and child kings. Oddly, the biblical violence was soothing and spoke of stories both of God and man and what I might write.

Eventually, I went looking for a new quote for the chapter seven of Icon since it wasn't turning out to be about what I thought it would be about. And in the middle of reading Matthew, a deer dashed around the corner of the lava flow. All I heard was the thunder of its steps and looked up terrified. It skidded to a stop, staring at me, just as terrified, ears outward, dust rising around its red brown coat. For a small fraction of a moment, we just stared at each other terrified, and I was unsure if I should run or if it would run me over first, then the deer turned to the side and dashed off, leaving me exhilarated and feeling blessed.

A second deer poked its head around the edge of the lava flow cautiously, warned by the terror of the first. For a second we watched each other, before it turned back the way it'd come, leaving me in peace. Still their beauty touched me, inspired me to actually try to write. I decided on a passage about vine branches from John from the last supper, looked it up, and I took out the laptop to write.

Terror and beauty and mystery was there in that encounter with the deer and I think I am perhaps rather like them when it comes to glimpsing God. He waits, quietly, patiently, and I turn the corner, busy with my own thoughts, only to stop in sheer terror at seeing him. I am curious, I want to investigate, but also afraid, and so dash on in a different direction. Instead, I hope that next time I come face to face with Him, I will pause, then draw closer instead.

Also, I think I should sit quietly out in the middle of nowhere more often. Nature has a way of leading me to its creator.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Why do I write? This is a question that easily gets lost in the storytelling of creative fiction, in the intellectual excitement of research papers, in the emotional torrent of personal journals, and in the love and desire to share in letters to those I care for. Yet, underneath them all burns the same fire, the same source of inspiration—my faith in God.

This journal is my attempt to explore my inner life with writing and my writing with my inner life. As "The Soul of the Apostolate" counsels religious that you cannot give to others what you don't have spiritually yourself, so us writers based in faith cannot give in our words that we have yet to accept. This is my journey both in faith and in the written word, to seek both the presence of God and to share it in all I write, whether implicitly or explicitly.

After several false starts and ramblings, I think I've finally found my place and purpose for this blog. This is not about preaching to others, but about exploring God, mysticism, and the inner writing life. If this sparks your interest either as a writer or a seeker of God, feel free to add your own thoughts. Please just remember this is for all of us ultimately a journey we make alone with the Lord of Heaven, and so be respectful of the many traditions and background from which we all come. I cannot separate my journey to know God from my Catholic faith, and I certainly don't expect anyone else to leave their own traditions behind.  But this is not a place for apologetics, but to simply share.