Writing something intelligent

I have written about writing a lot on this blog. I’ve been exploring why I write, why I think it matters, and what I write and how what others write helps me. One of the reasons I write is to document some of my feelings. Sometimes these feelings do not last, solely the products of the feelings in the forms of poems or rants on paper. However, when these things re-occur, I can go back to my writing to understand how I felt about something, and perhaps how that changed. Growing up in a strong Christian tradition we quickly learned how people often remember only the good things about a previous situation if something goes bad. The Israelites when in the desert after being freed from Egyptian slavery reacted to a lack of meat with the words: oh but in Egypt at least we had meat, forgetting that they also had masters that knew no mercy. Similarly, I am always critical about my own recollection of events: was it as good as I remember? Or was it a bit more nuanced than that? Was it much better?

U Voelt Zo Dicht Weg

‘U Voelt Zo Dicht Weg’- ‘You Feel So Close Away’

Reading back helps me understand sometimes, but first, it has to be written. Sometimes, struggling with what to think of feel about a certain event I long to write ‘something intelligent’ about the matter. Hoping that words will help me understand something that feels quite uncertain. In fact, this is also how I pray sometimes. I hope that somehow I could address some meaningful words to God, to connect when I feel disconnected. Sometimes this happens and sometimes it does not. And so to improve my meditation on the words I could address to God, I decided to sew a prayer. I started embroidering with my sewing machine again a few days ago and after some trials, i thought of combining the meditation of sewing and praying. I started to sew: God, U bent hier, maar u voelt zo- (meaning god, you are here but you feel so- ), I  wanted to continue to sew  ‘ver weg’ (meaning ‘Far away’) however, wandering in my mind I started to write Dicht ‘(meaning: close’). To be honest to my first intention I decided to compromise: I finished with ‘weg’. resulting in : ‘U voelt zo dicht weg’- ‘You feel so close away’. It is not correct dutch or English and a word play between far away and close by, yet this felt like something very intelligent to write. It is beautiful and also helped me to understand how I was feeling these past days- not necessarily about God but about some things around me. These things felt ‘away’ but at the same time to close to let go. To remember what I wrote, I restitched the last part of my prayer: ‘U voelt zo dicht weg’. I pinned it to the wall to remember that something letting go of thoughts and accidentally straying can give beautiful insights.

 

Advertisements

All the wrong reasons

DSC03964

Imran Qureshi- on the rooftop of the Metropolitain Museum in 2013

When I started this blog, it was out of procrastination. I think around that time I also watched all of the Game of Thrones seasons available for the first time. I was making immense progress in doing what I wanted (write) and what others thought I should do (watch game of thrones).  I did all of it for the reason that I found it very hard to focus on the task at hand, undoubtedly some writing or assignment for school. You could say easily, I was doing it for the wrong reasons. A little while ago I was having an honest conversation with someone. For the sake of  ‘What do we loose by being honest’ we both honestly shared what we were feeling. Our doubts. The feeling that we were doing things for the wrong reasons. I met this vulnerability with honesty again, honesty and affirmation. ‘I think indeed you are doing this for the wrong reasons’. Based on this the conclusion the other wanted to draw was that the only right thing to do is to stop doing what they were doing because they were obviously for the wrong reason. I simply said, I do think there is something like doing something for the wrong reason, yet I don’t think it is the worse thing. It is often just a copings mechanism- we become aware of where this coping mechanism has brought us, and we see what it brought us and others. True, sometimes doing things at the wrong time for the wrong reasons can mean great harm. But I refuse to life in a world were everything is supposed to be right or it is doomed. A in a long conversation about the meaning of life a few weeks ago, the person I was talking with was sharing his view of life. ‘The purpose of life is to what is perfect for you, where you can be most effective and happy, mind over matter.’ I was trying to say that efficiency although a great love of mine (nothing as frustrating than things going wrong when some efficiency could have stop them from happening), it did not do justice to human life. Humans, although we have the gift and the ability of reason, are very unreasonable creatures :). We have emotions, we have desires, we have hope, we have faith, we have love. All of that is not very efficient. Connection, is not very efficient. Human connection is made through simple biology- blood, and then blood is family. Being somewhere at the same time provides us with friends, lovers, enemies. With every connection we make we are changed. Our heart is met with that of another, and we change, whether we are open to it or not. Now, this is not some argument for that everything is equal, that the only purpose in life is meeting others and in that way moving on. I think the world is very bleak when we lose a sense of right and wrong, purpose and suffering. However, what I am trying to say, to convey, to celebrate is the complexity of life. That there is no one answer to human behavior, how to improve or to judge it.

This perhaps becomes most clear in the bible. Sure, this book teaches us about God, but it mostly teaches us about ourselves, about our nature, about others. And I don’t mean necessarily the great doctrine, original sin, or men as the great custodian of the world. I mean the stories, the little things. The completely ridiculous things that are so relatable. The struggle with what is right, the struggle to see our own wrongs, the judgment we carry for ourselves and others, the endless discussions we have about the meaning of the things in our lives. How we can walk with God and still not really know if we believe in him, or want to believe in him. The need for salvation. But this need is for salvation is only based on honesty. On honesty and honoring of God. The ‘I am broken, I am not complying to the modern worlds demand of efficiency, but I made something, I wrote something, and it is proof of your grace’. That You make beautiful things out of dust, out of us. A prove that God is so much more loving than we are: ‘You’re much sweeter than me, by far, You’re much stronger than me, You know You are’

‘So far my dramatic writing of the day, have to give credit to some ‘you make beautiful things out of the dust/out of us, comes from Gungor’s song ‘Beautiful things’. Similarly the ‘You’re much sweeter than me by far, you are much stronger than me, you know you are’ is from the wonderful Aaron Sprinkle. Also, I have to give credit to all the wonderful people around me that no matter what they believe teach me about the grace of God. And lastly, my thesis that desperately needs some work. I wouldn’t be living on the edge without you :).