Candlelight (Photo credit: UnnarYmir)
O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.
St. Ignatius of Loyola
Paul Cézanne, Portrait of Gustave Geffroy, 1895. Oil on canvas, 110 × 89 cm. Musée d’Orsay, Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The artist must raise everything to a higher level: he is like a pump; inside him is a great pipe reaching down into the bowels of things, the deepest layers. He sucks up what was pooled beneath the surface and brings it forth into the sunlight in giant sprays.
Am I taking things to a higher level? Am I writing about the muck of life and redeeming the circumstances or am I wallowing in it? Is there a goodness in my work that seeks the higher level? Is my work redemptive?
How do we balance the dark places of life, the grief, the unfairness, the storms? How do we find meaning from the circumstances that seem impossible? Can we as writers be vehicles for light? Can we bring understanding and healing to the dark places?
Bottom line, are we wrestling or wallowing?
After struggling with his horrible circumstances including the loss of his family, home and health, Job said that he had known about God but through his wrestling for meaning he knew God. As the world wears on us we can go two ways, down or up. To darkness or light.
As a writer I can dip into the darkness to bring light for myself and others. No wonder so many writers struggle with depression. We wrestle in the dark places like Jacob and sometimes come out with a limp. But in wallowing we don’t always come out.
Wrestling or wallowing. There’s a big difference. Wrestling involves God – wallowing we do alone.
Which are you doing today?