Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Belated Easter Gift


As an addendum to Easter I had planned to write for the Fellow Writers Blog Hop, but they don’t have a topic this month because of the A to Z April Challenge.  So I gave it some thought and organized a few ideas that I think every writer who is successful needs to be able to maintain their success.  I believe there are energies in the world that we do not fully comprehend, and for lack of a better term we will call them spirits.  These spirits can abide within us, within the places we dwell, and especially within the things we create.  As a result I recognize writing as one of the most spiritual activities one can engage in.  For within my words I can express what abides within me, reveal to you the places I have dwelled, and create something of greater beauty and value than myself.

Charity in this case means the highest for of Love.
The scripture to the right lies at the core of my life.  I also see this as the foundation of many of the folks I admire most in the world.  All of the most intelligent, awe inspiring, and lovely human beings live these principles in one form or another.  My examples today are a couple of my cousins.  One of them is a Christian Organist and the other is an Atheist Political Scientist.  I’ve have the opportunity to speak with them both about what they do and who they are, and in those conversations (although I’m sure they are unaware of this) they have inspired me to be a better person.

Hebrew 11:1 reads: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.”  Now the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it best as a verb meaning: believe or trust.  Now lets be honest, nobody really believes in something they haven’t had an experience with for themselves.  It is the experience or evidence that lights the fire of faith, or to believe or trust in something.  Only the foolish place their faith blindly.

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My cousin has chosen to live as a Vegan.  Her decision wasn’t based solely on scientific fact, but rather it was a moral decision.  She wanted to withdraw her support from the meat industry for the way they treat animals.  Simply put she doesn’t trust them.  And how can you blame her?  If you have ever watched the way a cow lives on todays farms and how they are later killed it would make your stomach roil.  And the treatment and conditions for the employees of the meat companies are equally as dehumanizing.  She made the choice to value her humanity above that of eating meat.  I wish I were that principled.

Mind you, if you go out to eat with her, you’ll never know she is a Vegan.  She doesn’t beat you over the head with her values.  She’s not going to tell you how evil the meat industry is.  She chosen to be quietly faithful to her values.  For faith cannot be separated from faithfulness.  And my cousin has taught me a lot about what it really means to have faith.

I ask people all the time what they think hope means.  You might be surprised to hear that most people can’t define hope.  But we use in our everyday speech all the time.  “I hope I get there on time,” or “I hope we can save enough money to go to Disneyland next summer.”  In the dictionary it defines hope as: to expect with confidence.  So when you place your hope in something you don’t just think it might happen, you know it will come to pass.  You don’t have room for doubt, because you know this.  You might not have a timeline, but you certainly know it will happen.

My other cousin is married with a large family already.  He really enjoys doing service in his community.  And thankfully his job is one that allows him to serve frequently.  It brings him joy to be able to help folks in his community, but it keeps him long hours.  Often he works at least sixty hours a week.  He does this not only because he recognizes the way it helps the people around him, but because of the opportunities it gives his family.  He has hope that the service he renders will show his community and children alike how to be good people.  Hope is not only alive in his heart, but the hearts of his family to sacrifice their time with him.  They expect good things to come of his service.

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Now in explaining both of these previous principles there is an unmistakeable fabric that ties them together.  Love of another being over oneself.  Love as a noun is defined as: affection for another being rising from kinship or personal ties.  But love as a verb means: to hold dear.  Both of these meanings are seen in the behavior of my cousins.  They have shown they hold the world around themselves more dear than their own lives.  That kind of love is why we celebrate Easter, Christmas, Martin Luther King Jr Day, The Fourth of July and countless other holidays.  We remember those who chose to love us more than themselves from Christ, to Gandhi, to the various soldiers who have fought for freedom worldwide.  And the fact that my cousins have chosen to pattern their lives in such an ennobling way is not lost on me.

But naturally you are probably wondering, what does this have to do with writing?  I’m getting there, be patient.  In order to establish that we need to tie all of these together.  Love is the big picture the quilt that is made by the contributions of faithfulness and the hope of mankind.  But the thread that holds all the patchwork together is something we fail to notice, because we often define it as insignificant.  It is known as humility.

To define humble as “not proud or haughty or not arrogant or assertive” doesn’t define the word.  It tells you what it isn’t, not what it is.  Just like if I tell you that pepper isn’t salty, I haven’t told you really what it is by telling you what it isn’t.  To be humble means that you have inner strength, you aren’t swayed by what society tells you, but can stand on your own.  Humility doesn’t say it is the most awesome thing since sliced bread, instead it serves you the sliced bread.  It doesn’t call attention to itself, it gives attention to others needs.  Just as pride or enmity of man can be called the universal vice, humility can be called the universal virtue.  But we don’t talk about the threads of humility, because this virtue does not call attention to itself.

We as writers need all four of these virtues.  We must be humble and recognize that there are greater writers we must learn from, but that this doesn’t diminish the need for us to share our message with the world.  We stand in the midst of giants who gladly will lift us upon their shoulders.  We must follow in the giants footsteps and be faithful to our craft.  It cannot grow unless we put ourselves at the keyboard and work on telling stories, writing blogs, and expressing ourselves in the written word regularly.  We cannot ever lose hope.  The writers who make it are the ones who make this a lifestyle, they have so much hope in their writing that they are willing to work at it as a second job till they have become successful enough to make it their only job.  And we must love what we do.  We will have to lose sleep or miss out on family time to pursue this dream.  We will miss out on time with friends.  And we do it because we believe through our efforts we will entertain, change, and build a better world for our children.  Even if that’s not why you have chosen to write, that is why I write.

Fellow Writers, I hope that you incorporate these principles into your lives and when you have the time to write that your words may speak to the hearts and minds of your audience.  Happy belated Easter from the First OG, Jayrod Garrett.  And if I may be so bold to ask:
  
What principles guide your writing?

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