Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A message to those who create

I celebrate my birthday in nine days.  The countdown to July 20 is my annual come to Jesus moment to reflect on the state of my personal mission statement.  That’s the mental document I’ve created to maintain balance and an understanding of my purpose in the world.  This year has been filled with multiple eye openers that both took me by surprise and left me celebrating the amazing people placed in my life.
Put another way, I’m one blessed dude.
Coming to that realization is part of getting older.  It’s clear that I’ve been stripped of the need to live according to the expectations of others.  I’ve walked in integrity of a special call on my life – for better, and, yes, for worse.  I could write for days regarding the burden and joy of carrying that cross, but that’s not the point today.
The past year has been about discovering human pain.  So many people are walking in shoes crafted in disappointment.  We often miss them due to our own desire to find the path leading to pots filled with gold.  It’s our obsession with our own place in the human tribe that keeps us from hearing and seeing the hurts of others.  I’ve seen more than my share of pain.
What’s the pain about? Unfulfilled dreams.  They are everywhere you look – people who take two steps backwards for every step taken in a positive direction.  They are hindered by elements beyond their control.  Its part economic, part people, part internalized agony.  Those shoes are heavy to walk in, and many have collapsed before making it to the finish line.
My movement toward listening has been the source of my own liberation.  That’s the power of contentment.  Many people miss that message while seeking to find something beyond what is already within.  They are frustrated by their lacks more than encouraged by their strengths.
I could say that I have been broken this year, but this message is about healing and growth.  Isn’t that the point of faith?  Isn’t that why we keep ticking when the batteries go weak?
I’ve written columns and blogs over the year that reminds me of the human struggle to be free.  Some, like the Trayvon Martin story, remind us of the cruelty of assumption.  I’ve written about white people engrossed in racist ideologies and systems that minimize and degrade those devoid of privilege.  I’ve talked about institutions of faith and the hatred felt by those waving the Bible to cast out the supposed evil of homosexuality. 
There is so much to write. Some of it takes place in our own backyards, and some is far away.  No matter where we go, we discover a lack of freedom and peace.  It never seems to go away.
The challenge is in finding the strength to write through the pain.  Writing too is an exercise of faith.  It’s done when the heart is elsewhere, beating so fast it’s hard to keep back the explosion.  Some days it’s the flooding of tears caused by disappointment.  Some of it is personal.  Most of it is about what you can’t change.  We just write and pray the words will make a difference.
Writing is like taking steps.  Each step is a hope seeking a new destination.  Sometimes, more often than not, we can’t see the finish line.  We write not knowing if we are headed in the right direction.  Each word is a step. Take another, we breathe in between, then another. How much more must we write.
So, today is not about an issue in the news. This is a pause on the journey to share the burden of the words written.  A hug may be needed today.  The words are hard to carry.  The messages in my head are too many to write.  I can’t keep pace.  I’m writing too slowly, but I’m trying my best to catch up.
This is a message to all the creative people.  Don’t stop.  The world needs your words, your songs, your art and your dance.  Don’t let the pain stop you; be inspired by the voice within.
My birthday is coming.  I’m standing in disappointment.  I have my words to keep me on the path.   
The journey has just begun.

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