Why We Write

Radicchio in the garden, June 11, 2021.

This retro post is from July 16, 2012. If the Sisters of Mercy had any influence on me in the late 1960s, it was in the phrase “all for the honor and glory of God,” which, at one time, we were required to write on every school paper. In a world more connected than ever, reaching out beyond the veil of our own humanity with purpose seems as important as ever. It is not enough to believe that God is watching our every move. We must also live in society. I witnessed women making traditional lace in Morbihan. We have to get beyond the appearances of things, as comforting as they might be, as well as they might fit into a traditional world view. Hope you enjoy this recycled post.

We are isolated beings, wrapped in a veil of humanity, closer to God, or its divine essence than we realize. Such veil, metaphorical or not, is woven of delicate threads, like the lace of Morbihan, or silk from China. We could spend a lot of time marveling in its delicate needlework or shimmering surface. Yet we are compelled to reach out beyond the veil. A Cartesian view of life, if there is one.

Some say we should live our lives in the presence of God and perform all works for its honor and glory. The Sisters of Mercy taught us this and had us inscribe on each sheet of school work, words to the effect, “all for the honor and glory of God.” If God is reading this blog, my offerings may not be living up to divine standards.

Yet there is a compulsion to communicate, in manners crafted and on the fly. Verbally and in writing. In the silence of being, writing, especially in e-mail and on the internet, comes as a natural outlet for our need to express ourselves when other people are not around. It is difficult to accept that there is just God and me in the universe, and that I should be satisfied to live in the Presence of the Lord.

This weekend I had a conversation with a friend about everlasting life. We agreed that if the everlasting version is like the current one, the attraction is not enough to tithe and focus on the next life after this one. There is too much inequality, too much trouble today, to relish a state where our worldly problems are solved, the veil of life on earth torn and we visit with our deceased predecessors. It all seems an ill-designed nostrum for ailments that are not really ailments, but the stuff of our lives.

So we write, partly to clarify our thinking, and partly to satisfy our need to reach out to others and express the value of our lives, one life among the billions of people walking on the planet. Whether anyone reads or understands our writing is not the point, although we hope they do. The point is that if it is only me in the Divine Presence, then I am not yet convinced of the connection with the rest of humanity. Something I believe exists, and is more than a mere veil protecting me from the light of society.

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