A Way to God

In a 1967 letter from Thomas Merton to Matthew Fox, Merton wrote:

“I’m glad you are going to work on spiritual theology . . . I do think we are lying down on the job when we leave others to investigate mysticism while we concentrate on more ‘practical’ things.  What people want of us, after all, is the way to God.”

We all have our own way to God.  Writing, meditation, acts of social justice, and many other ways.  I employ all of these, but I am a writer.  

That statement, “I am a writer,” was always a difficult one for me to say.  I have long felt I wasn’t good enough to claim that title for myself.  But, as Fox came to realize himself, “I am a writer.  Because I am so happy writing and putting ideas together and in a form I can communicate with others.  And I learn so much doing this.”

Upon reading War and Peace, Charles du Bos commented, “Life would speak thus if life could speak.”  It reminds me of Parker Palmer’s admonition to let your life speak.  So, why not?

I want to write my way to God.  Perhaps not literally, but I want to compose words that speak to the collective heart of humankind.  I want to create sentences like Merton, Buechner, Brown Taylor, and Lamott.  I want to till the ground for a mystical experience like Tolstoy did for Fox.  Again, why not?

What about you?  What is your way to God?  Are you a singer?  Then sing.  Are you an artist?  Then paint.  Are you a social prophet?  Then speak.  The world is short on people who are living into who they really are and at what cost?

Imagine if DaVinci never painted because he thought he wasn’t good enough.  Imagine if Tolstoy never wrote because he thought his words didn’t matter.  Imagine if Martin Luther King, Jr. never spoke because he thought nobody would want to hear what he has to say.  Imagine if you don’t do that thing that burns like red embers in your soul.  Will yours have been a life well lived?

How would life speak if you were to put it into words?  Some of us need to hear it, so speak.  Some of us need to see the face of God in the work of your hands and heart.  Don’t try to keep it in, because after all, it will consume you if you do.

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