On Words Dying

Yesterday, I read a haunting post from a pastor I follow on Twitter, Jonathan Martin.  You can find the post here and you may well wish to read it first.  It made me think for a long time and made me wrestle with some of my own demons about words.  Not all of them are worked out in this post, mind you, but it is a start.  Thanks, Pastor Jonathan Martin.  I think.

He sat as his desk and listened to the cats fighting three rooms away even as he listened to the voices inside him argue over the need to write.

“Practice,” the old, wise voice that had read masters and novices alike said.  “Put the damn pen to the paper.  Tap away at the crud covered keyboard.  Fill the empty space with some of those things floating around in that jumbled mass of nerves you call a brain.  Get something down so that mess of nerves can at least sort out what is good and what is trash.  Practice.”

“Nah, just wait for your muse to arrive,’ the other voice growled from the depths of the man’s belly.  The man never knew the age of this tormentor but he knew from the rumbles and discomfort where he had taken residence.  The gut.  “Wait for the muse to arrive.  That is, if the jerk ever decides to truly show up.  In the meantime you’ve got plenty to occupy your hands and mind.  For crying out loud, it is almost a New Year and leaves still need raked.  Cookies need baked.  I love the cookies, you know.  Besides, you will be pouring out words in a sermon or two soon enough.  Be content with what they will do.  (Or more likely, what they won’t do.)”

“Practice.”

“Just wait.”

He walked through the house aware of the war that raged between heart and soul, between blank space and filled lines.  He looked upon two cats, one stretched out in a windowsill batting eyes at the roaming person disturbing an important nap, the other, stretched out upon the recliner and oblivious to the footsteps of the man.  Stroking the fur of the undisturbed cat, he heard the restful sound of sleep.  He listened to the silence of words dying.  Again.

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