Growing up, I was not what you would call an athelete (stop giggling, Jenny!). I couldn’t catch anything but a cold and the only competitive sport in which I engaged was playing the piano. I would watch my friends play their various games, and cheer them on, though, more likely, I was skipping Pep Rallies to chat with my other nerdy friends in the school cafeteria or theater about nerd-typical items of interest: a riveting analysis of Hardy poems, trigonometry proofs (incidentally, the last time math was fun for me) or figuring the number of telephones per capita in Sweden. Anyway, back to the athletics… I am a klutz, I cannot kick, hit, throw or shoot. I admire, and even envy those who can. I was confident in my abilities in the things I did well, until I ran smack into the world.
I got a terrible blow to my ego when I started reading blogs. The first truly amazing blog I read was slacktivist. Fred’s ability to piece together Biblical principles, current events and politics in these incredibly thoughtful posts. He’s still my favorite blogger, and I read his stuff every day. Then, I “met” Bonnie. I mean, just read this. Nevermind her lack of punctuation, the words, the meaning, the introspection, that’s rare. Lately, I’ve been reading Beth’s blog. She’s a different kind of writer, like me, but more talented, funnier, more honest, frankly, and I love this. I watch their posts, stalk them like paparrazzi with a HP computer, rather than a camera, and I’m envious. I want to write like that. I want to make those connections.
The 10th commandment, in Exodus 20:17, says, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” I feel chastened. I am coveting their talent. I want that. My professor, Jim Aune, told the story of a speechwriter who was writing an Innaugural Address. To prepare, he went back and read all the innauguration texts as far back as he could, and when he got to Lincoln’s 2nd, he stopped and cried. He was never going to match the brilliance of that speech. I want the immortality that comes with a set of words carefully, powerfully chosen, but I don’t want the green-eyed monster of jealousy to catch up with me. I don’t want to break the commandment.
I Cor 12:28-31 “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers and then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts…” I suppose then, I must discern: is text-craft one of the best gifts? is it something to pursue or something from which I should wean myself? Is it teaching? I am convinced that what those talented folks I listed earlier do is to create something that is nothing short of miraculous… is that the same as working a miracle?
I still have questions. I pray that God would bless the work of my hands – and typing fingers, to produce something worthy of him, but I have to be careful not to want it for myself, which is still where I struggle. Until then, I am, struck and awed by the talent of others, and vainly attempting to mimic that which I most admire.