(it seems to me or so, I have come to believe)
is to engage the majestic, maddening risk
of having one’s words misinterpreted by the reader.
In this, the greater risk (even more, it seems to me)
is to endure the rebellion of the inherent independence of the words themselves.
They, yea, conceived and fashioned in the cauldron of the writer’s simmering creativity,
yet, once set free (as billowing steam, incapable of being [verily, ne’er] owned)
run toward others’ stretching, straining hands and
fly through the labyrinthine corridors of their minds;
there to rest, to stop or stay, to land where’er they choose
in the vast provinces of others’ varied understandings.
And, in this (still more, it seems to me),
there is that grander risk of all: self-discovery
(for, as the Apostle saith, one alway peers into a mirror dimly).
So, it is that the writer oft discerns
and, thus, must confess that s/he didst (couldst) not know
(surely, not fully or, perhaps, better said, surely, fully unknowing)
what s/he didst intend until the words are seen through the eyes
and given meaning through the minds of others.
And through the maze, this haze of risk,
there is this clearest reward;
for when the reader interprets, saying, “This is what these words say to me,”
it signifies that s/he has honored the writer by lending the fullness of her/himself
– thought and feeling, reflection and recollection and perception –
following the writer’s leading to arrive at the end of personal meaning,
which is only a beginning should the reader again take up the writer’s words,
whether adopting them as her/his own
or in reading them anew
and arriving at still another (“Aha!”) understanding.
My words, one alway peers into a mirror dimly, is my paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13.12 (For now we see in a mirror, dimly…Now I know only in part), which I interpret as the Apostle Paul’s witness to the human limitations of knowledge about life and self, especially in relation to the fullness of understanding that is the gift of eternity.
2 thoughts on “To write…”
From almost the moment I began attending St. Mark’s, I’ve loved reading anything you’ve written. I call it my non-credit education in theology and religion….. an opportunity to explore words and themes in sermons, prayers and hymns that I’ve never explored before. I know that many times I’ve been out in left field with my comments but I love everything I’ve learned from you. I feel honored to be able to read your words and process them in my own way, shape and form and I thank you!
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“…my non-credit education in theology and religion…” Priceless! Thanks!
Now, as for your having been “out in left field”, no, I don’t believe that. For interpretation, as is true of beauty, is in the eye and mind of the beholder. And, more truth to tell, it took me quite the long while to listen to the comments, observations, and interpretations of others of my writings/sermons, etc. and to accept the sincerity, aye, the truth others’ views as valid, indeed, as important to me as what I thought and sought to convey.
Much love, always, back to you
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