#1: And Yet

And Yet

+ Larry’s List of Dark Corners, Holy Nudges, and Faithful Nonsense +

More and more I sense the ending, like the tease on a movie trailer, is Coming Soon!

The end of what?

The end of my writing.

And yet not really. I suspect, as long as my fingers can manage a keyboard and my wandering mind remains curious, I will continue to embrace the intimidation of the blank screen. Words matter to me. Words have revealed God’s presence and absence. Words spoken and crafted by me have dared to proclaim Jesus’ good news to those who (including me) needed to hear or read them. Words have caused me to chuckle or weep or both. Words from other writers are what I must read before slumber. (There is always a book by my bedside.) My words, more often than not, are what claim my time in the morning’s welcoming dark.

But what about writing an essay every week for this eponymous web page?

In other words, regularly writing about my fickle faith for public* consumption?

How do I start “putting to bed” an effort that has been a meaningful, faithful, and (yes) foolish habit for over a dozen years?

Maybe where I began . . . with two words.

Partly inspired by Frederick Buechner’s writing, along with overhearing random conversations that included the two words, and because the pair seemed to hit me at the right time with the right feeling, I have included the phase and yet in every post that appeared on larrypatten.com. However long it takes for me to end this endeavor, I will continue to be inspired by those simple three-letter words. They speak to me about how the Holy works, about God’s presence and absence.

If you clicked onto the Other Thoughts page on this website, you would find this explanation of why the two words resonate with my faith:

What do I mean by “And Yet?” As a conjunction and yet connects two parts of a sentence or thought. Whenever an and yet appears, it grammatically creates a word bridge to declare that more is coming. It’s one way for me to remember that, with God, there is always “more.” I believe, in God’s Realm of Love, that even the worst news is never the last news.

That sounds pretentious, and yet I also believe it true.

So, here at the beginning of the end, I declare that And Yet is #1.

Over the next couple of months, I will muse on words (or brief phrases) that have shaped and misshaped my faith. Let’s call this Larry’s List of Dark Corners, Holy Nudges, and Faithful Nonsense.

Or let’s call it me hoping to end this endeavor: honestly and properly.

Maybe it will end up being a Top Ten listicle boringly based on how many fingers I have. (Do opposable thumbs count as fingers?) Or a few cute toes could be added if I get panicked toward the end and need to add a life-altering, faith-influencing word/phrase. Any-who, I get to make-up or shake-up the rules. It is my webpage!

Will I really be honest? God knows, there are things I might prefer to hide. Vulnerability ain’t for the fainthearted.

I do, as I consider these weekly musings, wonder if my faith, born in a loving family and nurtured through the likes of Sunday school and seminary, has waned.

Am I losing my faith?

It’s an honest question.

And yet I also like to think, as a bedraggled believer, a randomly reluctant follower of Jesus, that I am still in the midst of loosing my faith.

A word game, right? Lose vs. loose. Cute, Larry. Such silly word games!

But remember, words matter.

And so, trying to figure out a best (or good enough) way to gently close the door on my “foolish and faithful musings,” I hope I can let loose with some final weekly thoughts about what matters to me: where I’ve loved, where I’ve lost, where I’ve been found, where I worry, where I am—kicking and screaming—still growing closer to the Holy.


*Though, from my first posted words on larrypatten.com in mid-2007 until now, my public readers have rarely topped more than 100 “subscribers.” However, to avoid too much dreary self-drubbing, I am grateful for every one of you that was willing to read and often add thoughtful comments. Thank you!

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  1. Privileged to be one of the one hundred. Honesty and openness, laying bare your faith, grizzled humour, your writing is distinctive and inspiring, and always a pleasure to read.

    Thanks Larry.

  2. I’m not totally convinced you are hanging up your musing forever. Billy Collins, America’s one time Poet Laureate, wrote a Poem, “The Trouble with Poetry” in which he claimed, “the trouble with poetry is it begets more poetry.” You, being my local laureate, may suffer from a similar malady; musings begetting more musing may be an addiction.

    That being said, I will rise, with others, in offering appreciation for your diligent effort in bearing your soul with weekly reflections. I also want thank you for giving me time to assuage my guilt for all times I read and only thought about replying. I will endeavor to offer a response to the next 10 (give a few either way) offerings. I look forward to the challenge eagerly.

    1. Thanks, John.

      Collins is right. About poetry, writing, life. It’s just time to feel like I’ve don’t a good enough job with these weekly musings.

  3. I don’t believe you will stop writing until you take your dying breath. Writing/communicating is part of who you are. You may never be “true” published – as opposed to self-published – but a communicator you are and always will be.

    1. Thanks, Elisabeth.

      I won’t stop writing. I just hope to find a good way to “rest and be thankful” for the weekly faith musings on this website.

  4. When I left Fresno and moved to far-away Palm Springs, I knew I would miss many parts of the lives of those I cared for and of those who cared for me. One was you. You never preached a sermon in my hearing that did not force me to come to terms with some part of my own life and faith. I always find a similar situation when I read what you write. It makes a difference. I am so glad I am one of those who get to be in your “100.”

    1. Thanks, John!

      (And I can still see you leading the bell choir. Your face stern during rehearsal, but with a delight-filled smile as your group performed and helped a congregation celebrate God’s love!!)

  5. Wow. I will miss reading your weekly thoughts on this and that. I have learned a lot about you and events that have made you who you are. You went away to college and I moved out from home and went to work. After nearly 17 years of knowing where you were, who you were with and seeing you to hear what you had been up to…..we were apart. Living separate lives with different goals. Somehow this weekly post has filled some of my blanks. Although I don’t always agree with your line of thinking – I love you and have always enjoyed your writing. L, your slightly older sister

  6. Bless you, Larry … for these your ponderings…and for your kindnesses to me in so many ways over the years. I have truly been blessed by you and your writings. And as you move into your ‘next adventures’ … may the little deaths we experience continue to be holy moments of new life for you!
    Peace to your being … and thank you for your soulful gifts….

  7. My health in the last few months has left me not being as faithful a reader as I once was. But as always I enjoy your musings and you lead me down roads and paths and journeys for many a Sunday morning message for the flock. It will be interesting to catch up to the “and yet”. And hopefully you will find a way to “a – muse” your readers now and again if not every week. And perhaps put your musings into a book for us to enjoy and reflect back on as many of us are wont to do a with a book of poetry. Thank you Larry for your wonderful words.

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