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!