Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Writer's Surrender

In a recent release, The Nativity Story: Contemplating Mary's Journey of Faith, contributing writer Sister Marie Paul Curley reflects on the similarity between Mary's "Journey of Surrender" and that which most writers experience.

As a writer, I have repeatedly felt invited to surrender -- and yet felt that surrender was impossible.... Although I increasingly valued the time and ability to write I was being given, I also became increasingly anxious about anything to do with it. I asked myself: What will people think of my work? Is my writing process too slow? Am I writing honestly and deeply enough? The list could go on. At one point, my anxiety so paralyzed me that one paragraph could take hours to write. Living in such a heightened state of anxiety was too painful; I started thinking about giving up writing entirely. Concerned friends repeatedly offered me the simple advice that I was trying too hard and simply needed to "let it go." In theory, I saw the value of letting go, but in real life I was too anxious to loosen my grip....

Recently, however, I received an unexpected insight: the "letting go" my friends encouraged wasn't really enough.... Letting go means abandoning my writing to free fall without a safety net. Surrendering, instead, means entrusting my writing to Another.... In its essence, surrender to God is not about passivity at all; it is about trust (p.37).

The author goes on to compare how Mary's "yes" is one we all get to make. Each time we sit at the keyboard and wait desperately for those first glimmers of inspiration.


When those streams of thought flow like molasses in January.


When I'm editing someone else's work, caught in a snarl and dreading the painful process of smoothing it out.


May all your "yesses" bring forth the Light of Christ. (Thanks be to God.)