"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

15 September 2006

The Struggle for Expression

Looking through Oswald Chambers last night (My Utmost for His Highest) in search of a quote I wanted for an article I'm working on, I came across this (the December 15 entry):

"If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can. If you do not, someone will be the poorer all the days of his life. Struggle to re-express some truth of God to yourself, and God will use that expression to someone else. Go through the winepress of God where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle to get expression experimentally, then there will come a time when that expression will become the very wine of strengthening to someone else; but if you say lazily -- 'I am not going to struggle to express this thing for myself, I will borrow what I say,' the expression will not only be of no use to you, but of no use to anyone. Try to state to yourself what you feel implicitly to be God's truth, and you give God a chance to pass it on to someone else through you.

"Always make a practice of provoking your own mind to think out what it accepts easily. Our position is not ours until we make it ours by suffering. The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance."

I am trying to emphasize to my students the importance of writing well for the reader's sake. Chambers makes the case eloquently here. Taking the time and pains to articulate truth for yourself, which brings genuine understanding and the possibility of articulating it to others -- that makes you available to be used by God. Laziness leaves us all the poorer.

Inspiration to keep plugging at the article in process.


GrumpyTeacher1 said...

Good for you. Keep up the fight. I hope the article goes well.

alaiyo said...

Thanks! If God would just let me write it, instead of forcing me to live it first, it would be a lot easier. :)

Cindy said...

Argh! My sympathies!