Writer’s Flood

640px-1927_Mississippi_flood_Mounds-Cairo_IL_highway

Dear Russell and Friends,

Can there be too much of a good thing?  Sometimes I feel that way.  My process of reflection on the year behind and the one starting continues.  I feel my melatonin levels fall and serotonin levels rise as the daylight inches farther into the evening.  The cold, hard winter – – softens.  Writing is more about who you are than what you do.  It is a way to teach yourself, perhaps others, and a way to process the complexity around you.  Quick quiz:  did you think about the use of farther vs. further four sentences ago?  I did.  Is it an autistic trait?  Probably a little bit – – the introvert who prefers a letter to conversation.  I’m trying to improve, but it is easier to listen in a letter.

Writing has always been my main mode of prayer.  The journals I have kept in the last twenty years of my early adulthood are rife with letters to the God I believe in.  I think the act of writing to him (please don’t take offense in my use of male pronoun – – we are both made in his image) has cemented his reality in my heart and hand.  Would I feel the same attachment to Santa Claus if my letters to him outlived childhood?  It’s an interesting thought experiment, but somehow seems empirically distinct and difficult to demonstrate.  One of the main themes of this blog is how two friends reconcile diametrically opposed views – – there is(n’t) a God and that does(n’t) have implications in the ways we live.  Writing can be a means of that reconciliation.  Do I want to convince Russell?  More with my life than my words.  Do I want to be a faithful friend to him and his family?  More and more every day.  Are there many others like him that the church and I have neglected?  I’m convinced.

What will I write to my friend and readers this year?  Floods can be as challenging as droughts.

Pascal

–1:16

Image credit:  “1927 Mississippi flood Mounds-Cairo IL highway” by Archival Photography by Steve Nicklas, NOS, NGS – NOAA photo library. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

6 comments

  1. I did think about it…but I would have used “further.” Wouldn’t that be correct?

    I share your affinity for writing, and I’m so glad that you write. We may disagree—about anything from farther vs further to the existence of God—but it is a joy to know you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My husband and I are literally debating this right now. I initially thought “further” because you weren’t referring to physical distance (rather your reference was a figurative description of season change and daylight hours slowly increasing—more about time than distance). Then my husband went into this long explanation about how the location where shadows fall at a given hour changes as we progress toward summer solstice (thus allowing for more hours of daylight). We can look at the area between the locations plotted on December 21st and January 6th as a “distance,” and you can use “farther.” I doubt that you thought about it THAT much—but I digress. I would call this an ambiguous case (using a term like “inching” that figuratively refers to distance), and say use whichever word you want. If you would like to discuss this further, you know where to find me. I might be the one with the autistic trait. I’ve thought about this since lunch.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Pascal!

    Your words – beautiful and thoughtful as they are – are a dim reflection of your life, which is the true inspiration. Thank you. It’s a privilege to have a friendship with you outside of the blog.

    The only thing that gave me pause was this line:

    One of the main themes of this blog is how two friends reconcile diametrically opposed views – – there is(n’t) a God and that does(n’t) have implications in the ways we live.

    I bet you know what I’m about to say. 🙂

    First, I don’t believe that there is not a God. I just lack belief in one. This is just clarification for other readers, since I know you weren’t trying to imply otherwise. Strictly speaking, our views are not diametrically opposed.

    Second, we agree that, whether or not such a God exists, belief in Him does have implications for how we should live. This is just further clarification for other readers. 🙂

    I’m glad to be back! When the evening care-taking and work slows down I’ll respond to other posts and write one of my own (probably by this weekend).

    Gentleness and respect,
    –Russell

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Pascal,

    further/farther didn’t even occur to me until you mentioned it. 😉 I’m not much of a writer. I did really well in grammar in junior high school, but because that was many years ago I’ve forgotten much of the details. My co-worker always gives me a hard time when I say “less” instead of “fewer”.

    I agree with Russell that if a God as described by God-believing religions existed then it would have some implications for how we lived. However, I also feel that there are some (perhaps more than seem obvious) ways in which it is irrelevant. Take your desire to be a faithful friend to Russell as an example. I am willing to bet that if tomorrow you for whatever reason concluded that you no longer believed in God that you would still want and try to be a faithful friend to Russell. That’s just one of many examples I could give.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a valid example Howie, and has honestly been a part of my own straw man deconstruction process. Russell treats me as a friend with or without God. I do think that the justification of our behaviors and morality deserve exploration. Some of the best people I know are skeptics. Some of the most difficult are believers.

      I’m probably not mature enough yet to seek out more difficult atheists yet. I gravitate to civil, kind and rational people. With believers, there is a sense that they are family and you take what you get. So, I accept the fact that you live well without the influence of acknowledging God.

      Why morality? Whose morality? Those, I think, are reasonable and interesting questions. I reject the notions that most skeptics are either amoral or immoral — its just not empirically true.

      Like

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