Beyond the Buff Jesus: A worthy risk
I have long had a secret desire to be a poet, or at least to have the ability to write poetry. I never imagined that this dream would be achievable. Instead I chose to push it aside and focus on the things that I know that I am good at, an aspect of my Type A, perfectionist personality that has been known to come back to bite me.
Last spring when I created my schedule, I needed an extra class for the fall and decided to take a chance and sign up for a creative writing course in poetry. This was my version of taking a risk, of pushing myself to write things that I may not necessarily want to share with people, external manifestations of my emotional reality that I have spent years learning how to hide.
Imagine my surprise when poetry became my favorite class. I do not consider myself to be a great poet, probably not even a very good poet, but I love the writing. I love that I get to read poetry and can say that I am doing my homework. I love that I am being pushed to show my experiences through words, but above all, I love that my faith is being influenced by this.
The Bible is full of poetry: the book of Psalms, the song of Miriam and Mary’s song of praise are just a few examples. I have long reached for the psalms when I do not know how to pray or what to pray or feel like there are no words to explain the feelings that I am feeling. But I never imagined that writing a prayer in the form of poetry might be an answer for me. At least, I had not imagined that possibility until this fall.
Writing has taken on new meaning in my life over the past few months. No longer do I feel pressure to turn out pages and pages in my journal, nor do I feel like I need to use hundreds of words to describe a particular situation.
As I have learned different writing styles and practiced metaphor and imagery, I have found ways to express my hopes, desires, fears and anxieties in ways that make the emotions almost tangible.
Channeling those things into poetry has taught me a new way to pray. Never before have I put these vulnerabilities onto paper and written the parts of my head that I do not necessarily like. I have never given them up to God in a way that is more honest than I have found it within me to be.
I have no belief that I am a great poet. Honestly, I am probably not even that good, and this time, I do not mind. It does not bother me that I am not able to be perfect. The Type A part of my personality has taken a backseat, and I have found a way to be myself that I never would have found without taking the risk and pushing myself into something that scared me.
I may never be a poet, but learning how to write poetry has helped me find a road that will help me become a better version of who I am. This experience has helped me learn to pray and connect to God in a new way. I may never be a poet, and that is okay.