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Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Writer's Obedience

Marcia Lee Laycock is the author of One Smooth Stone, Focused Reflections and The Spur of the Moment. Visit her website -

A while ago my husband and I were surfing the channels on TV when we happened upon a biography of Henri Nouwen. I was moved by his story, by the humility he learned when he went from being an acclaimed professor and author to a care-giver for a mentally challenged adult at L'Arche Daybreak Community.

And I was struck by Jean Vanier’s words – “Henri’s call was not just to be with
Adam or just to care for him, it was to announce him to us, to the world.”

That made me think of another story I heard Philip Yancey tell, of how he sometimes felt guilty when his wife would come home after a busy day of helping people and ask him what he’d done that day. His answer – “Well, I found a great adverb!” - made him feel less than adequate.

I’ve had those same feelings from time to time, especially when a member of our congregation looks at me like I’m that two-headed writer who sits at a computer all day and doesn’t really “do” anything.

It’s at those times that Mr. Vanier’s words ring with a truth I try not to forget. When I feel misunderstood or even guilty, I remember that there were those in the Bible whose only role was to sit at the King’s feet and write down what He did. They were to announce the King’s greatness to their world.

We are to do the same in ours. Just as Henri Nouwen announced the beauty of God in the guise of a disabled man, we are to look for those people, places, things, where God is hidden, and reveal Him.

The best place, the best vantage point from which to do that is sitting at His feet, watching, listening, waiting, and then, writing. For the writer, this is obedience.

Sometimes I envision the Lord taking my chin in his hand and turning my head so I will see what He wants me to record. Sometimes I envision him touching my eyes so they can see.

And then I write.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

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