Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Where Do I Come Up with These Things?
Someone in my parish read this blog and asked me an honest question. "Where do you come up with all that stuff?" She was perhaps hinting that while I was spending so much time in front of a computer that I might better use in some other pursuit. The answer to her question is something of an embarrassment to my family. They think it should be an embarrassment to me as well.
For years now as I travel I tote along a spiral notebook. It has been mockingly named "My Thought Book." And that it is. I write down things. Things that come to my mind. Questions that I think about. Insights that come to me unbidden. Aha moments when things align in my mind. The Thought Book has been a source of great laughter among my family. "Oh, get out the thought book for that one!" HA HA HA
But I like that thought book. I like writing things down. It gives me great pleasure to put pen to paper -- and these random thoughts and meanderings are the source of much that ends up here on this blog.
I highly recommend you get a thought book. I am not disciplined enough to journal and few of these thoughts are about me personally. Most of them are about the Christian faith, about the Church that bears our Lord's name, about living within a parish setting, about the ministry of Word and Sacrament, about the teaching process. So this is no journal but merely a book of my random thoughts, inspired by something on the radio, a comment in conversation, meditations on Scripture and the faith, etc. I highly recommend one for you.
I think we do not do enough thinking -- not the kind of problem solving thinking or brain storming when a problem looms but the kind of thinking that looks for the Lord in the routines of our lives, that listens to His Word and considers how it bears upon our ordinary lives, or the great words of faith that stick in our minds (from Scripture, hymnbook, or prayerbook).
It seems to me that this kind of thinking is of much benefit to the faith. It helps me connect my daily hours spent off the job with the faith that is both vocation and personal belief. Be prepared for some ribbing if anyone gets a hold of your precious thoughts -- it has happened to me more than once -- but try it. Keep it with you and spend a minute here or there jotting down the questions that pop into your minds, the profound insights that bear sharing with others, the curiosities that bear further scrutiny... This is one way I keep the faith... keep it with me... keep it faithfully... keep it within my focus while doing all sorts of other things. Try it.