Faith and Muse
Sometimes I hate writing. I often find myself sitting in a coffee shop for hours trying, in vain, to come up with one good sentence. I’ll open a notebook and tear out more pages than I’ll end up with words. I’ll know exactly what I need to say and then struggle desperately to word it in a way that sounds interesting. Countless draft edits and dismissal of past stories fill my time, and I’ve come to accept that it’s all a part of the process.
However, other times, I’ll be lying awake at 4:00 in the morning and a paragraph of quality prose will rush through my head. Frustrated, I have to decide whether or not what I’ve thought of is worth losing precious sleep to put on paper. When it is, I have to get up, regardless of how tired I am and write what I’ve thought of in a notebook. These spontaneous and unpredictable moments of inspiration are similar in my faith.
Like most people who have a strong faith, I sometimes go through long periods of doubt and confusion. I feel distanced from my church when I disagree with them on certain issues, and I get frustrated with Christians who use their beliefs and traditions as excuses to show hatred towards others. But just like jumping out of bed at 4:00 in the morning to write down my thoughts, I sometimes have to force myself out of neglect and remember what makes my faith strong to begin with.
Emotions and ideas come and go quickly, and we often have to sort through them to understand which ones are important and which are fleeting and impassionate.
Living life can be harsh and difficult at times, and the resulting feelings can confuse one about what he or she believes in and why. During these times, faith and trust in God’s love can collapse. But like the ideas a writer comes up with for a story in the middle of the night, our faith can be inspired at strange times.
This inspiration can come from witnessing a selfless act, a feeling of love for someone important in your life, or even randomly in a moment of contemplation.
When these moments happen, it is important for us to take advantage of them to grow closer to God. It is important for us to realize our roles as Christians and what we need to do for others. And it is important for us to realize the necessity of creating these moments for others.
After all, the monk silently praying to himself in a monastery during a moment of doubt, and the frustrated writer finally understanding how to form a sentence are not very different. I’m lucky that both the passion of faith and writing exist in my life because one can always teach me about the other. And in moments of frustration, I always know that just around the corner is the muse I’m looking for to finish a story, or the constant and everlasting knowledge that God is everywhere.
Nicholas Siegel is a recent graduate of Bellarmine University, where he majored in English and minored in Theology. In addition to being an antler intern, he is currently working towards a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at Spalding Univeristy with a concentration in fiction.
Follow Nicholas on Twitter: @nicholassiegel