The good words.

Sometimes the good words never come.

I’ve been trying to write a memorable blog post for more than a week now, and the right words just have not come to me yet. Maybe they never will. [In my mind that seems like a really good excuse not to blog, but it’s not a very practical one]

I want to write about the month I’ve spent here in Illinois, and I want to tell you all that it feels like an eternity has passed. I want to detail my myriad experiences at and impressions of Christianity Today, and I want to tell you about what it’s like to be Melissa Steffan, editorial resident…a professional journalist. I have wanted to write about my first news story, and my second news story to appear in the October print edition of the magazine, and I had hoped I’d find time to explain the importance (for me) of getting involved at Willow Creek Church.

But for whatever reason(s), I haven’t blogged.

I want to tell you that so much has happened – so much heartache and loneliness, so much joy and so many blessings. I want you to know that I’m where I’m supposed to be, that maybe I don’t mind the Midwest as much as I’d lead you to believe, but that I really do miss driving on freeways without tolls and going familiar places.

I want to write about all of the overwhelming things that haven’t actually overwhelmed me, but the thought of sitting down to write them all is…overwhelming.

So in lieu of me being able to write something good, I thought maybe I would point you toward words that others have written, words that I’ve enjoyed reading lately.

1. “My understanding of redemption is so small. … But I am here to attest to the fact that God is so much bigger than our understanding of Him. He is also so much bigger than any mess we can create in this broken world.”

2. From Donald Miller’s book, Blue Like Jazz, which I finally read for the first time this month after a good friend gave it to me for my birthday: The Bible is so good with chocolate. I always thought the Bible was more of a salad thing, you know, but it isn’t. It is a chocolate thing.

2.5. And also from Blue Like Jazz: “To be in a relationship with God is to be loved purely and furiously. And a person who thinks himself unlovable cannot be in a relationship with God because he can’t accept who God is; a Being that is love.”

3. Aaron Belz’s poem in Books and Culture, a short work titled “Making Tea,” which begins, “I’m not angry. I’m making tea. / There’s a difference.”

4. A line from Adrienne Rich’s poem, titled “Implosions”: “I wanted to choose words that even you / would have to be changed by”

5. All of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. Duh. I realize I am years — really, years — late to the C.S. Lewis party, but this book is phenomenal. I started reading my roommate’s copy, but about a third of the way through I realized that I was dog-earing so many pages that I really should just buy my own. So I did.

6. This entire Manifesto, but mainly the following line: “I stay small because … I’m afraid of the duration of the leaping.” [When I read this, I just want to throw my hands up and say, “AMEN.” I think of it in terms of faith: We are all terrified of leaping, of taking risks, of stepping out in faith and believing that God will catch us, but it’s even more terrifying to consider how long we may be suspended in mid-air before we reach the other side. I am scared to leap, to pray big, audacious prayers, because I fear that I do not have the stamina to endure the duration of the leap.]

7. Speaking of “duration,” these good words from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: “Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We would like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability – and that it may take a very long time.”

That’s all for now. But for the record, it has been a great month.


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