Monday, December 12, 2011

The Writing Assignment

While stuck in “revision-land” with my novel, I am trying to keep the creative juices flowing by using prompts and various writing assignments. Admittedly, I’ve not been writing as much as I’ve wanted, despite my best efforts. Regardless, here I am staring down my latest assignment and frankly, I don’t want to do it. It frightens me.

Here it is: “Create a character with personality traits of someone you love, but the physical characteristics of someone you don’t care for.

Immediately the faces of two individuals come to mind and just as quickly comes the horror: I must destroy someone I love for the purpose of creating a person who does not exist.
Then came the greater horror: there exists someone in my life for whom I don’t care.

All the discipline I require to press on with my duty has crashed head-on with my refusal to do the assignment.  I have love for one and I have hatred for another. There exists within me deep respect for one and deep disdain for another. One draws and another repulses. I would fight for one and throw another to the wolves.

I am sick with this realization.

Then, as if the mirror shifted just a little to give me a look into a place I did not know existed, I am stunned by another realization. First, I realized that the one person I love was not truly the person I love most. I actually love myself more. Then I saw the true monster and the reason why I don’t love the other person at all.

See, standing over me in back of this deeper reflection is the most beautiful person of all time; matter of fact, time itself turns on Him—the central figure of Christmas. Jesus showed me that I don’t have the love He has for the person I can’t stand because I am in the way. I don’t have the forgiveness for the one I cannot forgive. I can’t see the beauty He sees in the one I can’t bear to even look at. He threatens me because He wants to see me changed and I don’t want to change—change is scary.
Here is the problem: the Lord Jesus Christ made it clear that supreme love with all heart, mind, soul and strength belongs to Him and I have not loved Him supremely every day of my life. No person deserves not being cared for, so what I need is Him to care through me—I need His care for that person. No person deserves to remain without forgiveness, so I need Him to forgive through me. The real challenge is that I am not alone in this position.

Look at beautiful Jesus and see, “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected  by men; a man of sorrows,  and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and  we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:1-5) Jesus Himself was so plain that nobody took a second look at Him—He got lost in crowds at the peak of His ministry!

Think about it: what kind of person did Jesus chose to be his up-front man? A hippy! A stinky wild man who ate bugs, dressed in camel skins and liked to dunk people. Who did Jesus chose to have as his closest friends? Fishermen (don’t tell me “Old Spice” was the fisherman’s cologne of choice), tax collectors and a political radical! When Jesus called for more, He asked for the worn out and burdened people to follow Him. What’s wrong with this guy?
What’s wrong is that He did not seek out the outwardly beautiful in order that He might make them beautiful both inwardly and outwardly.

I can’t do that. I have to have it done to me and for me.

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