Writing Wednesdays

Aside from the basic enjoyability and need for practice in writing, my friend Nancy’s Writing Wednesdays seem like a great back-up idea when things are slow (and when aren’t Wednesdays slow?).  So, courtesy of Away We Go, here’s my stab at Writing Wednesdays

This week’s prompt is to:

1) Select a roomI opted to select my office, since that’s where I am at the moment.
2) Select 3-4 specific details of that roomI opted to select the various lighting instruments in my office, shared below in photo format for your viewing pleasure.

















3) Study the objects and determine either a) the tone you’re attempting to develop or b) what these objects reveal about your characterI’m a sucker for character.
4) Draft.  Let it rest.  Play with it.  Show it to friends.  Get feedback.  Publish like Nancy, I’m rather impulsive with my writing.  So here it is!

The Result:

Father McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear.
No one comes near.
Look at him working, darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there,
What does he care?

– The Beatles – “Eleanor Rigby”



Eyes closed, the song rings, incriminatingly, in the back of my mind.  Surely it’s sinful to sit in a darkened office when there is so much light available?  Everyone else seems to think so.

Don’t you want the light on?

No, I don’t really care for the fluorescent lighting.  And besides, half of the bulbs don’t work half the time. 

I could fix those for you.  Install some new ballasts.  Good as new.  Really brighten up the place!

No need to go to all that trouble and expense.  I can use my desk lamp.  Or my reading lamp.

But I don’t. 

The stubbornness of an aging man?  It’s my teeth that worry me, not my eyes.  I can see just fine, especially since I’m shackled to this laptop all of the time.  Maybe I’m just attempting some old fashioned prophetic embodiment.  But what good is the prophet if nobody hears him?  What good is a metaphor of light when nobody is around to see it? 

It certainly isn’t that the Light isn’t clear enough.  It isn’t that there isn’t enough Light.  Despite my shortcomings and failures and pride and humanity.  That’s what the cracks in the jar are for, right?  So that the light can shine brighter.  The shadows only end up accentuating what they aren’t able to extinguish.  Darkness is only a peripheral study in contrast, failing to be anything more than just a momentary distraction.  Great.  I’ve just rationalized the necessity of evil for the glory of God.  Add several logs to the fire that’s being stoked in my honor downstairs.  I’ll be there all too shortly.

Father McKenzie can never more than speculate on who hears, who sees.  He darns his socks because it doesn’t matter who sees or who hears, what matters is that he is present to point the way, that he delivers the Word that is not his own.  He darns and speaks and sits in the dark because the servant doesn’t question the instructions of the master.  The servant’s worthiness is not in his ability to discern, but to obey.  All fine theological points that were largely lost on the Fab Four, most likely.

I turn back to the books and the laptop.  The soundtrack fades and I resume the various things that require my attention for the moment.  The toes of my socks are thin, but aren’t worn through yet.  The teeth are likely to hold a while longer.  And for the time being, the eyes are good.  Despite the shadows and the darkness – distinctions that would be impossible without first having Light.


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6 Responses to “Writing Wednesdays”

  1. Nancy Campbell Says:

    Paul, Thank you for indulging me, and for humbling me as well. Pride is a big stumbling block of mine, and so often I have to remind myself of why I seek the vocations in my life—for my glory? For God’s? It’s hard for me to be the person in the dark room, which is probably why God is sending me there. Nancy Oh–and I am constantly being told to turn a light on.

  2. Paul Nelson Says:

    Lights cost money, doggone it.  You think money grows on trees?  Why can’t anybody in this house turn out a simple light ferpetesake?Maybe it’s just my inner midwestern Norwegian Lutheran expressing himself at last.  Next come the one-handed farmer’s blows.  I can’t wait.I’m sure you’ll have *lots* of people indulging you in the weeks ahead – keep at it!

  3. CorrieHowe Says:

    I liked your philosophical setting. Thanks for supporting Nancy in Writing Wednesdays. I plan to as well, only I promised myself I’d not stay up until 3 a.m. for a third night in a row.

  4. Paul Nelson Says:

    Nice to meet you, Corrie.  And thanks for the compliments.  Light bulbs and existensialism are a match made in heaven!

  5. Nancy Campbell Says:

    You would love Christmas at Paul’s grandfather’s house (in Wisconsin). After presents, the conversation always turns to logging accidents.

  6. Paul Nelson Says:

    Sign me up for this year!  I lurvs me some good old fashioned logging accident stories whilst sipping my eggnog and tequila.

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