Thursday, July 09, 2009


When I was a sophomore in college I can remember studying James Joyce in British Literature 202 and being so frustrated! If you’ve never read Joyce, he did this thing called “stream of consciousness,” where he simply let his mind spill out onto the page without editing the punctuation, setting any kind of scene or telling the reader who is speaking when or to whom. It is very confusing and is supposed to be this mish-mashed jumble of thoughts as if you could really take in information the way the brain experiences it in real-time. It defies sense and isn’t linear in any way. I remember we were supposed to read the first chapter of one of his books and discuss the meaning in class and no one had a clue what it was about! Our professor tried to shepherd us through the ridiculous, chaotic, nonsense of Joyce’s mind but understanding eluded us completely. Finally he told us that the chapter was about a young boy who still has problems keeping his sheets dry… are you kidding me?! Since that day I have hated stream of consciousness and avoided all writers who use it like the bubonic plague, but today I accidentally wrote some…

You see, last night as it was getting late Christy asked, “So, how’s your day looking for tomorrow?” I thought for a minute and then began to recite a list of responsibilities and goals that was unbearably long… from the wedding talk I needed to get ready to the campaigners lesson that was yet to be written to Sunday night’s Bible Study lesson, the staff meeting, my weekly meditation, music for the week, details for the Chicago trip and on and on and on… After a while I simply stopped listing stuff I needed to work on and decided that I needed to get on to bed. When I woke up this morning that selfsame gigantic list of stuff on my “to do” list hit me in the face along with other concerns: people I know who are struggling or sick or recovering or who might be having a rough day… whew! It was like waking up with a car on top of your back and wondering, can I even get out from under this?!

When I got up to church and turned to the Scriptures, I wound up reading Psalm 5 which says, “In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.”

Whoa! It was exactly what I needed! I found a fresh page in my journal and just started writing… there was no rhyme or reason and hardly any punctuation. I simply wrote and wrote everything I wanted God to do that day. I would switch back and forth from prayers for one of my kids, to one of our missionaries, over to our money, the t-shirt order I needed to finish on time and then back to my own energy and joy for the day. It was a mad rush of thoughts spilling out of my head and heart at the break-neck speed of desperation. And the great thing was that at the end of it I had this totally ridiculous and nonsensical, James Joycian stream of conciousness rubbish that no one in their right mind could possibly make any sense of, and yet I knew that God heard every word, every random subject change and every cry for mercy and power. He heard my voice and I was able to look at that page and simply wait in expectation to see what He would do.

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