I have been gathering and revising blog entries into a book of essays. I intend for the book to have five categories exploring my interactions with family, community, myself, my work, and God. The category that I am having the hardest time filling is the last one. This is not for lack of experiences. I am surrounded by experiences that I feel are inspired, guided, and blessed. I have them all the time, but I tend not to write about them publicly.
This reticence has several aspects. First and foremost, I do not want to alienate anyone. I have friends and strangers reading this blog who believe things which are very different than what I believe. I know that there are people out there for whom the very fact that I believe in God, particularly a god who communicates with me, would make them view me askance. So I keep my writing about that aspect of my life to a minimum. I try to use words that are as religiously neutral as possible. I suppose I am trying to emphasize the points of connection rather than disconnection. I believe that people of different religions, atheism, or agnosticism all have much in common. I am more interested in building bridges than I am in making a stand.
Another reason I tend to not write about the spiritual things in my life is that the experiences tend to be intensely personal. They are sacred to me and they must be protected if they are to remain sacred. There are some things which will never get put into an essay. There are some things which don’t even get shared beyond my very closest family and friends. There are even things which don’t get shared at all because they are for me alone. But there are lots of things that I can share, and sometimes I do.
Sharing things that are personal is scary. I feel vulnerable when I do so. But as I look back on the track record of this blog, I realize that opening myself up and sharing my experiences has been overwhelmingly positive. Yes I give others greater power to wound me, but for the most part that has not happened. Instead I discover closer connections to the people around me.
I don’t know that the balance of what I do and don’t write about in my blog needs to change, but examining the reasons behind the decisions is useful. I learn a lot about myself when I dig into the motivations behind my decisions. I learn even more when I examine my own assumptions so that I can see what they are. I may discover nothing that needs to be changed, but even if I don’t, it is good to see where I am coming from as I try to tackle my life’s choices and challenges.