While digging through Susan Isaacs’ archives, I found this gem about writing as a sacrament. It got me thinking about sacraments, about sacred and healing things that happen in life. If, as The Book of Common Prayer says, sacraments are “an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible Grace,” it almost seems as if the word is too big to be limited to things like communion and confession and baptism. Those are otherworldly holy things that are deeply, beautifully grounded in earthly vessels: bread, wine, water. But outward and invisible signs of inward and invisible Grace? Those are the very earthly things I cling to on a daily basis: the mystery of bread that rises, the beauty of a snaggletooth grin, the feeling of sand between your toes.
I am not a writer by profession, but I identify with what Susan Isaacs says in that post. There are times when I feel that something bigger than what I know is being said through my own words. As if I am the vessel of something larger than myself, which is what I believe it means to be a Christian: to carry the message of Christ in and through my body. I also think that there are times that putting pen to paper is like confession. Whether anyone sees it or not, it helps me to work out what I am thinking, to loose the knots in my chest that form during a frustrating day. For me, that is an outward sign of the grace that is present in my life. You might be an artist or a surgeon or a tennis player, but, like Susan Isaacs said, I think that those gifts that keep you honest with yourself about what is really going on inside you are a sacrament. It is one way to work through and clarify what you believe, growing the faith to go on.
Emmanuel Cardinal Suhard says, “To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.” To live in that way, to have that faith, is to let yourself believe that the beauty of daily life matters and that the things that are so confusing will one day be made clear. For me, believing that what happens here matters is one of the most difficult–and therefore sacred–beliefs of all.