In less than a week, Framing Faith will be making its way through the post to bookshelves, doorsteps, and whispered through the net into your hands. It’s been such a process in bringing this book to life that I cannot believe it’s really happening. Along the way I have had questions about how the initial idea came about and what I learned about life and writing… so the next few posts will give you the backstory.
Continued from Part 1…
As I began to write the early pages of Framing Faith, I found myself disconnected and unsatisfied with what I was writing. The rush of excitement of when I began feverishly typing quickly faded into a cold war assault of resistance. Needless to say, early on I was trying to write for everyone around me, rather than listening to my inner voice and writing from my heart. Creating for the pure joy of creation and for myself is what I’ve always done in my career as a storyteller, photojournalist and creative director, why would writing be any different?
Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.
The creative process of writing Framing Faith was far from the detailed process of developing story structure, timelines and deadlines but it was more about listening and capturing what my heart was revealing. Additionally, I had to get comfortable with sharing my story; until now I had only told other people’s stories. I remember thinking to myself, what did it really matter if my story wasn’t told? Everyone else’s story matters, they are the ones that have changed the course of history, ones that fascinate people with their uniqueness, ones that people wanted to hear. My story? Typical. Normal. Standard. Run-of-the-mill. What was the world losing out on by not hearing my story? Not much.
Besides, I had much more to offer as the person behind the camera than the person in front of it. We all need to know our role in the world, right? I knew mine. It was storyteller . . . of other people’s stories. And because their stories were so much better than mine, I didn’t see the point in pursuing my own.
The same kind of problem existed for me in my spiritual life. Like the stories of those I’d interviewed, I knew the stories of the Bible by heart. You could name a character, and I’d rattle off the CliffsNotes of his or her biblical narrative . . . yet I would’ve been hard-pressed to share how that story had meaningfully shaped my own spiritual narrative. How had these faith adventures and struggles, successes and triumphs, doubts and revelations of so many subjects exposed in Scripture framed the course of my own journey of faith? It was when I realized that the answer to this question carried significant weight that I began to explore my personal story of what God had done in my life, what he was doing in me, and what he wanted to do through me.
Writing is an extreme privilege but it’s also a gift. It’s a gift to yourself and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone.
So, if I was going to offer up this beautiful book and a new way to see God in order to help us live in the moment, I needed to share my heart and my story. At this point I was seven chapters in when I hit delete. I started all over. I went back to a blank page. A flashing cursor and a composed heart. As I began to type the first two sentences ‘It’s time for me to come clean. I have a confession to make.‘ they made way for a different book than what I set out to write, but it was the one I was to write. those two sentences sat unaccompanied, alone on a barren page for almost four months.