Monday, January 4, 2016

A Plea to All Artists, Writers, and Poets

Some years ago, I visited an elderly man who was a veteran of WWII. He told me an amazing story of survival while on patrol in Italy where his entire squad around him died, but he survived without a scratch. He felt that since then he had been living on borrowed time and that the incident encouraged him to live a life of integrity and dignity.

I begged him to write the story down or record it on a cassette tape. Normally I would never be that insistent, but he finally gave in to my persistent plea and promised me he would write it down for posterity.

In less than a week, I officiated at his funeral. He never wrote the story down.

Two years ago, I met a man and we became very good friends. An author of three nonfiction books, we had been talking about his magnum opus, a book that would be an analysis of Christianity that had come from decades of intense, original research from his own unique perspective, but at this point his book existed only as an idea.

We had discussed its purpose and proposed outline and I had written a concise, succinct purpose of the book that we both agreed would serve as the work’s introduction.

He agreed to begin work on an outline and he contemplated a published book of 600 pages.

He put it off for two months.

Next Saturday, I will officiate at his funeral.

The lesson you should learn from this is not to leave the world with unwritten books, poems expressed only in your mind, and art only sketched in your imagination.

Life is too short to not give expression to your soul. Way too short, too unpredictable, too uncertain. As the Psalmist wrote, “Man is like a mere breath; his days are like a passing shadow.”

So when do you express your heart’s creativity?

Why, today. Start it today. There is no promise of tomorrow, so view today as a gift and begin it even if it is only a few sentences scrawled on foolscap or some exploratory lines on a canvas.

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