Soon the question of when the funeral would be hung in the air. The date was announced; it fell on my birthday. Though I hadn’t yet made plans to celebrate, a funeral was the last event I expected to attend on my birthday.
Yet, I didn’t mind. This would serve as a reminder of the preciousness and brevity of life. What better way to celebrate living than to remember someone else? I’ve found the most powerful testimony of a person’s legacy is not so much in how they lived but in what people learned from how they lived.
Funerals, though sad, can also be inspirational moments.
Inspiration is also a topic that Madeleine L’Engle addresses in chapter eleven of her book Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. Usually, when we talk about inspiration, it’s from the angle of chasing it, like in a game of hide-and-seek.
As we immerse ourselves in our passions or in fulfilling our daily tasks, we pray our eyes will be opened to the inspiration around us — that God has something to teach us if we just stop and listen. While this is true, the chapter went a step further.
Inspiration comes to us, when and where we least expect it.
We can’t always search for inspiration; many times, it is given to us. L’Engle gives examples of this gift by sharing how, during a moment of writer’s block, a friend shared an article with her on a non-related topic. After reading through the article, her eyes were opened and she was inspired from another perspective. She overcame her writer’s block and was able to complete her work.
The temptation I often face during moments of a writing impasse is to walk away completely and distract myself. Suddenly it’s a perfect time to cook, clean, or even sort dirty laundry — anything that doesn’t involve the article that currently frustrates me.
I avoid reading other works and subjects because I don’t want my brain to go off target. But if I am to apply L’Engle’s suggestion, then I shouldn’t walk away from my writing space completely. While I may need to pause the work in progress, I should continue reading and immersing in life.
By pressing forward, inspiration can come through other avenues around me.
This is similar to how the faith life works. I often think God speaks to me because I’ve asked Him to or gone searching for Him — that prayers can only be answered because I’ve prayed. I forget that He has promised to answer and respond while I’m still speaking and sometimes even before I even call on Him. But while I’m trying to control my perspective on God, I miss out on glorious inspiration around me.
I need to lean into Him and embrace all that is in my life, for it’s through the unexpected, He often does inspire us.