Seven of the almost translucent legs rested on my skin. The eighth moved back and forth and looked as though it was tracing one of the grooves of my fingerprint. My chin was planted in the palm of my hand and the spider-donned index finger extended out from the rest. My eyes were almost crossed as they observed the somehow not creepy creature. Apparently, fear of spiders is learned.
Denim knees and linen elbows sucked dew off the lawn. I had been crawling through the yard, tracing the valleys between clumps of grass. The sun was just barely over the horizon and the gray morning was warming up to a pleasant yellow when I made my discovery. I hadn’t seen any other bugs but was deeply interested in the world outside my back door. I had just seen Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and was inspired to hunt for missing buttons and pennies. Legos, feathers and worm holes all created a world I was too large to truly participate in, but could definitely spy on.
The 1989 movie had a terrible plot but at five years old, I didn’t know any better. The film was intended for families and I suspect that most of these don’t have much depth to them because anything too serious or awesome might give your average toddler nightmares, or at least weird ideas. Either way, the concept was ingenious because whether or not they were supposed to, Rick Moranis’ character and his exploits revealed a semi-forgotten world. It wasn’t the deep sea or space, Africa or Antartica but rather, one almost any of us could check out.
I can write and use adjectives until the object they describe is forgotten or confused in a train-wreck of a run-on sentence. I can provide colors, textures, tastes and smells for basically any situation whether or not I’ve experienced it. Together, we can explore my lawn because description isn’t difficult. I think that as much as we can, writers need to describe. Our job is to create scenery and place ideas in it. Then we can show our readers how they interact. I like to use ideas that fight like small children who have just had too much of each other. Regardless of how good we are at this, our words aren’t necessarily enough.
Not even good writing can replace experience.
Perhaps as writers, we shouldn’t seek to entertain so much as to lead. Maybe we can feed readers details and ideas that get them started on a journey, but at the end, nothing will happen without their participation in something greater than the pages or glowing screens that proudly showcase our books and blogs. I think the same is probably true for faith.
You should have guessed that I’d drag Jesus into the picture somehow.
I can’t have faith for someone else. My salvation doesn’t work in proxy for another human. I can pray for friends and family, give them Jesus-books and take them to Jesus-events but in the end, I’m not Jesus. The books aren’t Him and neither are the concerts, crusades or potlucks. He’s the Man that words can’t entirely explain. He is the Word but then again, John said that all the books in the world couldn’t contain everything Jesus did (John 21:25).
I think we should try to elaborate on the inexplicable, enigmatic scenes and philosophies that happen every day. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to fully explain a sunset, Kant’s theory of perception, or Jesus. Especially Jesus. Attempting to might just send someone searching after their own adventures, understandings or even a relationship with the Christ. All we have to say is,
Dude, you gotta see this.