It will feel so otherworldly when you hear a voice within you that is peaceful and kind. A voice that’s unburdened by the sense that everything you do is wrong and that your life is on the verge of collapsing at any minute. You’ll just be in the shower or lying in bed at night or reading a novel, and this voice will confidentially break through all the noise. From time to time, the voice will offer you a clear insight, and just like that you’ll know what to do in the kind of situation that might have terrified you in the past. Maybe, just maybe, this voice is what Christians call “the Holy Spirit.”
We’ve all heard it, right? “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” And most us can understand some of why a person might say something like this. The word “religion” has developed a lot of baggage, some of it fairly, some of it unfairly. The biggest organized religions have done a lot of fighting with each other and politicizing…well, just about everything.
In the acclaimed 1986 film, Hoosiers, Myra Fleener observes that “a basketball hero around here is treated like a god.” Speaking about the town’s star, Jimmy Chitwood, she says, “I don’t want this to be the high point of his life. I’ve seen them, the real sad ones. They sit around the rest of their lives talking about the glory days when they were seventeen years old.” John Updike, the late American novelist and cultural critic, has shown a willingness to take on the godship of the male athlete and the loneliness that comes with it after the stardom dies, as it inevitably does.
About a year-and-a-half ago, Mindy Weaver-Flask and I took a graduate class together in Indianapolis. She is a mother, a wife, a writer, a high-school-English teacher, and also manages to run her own business: Women Writing for a Change. Upon meeting her, it was apparent that she is the kind of person to move beyond pleasantries and get to someone’s heart. I appreciated that in her, and we have since become friends. Here is the transcript of a conversation we had.
Madeleine L’Engle wrote a wonderful book called Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. Reading it made me wonder why it took me so long to read it; it was one of those works in which I just wanted to underline every other line and cherish it, memorize it, and apply it to my life. I had read L’Engle before, but only once: as a fifth grader, when my class read A Wrinkle in Time. I don’t remember much from it, but I do recall it possessing a certain depth.