Pureness of heart…
Proverbs 22:9, 11
He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
After 40 years of living, I finally feel like I’m starting to come into my own. What does that mean? It means that I have discovered my own particular passion, my own particular talent, and my own particular voice. Not my own because I have created it for myself or given it to myself, and not my own because I possess it as a kind of thing – but, rather, my own because this passion, talent, and voice has been given uniquely to me and I, recognizing the gift, am finally allowing myself to receive it. Perhaps, I have learned to be more humble and to accept the goodness of the gift – even if it doesn’t meet the height of my expectations.
For, of course, I want to be on fire, masterful, and highly desirable to others. I am burning – but with a deeper heat, like a coal glowing more intensely, slowly. I am honing my craft – though my blade be but flint, I am working its edge. And I am inspiring – perhaps this is the most difficult fact of my life to accept. Every writer wants, naturally, to have an influence on others with his or her words. I have already done that on a very small, individual scale, inspiring one person to one particular thought. This is not how I dreamed of changing the world… but, perhaps, this is exactly how the world does get changed. And what I need to remember, and am beginning to accept fully, is that my own heart is as inspirational as the way I use words. In fact… it is my heart that does the inspiring – my words merely express my heart.
And when my words truly express my heart, the deepest core of my being, then they are my true voice, the product of my true talent, the reason for my true passion. Excelling at this doesn’t mean that I will become a best-selling author. It’s great to aim high and shoot for the moon, but not at the expense of the pureness of my heart. Of course… I can see this as a way of copping out, my little exit clause that gets me out of serious and hard work. I could just say, “Oh, the world won’t understand my authenticity because I am too pure and too deep for it – but that’s okay, for it’s better to be a saint in obscurity than a sinner on the public stage, so I will remain unedited in the shadows” and blah blah blah, all la-ti-da like that. This is exactly the understanding that I am coming to: I need to seriously work on my craft, put in the hours, make hard decisions, and then brave the world’s opinions – and my focus needs to be, not only on the style of my words, but also, most essentially, on the truth of my words. If I am not clean of heart, then I will not glimpse the divine. And what, then, is my life? For “… the life of man is the vision of God.”
My Maker, the Creator and Master of the universe, has envisioned my life in a particular and brilliant way and has given me the passion, talent, and voice to fulfill that vision. Will I? Or will I waste the time given to me looking for something else?
Most of the time, I feel like I have already wasted 25 years. In high school, I knew that I wanted to be a writer – I knew that I am supposed to be a writer – and I was offered tools to help me toward that end. But I did not use them as I should have. Was it laziness that held me back or sheer procrastination? I know that I have a tendency toward both. Or was it perfectionism (a grave type of pride from which I suffer) and subsequent fear that made me dither and drag my feet, afraid that I would not be as good as I wanted to be?
My hope is that I simply wasn’t ready back then. I wasn’t ready back then because my heart was unclean and I didn’t know the truth of who I am. Back then, my passion was to use beautiful words to share profitable stories and to create my own immortality that way. I wanted my voice to be famous and to receive the crowd’s praise as they valued my work as important. Now, I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t want that anymore. But, what I desire now is a singleness of purpose – a single-heartedness – an exquisitely deep gleaning of myself, to bring forth what is good and true and beautiful in me, God-given, and share it with my fellow human beings. I wish that I had used the time up until this point to, at least, fine-tune my vocabulary, grammar, and ability to hold an audience. That would’ve been helpful to me right now. But, I am here and I’m serious about getting all of it right – not perfect, not award-winning – but right, in that the person who my Maker envisioned is fulfilled.
Although I had always thought that I have a high self-esteem, I’m beginning to see my past self evaluation as vanity. Truly in vain. Now… now that I have opened up myself, my life, to see the fullness of who I am, the fullness of reality, and am devoted to being fully human, fully alive, now I understand how I am beautiful and why I am talented. Only the pureness of my heart yields forth a bountiful eye and grace of voice.
© Christina Chase 2014
All Rights Reserved
 St. Irenaeus