I have just had an unexpected time away from home, caring for my mum after she came out of hospital while my dad had to be away. I watched how frail my mum now is after this latest attack on her health, but I also saw her determination and strength. With her body deteriorating year by year, she is coming to terms with the fact that there is a lot she can no longer do – but she is adamant that she is going to continue to try and do as much as she can.
I started pondering the juxtaposition of frailty and strength and began to see a picture of how we can be as writers. We can be frail in that we are unsure of ourselves; every word can be a struggle, born out of sweat and sometimes tears. We have fragile egos, so can be wary of others’ response to our work. We tentatively lift our heads above the walls of our writing space to offer up our work to the world, unsure of how it will be received. At times it is embraced – at other times rejected.
As writers we have to remain strong and determined because writing is what we do; we have to write, regardless of the response and so we continue on in the midst of the pain of failure and jubilation of success.
The tension that exists in our art is one that reflects tension found so much in life. Just think about the fragility yet intricate beauty of the spider’s web. Hidden in that web is the spider’s strength to spin it, as well as the strength of the finished web to catch and hold its prey. What about the fragile wings of a butterfly, which are so easily damaged and yet strong enough to carry it in flight?
So much of life is about the marriage of fragility and strength.
Jesus’ body, when it was broken for us, became fragile and was literally torn apart by those set to destroy him, yet his sacrifice for us was the ultimate show of strength and determination.
It is in Jesus that we can learn how to hold the tension between fragility and strength well. He teaches us about our own human frailty but also promises us our strength is found in him.
Claire is a freelance writer and editor, mum to two gorgeous young children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on marriage, parenting, worship, discipleship, issues facing women today etc. Her books include Taking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Guide: Managing Conflict and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes a regular column for Christian Today. To find out more about her, please visit www.clairemusters.com and @CMusters on Twitter.