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All That Life Threatens to Steal

I read an article this week about the death of handwriting and how a whole generation of kids will grow up with bad to nonexistent penmanship skills due to the proliferation of technological devices that they master before their tenth birthday. I read another one about how we retain far more of what we write when use pen and paper rather than laptop and tablets. And then I read yet another article about how wireless technology was giving us cancer and generally rotting our brains. Feeling appropriately despondent about the state of our wired and technologically dependent world, I said to myself, “very well then, pen to paper it is.” My handwriting, as you will see, is truly abysmal (I’m old enough that I can’t even blame the Internet for my inadequacies), but hopefully it is legible nonetheless. Believe it or not, this is the result of me writing extra slowly.

I wrote the following reflection sitting in a dumpy coffee shop with an old notebook after visiting a dear saint walking through the fog and sadness of the valley of the shadow.

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jaime Spyksma #

    Wow! Ryan, you again have the gift of moving my soul. The power of the handwritten word is so evident in your post. Your emotions are shown through pen and paper that would not be as clear with a laptop and a keyboard. Thank you again for your moving thoughts and reflections and the reminder that my daily struggles are nothing in comparison with someone who is walking in the valley of the shadow.

    April 2, 2014
    • Thank you, Jaime, for these very kind words. I hope you and your family are well!

      April 2, 2014
  2. mike #

    “…in the end, all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”

    Into the Eye of God

    by Macrina Wiederkehr

    For your prayer
    your journey into God,
    may you be given a small storm
    a little hurricane
    named after you,
    persistent enough
    to get your attention
    violent enough
    to awaken you to new depths
    strong enough
    to shake you to the roots
    majestic enough
    to remind you of your origin:
    made of the earth
    yet steeped in eternity
    frail human dust
    yet soaked with infinity.

    You begin your storm
    under the Eye of God.
    A watchful, caring eye
    gazes in your direction
    as you wrestle
    with the life force within.

    In the midst of these holy winds
    In the midst of this divine wrestling
    your storm journey
    like all hurricanes
    leads you into the eye,
    Into the Eye of God
    where all is calm and quiet.

    A stillness beyond imagining!
    Into the Eye of God
    after the storm
    Into the silent, beautiful darkness
    Into the Eye of God.

    April 2, 2014
    • Beautiful. Thanks for sharing this.

      April 3, 2014
  3. Franklin #

    well, I’d call this handprinted, not handwritten, but good on you for giving it a shot. 🙂

    April 2, 2014
    • Yes, I suppose so. It was the only way to make it legible 🙂 .

      April 3, 2014
  4. My son, an art teacher at Mandarin Middle School in Jacksonville, FL actually teaches cursive handwriting as an art form. Intriguing post!

    April 3, 2014
    • Sounds like a course I should take 🙂 .

      April 4, 2014
  5. My handwriting is much worse. Yet I’ve drafted over 150,000 words, including my master’s thesis, with pen and paper in the past 5 years. Now it’s a habit.

    April 3, 2014
    • Wow, you have my deepest admiration. My hand was aching after six pages in a Moleskin 🙂 .

      (Have you noticed a change in how you write as a result of this habit? Easier to focus?)

      April 4, 2014

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