As I was surfing the internet today (to stave off writing, ironically) I encountered this lovely blog post by my acquaintance Jessie on writing. Jessie is working on her dissertation right now, so writing is more central to her academic life than mine, but some of her thoughts resonated with me. At first I was thinking about writing and future in the sense that writing now guides my future – gets me into PhD programs, gets me jobs, gets me recognition. Also, especially if I publish the things I write now, I am committing to defend those ideas in the future, or at least continue to speak knowledgeably in that subject area.
Jessie’s reference to Habakkuk is really nice, though, and not just because it’s my favorite minor prophet. I was thinking about her suggestion that “writing and waiting have so much in common.” Jessie talks about active waiting, but I was thinking too about hope and trust. The upcoming season of Advent reminds us that we are in a constant state of waiting and hoping for the second coming and the new Jerusalem, but smaller bits of waiting also include hope and trust. Writing, for me, is often an exercise in hope and trust. I write in the hope that things I write will be useful and enlightening to me and others in the future. That my articulation of ideas will provide insight and possibility to others. Perhaps high hopes for an academic essay or a Friday afternoon blog post, and of course I don’t expect every word that crosses my keyboard to be brilliance for the future. I do, however, write in the hope that what I am writing is good and useful and will be good and useful in the future.
And I trust that God’s revelation will work through my academic muddling and make its way to me and others through me and my work. That is, I suppose, an outcome worth waiting for.