The calendar reads January 2015, that initiates the start of a third year of blogging for me . . . perhaps it is time to tell something of myself and what prompted me to begin this writing of serious thoughts rather than choosing a more usual topic.
I am a writer. I discovered that when an older friend gave me a diary for my 10th birthday. Every day for the next decade I was more faithful about writing in my diary than saying my prayers (and I was very faithful about my prayers!) Those first ten diaries (plus two more) still exist with not a single blank page; only when I got to my final year in college did I begin missing an occasional day (the plus two more). Perhaps all my writing energy was going into essays, papers, and projects written into the wee hours leaving me too exhausted to face the diary demand.
Writing lost its obsessive quality yet the diaries continued until I married, then there was a lapse of a few years. Why the lapse? Was I reluctant to keep secrets and unwilling to share private thoughts? Or was I too busy developing a career and learning to be a wife, then a mother? Or did I think it time to ‘put an end to childish ways’? It’s too far in the past to know the answer but I remember at times during that lapse feeling an uncompromising need to sit and write about something . . . a dream, a happening, a thought . . . something . . . and that need evolved to journal writing. That was long before journaling came into popularity and there weren’t the pretty journals that now exist, so I began (and have continued) with plain college notebooks; one a year for 50 years.
I began to write for publication after becoming a full-time homemaker to my growing family—four babies in eight years. I had a few ‘light’ articles and poems published but then realized it wasn’t satisfying for me, I was more drawn to serious issues. How had I missed that when in college? My focus changed and I delved into intense study, focusing especially on new scientific discoveries, psychology, philosophy and theology—which raised troubling questions in conflict with my religion. From early childhood I’d been a God-seeker. Religion was important to me, but so was science and they seemed to be in unresolvable conflict particularly when considering evolution, the Big Bang theory, and reproductive issues. Two conflicting ‘truths’ can’t coexist, what must I give up?
It was my discovery of the writings of Teilhard de Chardin that ended my faith crisis and tied science and religion together, bringing a new understanding of all of life’s interconnectedness. I spent an entire year studying his Phenomenon of Man with dictionaries and encyclopedias as my elbow. Later I went on to read The Divine Milieu. I have heard people speak of books that changed their life, those two changed my whole perspective.
Teilhard, a French Jesuit Paleontologist, made me realize science and religion are not in fundamental conflict; rather, our way of interpreting the knowledge base of each that creates the problem—they are two sides of the same coin that gives understanding of what it is to be a human in this amazing world located in this awesome universe. I found it incredibly exciting. Like Galileo’s discovery changed the fundamental knowledge of the structure of our universe, Teilhard’s discovery changes our fundamental understanding of man’s place in the universe.
I vowed my writing would draw from the new understanding that was emerging. My goal was to find a way to bring it from the ‘ivory towers’ to the ‘man in the street’. I was working on a story line for a novel when my life took an unexpected turn; my husband left the family and moved to another state. In his words he was “starting a new life” and wanted no involvement with the family. The demands of being mother, father, and breadwinner for four children under 9 left little time for writing. Eventually I did some professional writing and published a text book while teaching at Palm Beach Junior College.
(to be continued)