Wrestling with the Mystery (2013-08-27 Daily)
Hi all! I’m looking for honest feedback on this post; I plan to submit this for publication.
WRESTLING WITH THE MYSTERY
David C. Hughes
In the Hebrew Bible, Genesis Chapter 32 tells the story of the Patriarch Jacob and how he wrestled with God. As Jacob prepared to return to his country at God’s request, one obstacle stood in his way: fear of his brother Esau’s retaliation for deceitfully gaining his father’s blessing. As a precaution, Jacob divided his camp into two; if Esau attacked one camp, the other might have a chance to flee. After sending his family and possessions ahead of him, Jacob remained alone, “and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.” “The man” was God, and Jacob would not let go of Him until He blessed him. On delivering the blessing, God renamed Jacob “Israel” because he “struggled with God and with humans” and overcame. God changed Jacob’s name from “he deceives,” to “he struggles with God.” I can relate.
As a writer I confess that I too struggle with God, with man, and especially with myself. Sometimes I feel like I’m deceiving myself and my family: Am I good enough, talented enough, ballsy enough to make a living at this unorthodox profession? Sometimes I wonder why God just didn’t plant in my heart the passion to live out my engineering vocation, or the hunger to be an entrepreneur, or the talent to be a Major League pitcher. You know, something a little more normal, more lucrative. I struggle with the dichotomy; on one hand I can’t not write, on the other hand the hourly rate sucks (for the moment). So I wrestle. I wrestle with a calling so deep, so consuming I lose track of time when I’m plying it; I look forward to going to work, and I don’t want to stop at the end of a productive day to cook dinner. But I do it. I wrestle with waking up at 3:00 in the morning with a story idea so persuasive I can’t not roll out of bed, limp into the bathroom, and write the idea down in my journal with blurry eyes and full bladder. But I do it. I wrestle with an avocation so strong it’s akin to the call of a man to the priesthood: At one moment, a long time ago, I looked out the window of my life and knew where I was supposed to be. Despite the fear of failure, despite the reality of rejection, despite the mystery of this urge–or maybe because of it–I won’t let go until God blesses me as well.
For over three decades I’ve wrestled with God and with man and with myself. I’ve learned how to be thick-skinned and truthful. I’ve learned how to be persistent, what to pay attention to, and what to ignore. I’ve learned where to place my priorities and whom to ask for help. I’ve learned not to ignore the visions that shake me out of a dead sleep and slap my face until I write them down for safekeeping. I’ve learned to trust myself. I’ve learned to trust God. And after working in the electrical engineering field for over 27 years, I took the leap of faith to make a living at this craft. A wing and a prayer. Actually, lots of prayers. Lots of support. Lots of love. An understanding wife. Strike that—a gracious wife. Because who can really understand a writer, especially when we writers can’t quite comprehend ourselves? I wrestled with God all night and into the morning, and He blessed me. I’m no longer the supplanter but the overcomer. I’m a writer.
Copyright ©2013 David C. Hughes