Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Inspiration/Block (for the writer) (05/20/10)
TITLE: The Door to the Secret Closet
By Beth Muehlhausen
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In the back recesses of Eva Plumtree ‘s mind stood a sturdy door - and beyond it, a secret closet of inspiration. This was a sacred place without boundaries, a place where God lived and worked and shared Himself with her.
He threw open the door of this closet at unexpected times - when the Sugar Plum Fairy moved Eva’s body to dance, when Paradise Lost prodded her pen to script a thunderous, raging flood-stage torrent of words, or even when some small encounter with the shadows on her ceiling or the wind in the trees moved her to tears. Sometimes in these moments Eva was caught off guard and slammed the door shut, not knowing how to manage creative passions that enticed her beyond the rational.
Still, God persisted.
Over time she learned not to fear the closet door, but to listen for its creaky creak and the gentle Voice on the other side that called her to express something far deeper and wider than what logic might know. Her life changed as she began to wait expectantly and confidently for those open-door moments. There was no way to forecast when the door would open or shut; when she would be silenced with writer’s block, or enabled as a creative voice for inspiration.
No one else knew about the door to the secret closet. It was a private matter. It became freeing to trust inspiration that opened up at just the right time, for just the right purpose, in just the right way, for just the right audience.
One summer morning Eva sat on her back patio with a cup of coffee her cat, Cleo, in her lap, and she sensed the door to the secret closet opening wide. In fact, it swung open with such force that it might have even banged against the gates of heaven!
“Get me a pencil, would you?” Eva addressed her husband who was passing by. “And a piece of paper?” Her voice seemed urgent. “Quickly, if you can … and a magazine, or something stiff as a writing surface?”
“Of course, honey, just a minute and I’ll bring you something.” He disappeared and returned with a spiral notebook and ballpoint pen. “How about this?”
“That’s fine. I’m on a roll; you know what that means!”
He smiled and disappeared into the house, knowing she needed privacy. She immediately began writing with clarity about the very inspiration that visited her more and more frequently from the other side of that secret closet door.
The Lord alone fuels my pen. Sometimes I don’t even understand what I write – it doesn’t make sense until much later - but that doesn’t matter. It isn’t about me. I depend on His inspiration even though I can’t command it; even though I sometimes end up ignoring, resisting, or even attacking it.
I’m confounded by inspiration – that which is given to me from the secret closet. Much of what I have written has come unbidden from that closet in moments of personal self-abandonment when time stops and I do very little other than breathe, poise my fingers over the computer keyboard, and wait on Him.
Sometimes inspiration is slippery, like a shy banana peel that doesn’t want to be seen. It shows up when I’m doing the dishes or mopping the floor or wiping baby food from my granddaughter’s chin. I can’t command it, but must simply be ready when it appears. Other times it becomes an obsession, and I can think of nothing else. It may show up as pieces of memory mingled with fantasy, or as a fascination with people, or as a dream. There are no formulas.
Inspiration can’t be cultivated since it is a gift, but it is important to prop the door of the secret closet once it opens. This is a matter of trusting the Source and encouraging, nurturing, enabling the process. Then all the good stuff bubbles over like a wall of cascading soapsuds driven by a divinely inspired bubble pipe …
Eva dropped her pen and wondered if anyone else might know what she was talking about. But then again, it didn’t matter. She was being obedient to record as she was inspired – to capture what was given her from the mystical God-place behind the secret closet’s door.
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