Sometimes I wonder how I write. I am not the most intelligent person in the world – there are so many that think better. When I read the words of really good writers, I am abashed and embarrassed to even put pen to paper. I know my words don’t sound as good or as flowy. I know that I don’t know enough to write. Especially, I don’t know enough about Judaism. I like to study and read – but I am not as regular or as determined about it as I should be and so my writing isn’t based in years and years of solid study. There are so many better qualified.
Yet, I love writing. Whether with a pen on paper or with the simple clicks of my computer keys, I like producing long flowing sentences, phrases that correspond to the thoughts in my head and the emotions in my heart. I like the connection with you – by the way, yes, it matters if you hit ‘like’ or comment. It’s the only feedback I get, and negative feedback is, as every parent knows, way better than none.
So, how do I have the khutzpa (brazen pride, hubris, daring) to blog? It’s a big question. It’s a question that underlies my life right now because everything I do requires an incredible amount of hutzpa. How can I parent beautiful, clever children full of their own feelings and ideas? How can I tell them to do this and not to do that? Am I sure I’m right? It’s not like I always eat my vegetables before having my dessert. What gives me the right to tell them to eat theirs? How can I teach, knowing the information I pass on is partially inaccurate and possibly not useful? How can I tell people that something is a certain way when it is only sometimes any which way whatsoever? How can I teach subjects I don’t even know? A substitute’s life is full of adventure, as is a parent’s. I have given instruction in such hilariously inappropriate areas as Italian and figure skating and I know so little of either one that it would be funny – if it wasn’t also scary that I was the best equipped to teach them at the time.
I’m not necessarily always the best equipped. Really, there are so many people who are better than me these days that I sometimes think I’d be better off with a job where I did something simple that didn’t affect people much (painting widgets, maybe or putting stickers on fruit). Yet, instead, I write. I teach. I parent. And I do them all in the full knowledge – with the fear and trembling that comes with that – that I’m probably doing them wrong.
It is an awe-filled gift and curse to want to write, to want to teach. Those who need to communicate, whatever form they use, be it art or ministry, child-care or well-written memos, massage or cakes – those who need to communicate know that it’s impossible to do as well as one would like. It’s equally impossible not to do it and to live truly, though.
That’s why I write. What God gives me is limited ability, great responsibility and a need to express myself through this medium. So, I put pen to paper (or fingers to keys), pray to God for guidance and let the poor, misformed, clumsy words come forth, knowing that I don’t know what I’m doing. It is my way of giving myself to my community, to God, to my world. I don’t know that the gift is a good one or a worthy one but it’s what I have to give and I think for me, it’s my responsibility, my need, my purpose to do so.