A Young Man and the Pursuit of Expression


Amongst others, this is dedicated to Jonathan Martin, who in his writing of late has set me ablaze and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. Though I know him only as well as his words can portray, I am deeply grateful for all that he has done. Thank you, Jonathan, for telling your story. You can check out some of his writing at his website: http://www.jonathanmartinwords.com

Fundamentally, I believe it is the inherent desire of all people to know and be known. I don’t mean to come across unaware. There are greater needs, more desperate and pressing. Some will never have the privilege of this desire, for the preoccupation of physical hunger or a deep thirst for peace. It is perhaps a very western idea that expression is fundamentally important.

But Maslow’s hierarchy of needs comes to mind, with the top of the pyramid being self actualisation. In a world void of suffering, where all were free to live in peace and all needs were adequately met, expression would perhaps be the pinnacle of all human joy.

This, I think, is why worship is so important. The great victory of the arts, of liturgy and song and prayer and worship is the glimpse of heaven they can bring to earth. True, essential, expression in the physical and spiritual, if only for a moment, aides us in our realisation of something more, something greater. God is a being who is fundamentally expressive; creative, active, loving. He (or in fact She) endows humanity with the ability to create as they in the beginning have created.

This is something which could be said to have been lost by the majority today. Poetry, prose, song, arts, have all in many ways become secondary pursuits in the daily grind of getting on with getting on. This could potentially be the great tragedy of postmodernity; the cynicism that sees words on paper or figures on screen as nothing more, nothing less. It could also be its greatest strength, if only we were willing to keep telling our story.

So this is my desire, and I am convinced I am not alone: that we, as people, as individuals and communally, should rediscover what it means to be expressive. To know and to be known. To see the arts as more than a fringe hobby for the chosen few but to encourage one and all to see the beauty in the mundane. In doing so, we can truly bring light to darkness in such a tangible and obvious way.

Words can carry beauty and awe. Let us not frown upon those who wish to develop in their understanding of these things. We often see a more developed vocabulary as a sort of arrogance, and in truth this has often been the case. But I find myself exhilarated by the idea that in learning more words, I am learning how to better be myself. I want to grasp tightly hold of the great beast that is vocabularly, to feel the rush of wind through my hair as it takes off in to the sky and, as though by magic, takes me places that I never dreamt I could ever wander.

It has often been said that words are wind, often negatively. If this is so, I want them to gust and to blow me away; to envelop me and push me wheresoever they would have me go. In my pursuit of God, I believe that this too is a noble pursuit. It is my goal to improve in writing, to encourage others to speak and to act and to write, to invigorate others as I myself have been invigorated.

This is my call to arms: let us reclaim the power of expression. Let us live and love and share what it means to be human. Let us step out in a faith of sorts, aware that we may sound silly but willing to take that risk for the sake of beauty and self actualisation. Let us write songs of joy and wonder, woe and lamentation. Prose and poetry and fiction and non-fiction. Liturgy. The work of the people, striving towards a common goal. That every person may know and be known, and in doing so find themselves closer than ever before to something bigger than themselves.

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