The same thing that happened with chapter two happened with chapter three. I read it two months ago and decided I was not in a place to write about it.
The interesting thing is that I really related to a lot of what McManus wrote about in this chapter. He talked about how art comes from pain and darkness often provides a more creative space than life does. I agree entirely. “If life is a work of art and life is to become our most creative act, then we must realize that our lives will be our most profound interpretation of what it means to be truly human,” (74).
I experienced the deepest depression of my life for nineteen days after my girlfriend of more than three years and I broke up at the end of March. We had a huge fight and I haven’t spoken to her since. She said some hurtful things as did I, and those hung over my head for nearly three weeks. I felt all the words I had struggled for for months rise up within me and I was tempted to pick up a pen and begin writing.
However, I knew what I would write wouldn’t ultimately help me feel better, it would just temporarily alleviate the pain. I needed to ponder what had led to this, not vent about how it made me feel. “Truth finds its way into the inner recesses of our soul only through interpretation,” (73). I figured out the truth only after I spent many days interpreting. I felt better only after I shared my story with someone new and she listened.
There is a monolithic difference between hearing and listening. My former paramour heard everything I said, but for months, she hadn’t listened. This has a similar structural compostion to McManus’ views, “Truth is not nearly as powerful as interpretation,” (72). We both view two concepts as similar, but one is certainly inferior to the other.
I loved the example McManus gave from The Tree of Life. I haven’t seen it, but I plan on renting it now. He talks about Brad Pitt in the movie, which reminded me a lot of my father. “By calling his son over to grab his lighter, he was in his own awkward and sublime way inviting his son to come near. It wasn’t the lighter he wanted; it was the kiss. And it wasn’t the kiss that was his ultimate desire; it was the affection of his son,” (71). We often are scared of the unknown, and I assume that much like me, this boy did not really know his father. While I never had a great relationship with my dad growing up, I knew he always loved me, though he had a tough time and interesting ways of expressing it.
McManus compared this relationship to a divine one. “We fear God, so we do his bidding and risk coming near him, all the while waiting to put distance between ourselves and our Creator. God is, however, profoundly misunderstood. Worship is not something we are called to so that God can reinforce his status. It is his way of calling us near,” (71). God is calling us to live out our purpose that he designed for us long ago.