anxiety, colonialism, Colonialism Han and the Tranformative Spirit, experience, feminist, Feminist Studies in Religion, grace ji-sun kim, mom, painful, Palgrave Pivot, reflection, Spirit, theology, writing
This is a repost of my blog on Feminist Studies in Religion.
Some people are born to write.
Their words seem to flow out of their minds and land so beautifully on their laptop screens. They seem to write effortlessly with their words artistically captured and perfectly written on the pages their printers produce. Their ideas seem magically to appear, profoundly laid out before their eyes.
For some, writing is their passion and they are masters of it. But for the rest of us, writing is torturous. My experience of writing is painful, full of anxiety, and full of stress. For me, it is a forced task which comes with lots of mind-convincing tactics and promises to myself that “something good will come out of hours and hours of thinking and writing.”
It seems like everything I write is forced onto the page and rearranged like a jigsaw puzzle that was painfully put together through “grin and bear it” glasses. This is who I am. Perhaps others among you have similar experiences and feelings about writing. Presently, I am finishing my third book entitled, Colonialism, Han and the Transformative Spirit (Palgrave Pivot, 2013). Believe me, the entire process of writing this book was difficult and at times full of anguish.
So many nights, I was just going to give up. But somehow I pushed through. This third book is special to me since the topic has been hovering over me since I finished my Ph.D. I keep asking, “Why is what I am doing important if it doesn’t influence life now or for generations to come?” I do not want to write something that will have no positive bearing on our lives or on God’s created world. If my writing does not make any impact, then it becomes source of recycled paper, another kettle of words bound together with cover or something to grace the line on my c.v. So, I wanted my book to make a difference in how people understand some of the problems of our world today. I wanted them to be filled with the understanding that we have power to change that reality.
My hope is that people will reimagine a future where our children and generations to come can experience a flourishing life, where the earth is not a battleground, but an earth that can replenish itself. My hope is that they will live in harmony with all creation. I want people to live a flourishing life and understand the Spirit of God resides in us and in all creation. This Spirit of God is transformative and will empower us to make radical changes in our lives, the world, and the whole creation. This is the reason I wrote this book.
But I knew that waiting for the ideal situation to finish the book would be futile. Being a mom, a professor, a scholar, and trying to write a book is difficult. The sabbatical which occurs every seven years would mean I would need to wait five more years to finish this book. Waiting till my three children grow up would mean I would have to wait another ten years to finish this book. Waiting for better health so I can devote more of my time to writing this book will never happen.
The motto I have come to live by is what I found on the internet. “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” With this simple motto, I decided to push forward to finish the book. I cannot wait for my next sabbatical, or my children to grow up, or my minor surgery to pass before I finish this book.
Thus I completed the book in spite of not having ideal conditions. In humility I present my thoughts for discussion and reflection. It was not written in ideal conditions and in many ways it is an unfinished offering. But I offer the book, hoping you will engage with me in this important conversation of how to live so all people and all God’s creation will flourish.
[read also: Christmas Reflections: Peace on Earth and Gun Violence]
[read also: Asian American Wabash Reunion Dinner at American Academy of Religion]
Grace Ji-Sun Kim is Associate Professor of Doctrinal Theology and the Director of the MATS program at Moravian Theological Seminary. She is the author of Colonialism, Han and the Transformative Spirit (Palgrave Pivot), The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other: A Model of Global and Intercultural Pneumatology (Palgrave Macmillan) and The Grace of Sophia: A Korean North American Women’s Christology (Pilgrim Press).
I commend you for your diligence in completing your writing project. The discipline of writing can be at times quite challenging (and even painful). But, I always think of something a pastor friend once said, “You could always be out digging ditches.”
Keep up the good work.
I really appreciate your comment. Writing is a discipline and hard work. Thank you.
Writing is a challenge. Good reflection.
I find that the most rewarding things in life are those that do not come with ease. Congratulations on your third book! You deserve all the praise and accolades because you’ve really persevered. Proud of you, my friend!
Thanks so much wendy! I appreciate your encouragement and kind words.
You wrote not simply for the sake of writing, but to make a difference in our world – and we are all richer because of it. Thanks Grace for your honest sharing. Congrats on your third book!
Thanks for being part of this journey and for all of your encouragement. It is much appreciated.
Pingback: Exploitation, Consumerism, and Eco-Justice | Grace Ji-Sun Kim
Pingback: Moravian College Lecture: “Exploitation, Consumerism & Eco-Justice” | Grace Ji-Sun Kim
Pingback: Taking the Initiative | Grace Ji-Sun Kim
Pingback: Colonialism, Han, and the Transformative Spirit | Grace Ji-Sun Kim
Pingback: WATER: July 10 Teleconference with Grace Ji-Sun Kim | Grace Ji-Sun Kim
Being an science educator, ecologian- Thomas Berry hybrid term, community gardener, mother of five, grandmother, wife, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, I so relate to your reflection. Thank you so much for voicing my experience in such a distilled and yet powerful way. We do what we do because we are graced that our efforts will make a difference for the future. We are blessed with trust. Again, thank you. Peace, Carrie Roach I can’t wait to engage in conversation with our WATER community today. Thank you Mary Hunt and all those involved.
Carrie, I appreciate your comment. I hope the WATER teleconference was a space for more exploration and reflection. Thank you for being part of it.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart! What a grace to hear and contemplate your seeds of wisdom. Please pray and hope they bear fruit, with the grace of the spirit.
Carrie, I really appreciate your kind and gracious comment!
Pingback: Luther Seminary: “Colonialism, Han and the Transformative Spirit” | Grace Ji-Sun Kim
Pingback: WATER Voices: Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual | Grace Ji-Sun Kim
Pingback: Bethel University and Luther Seminary | Grace Ji-Sun Kim