I Am a Writer: My Anointing

Painting our portraits was like insisting we were beautiful, worthy. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing so bold as that, in this holding cell called earth, where so much has stayed ugly and broken. Our faces hung up there at Bluestem Bistro, where everyone could see what was really true.

Amanda called her collection of portraits Wholly Holy. She gave us all halos — a different one for each of us. What would mine be? What did it even mean to have a halo?

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I remember visiting Amanda’s townhouse, where she’d first asked if she could snap my picture. She had not long ago birthed a baby girl, and a postpartum darkness sometimes settled over her. But determined to create, she had committed to painting an entire collection of portraits that year for a show only eight months away. Sometimes, when I’d see her, Amanda would break into her mysterious smile, refusing to tell me what my halo was.

All the while, she was accepting hers. She was creating. She was painting. She was seeing. And she was anointing others.

Idelette McVicker at SheLovesMagazine.com has claimed the word anointing this year. She has claimed it as a verb, an action we take to “[help] others cross over the threshold into their dreams and hopes.” Idelette calls anointing a “ritual of release. A ceremony of blessing. An act that symbolizes our belief in the dreams we see in a heart.”

My halo — my anointing — came with quills. Not of the sharp, porcupine variety, but the feathered type. The pen. Amanda anointed me as a writer.

painting_whole

I think we hesitate to claim a title at times — writer, runner, artist — because we believe it is too big for us. If in that role we fail or get messy, what will that say of our calling?

Shame — that ugly defiance of what is most true and real about us — has been called by Jean-Paul Sartre a hemorrhage of the soul. If that is so, then Amanda’s portrait of me is a courageous expression of my healing, of declaring wholeness — holiness — upon me. Rather than accept a world of hemorrhaged souls, Amanda anointed me as divine, a healthy and beautiful soul, someone who wears a halo. In that, she cheered loudly for me to live in my divine nature, as a creator, yes, but primarily as a conduit who flows out life through writing.

She was right, of course. But writer was a title I had not yet claimed, even though I did, indeed, write. With no anointing oil over my head, but with paint all over paper, Amanda cast a vision in a most tangible way.

The painting hung in public for an entire month. It was big, and very obviously me. Someone could miss the quills and still see me. I think that is the most audacious thing about anointing — that it is me in public with a mess of oil on my head. That it is me who is being named. That everyone sees me in the midst of the vision-casting, perhaps before even I believe in the vision.

Sometimes, like when I write these words, it seems that I have to live up to something, that I must, in some way, prove that I am a writer. It’s a ludicrous idea, of course, because one mere word on the page gives evidence that I have chosen to write. Writing is a giving in to who I am, as well as an act of gratitude to the ones who have anointed me.

Artists insist upon truth and beauty, many times in that which is unseen. But we flesh out the mystery through words, through paint, through actions. And many times — perhaps ultimately — that truth and beauty we see is in the heart of another person. That is the person we anoint. Idelette says this:

I desire that our words and our actions would anoint each other.

I desire that we would designate each other to the calling we hear between the lines in the spaces between our words. In the sighs and the longings.

That our ears would be attuned to the hopes and dreams we hear between the sentences.
That we would hear the truth as it reverberates from another soul’s deepest place.

Idelette McVicker, SheLovesMagazine.com

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More than words, more than energy, more than time, more than ideal circumstances or publication opportunities, I pray that as a writer I will have eyes to see truth, ears to hear it echoed from the quiet places of the souls of others. I suspect truth is a secret language often learned in darkness, when pain or confusion jars us. And I suspect that the truth must be spoken in rocky crags, to those who don’t know the light in their own souls.

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  1. What a beautiful anointing! You certainly are a writer. Thank you for sharing!

      • clbeyer
      • January 21st, 2014

      Thank you, Idelette, for your inspiration in this piece. I’m humbled to be in the virtual company of women who are brave enough to speak vision over each other.

  2. Now I feel like running around with a little vile of oil! Thank you Carrie for letting me see you. It was by the seeing that my inspiration really blossomed for this entire series.

      • clbeyer
      • January 22nd, 2014

      My friend, you know how to love a person so that being seen suddenly doesn’t seem so scary. Again, thank you.

    • Jannis Bremer
    • March 8th, 2014

    What a gift when we see something of what God sees in someone else and can infuse hope, vision and energy into the person. And what a creative, beautiful way to do it with art! Thanks for sharing the words and the art!!

      • clbeyer
      • March 8th, 2014

      You’re welcome, Jannis. I love that — “hope, vision, and energy”! That is so true.

      Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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