This is the first time I have written about a book that I have not yet read, but I felt moved to comment on a link I followed to an interview with author Paul Young who penned the runaway bestseller called The Shack. Although Young’s spiritual orientation is Christian, my impression is that the metaphors in the book are universal. The storyline features Mackenzie (Mack) Phillips who is the father of five children. He takes three of them on a camping trip and his daughter is abducted and murdered. He then receives a note from someone called Papa who invites him to come to the shack were his little girl’s body is supposed to be. What ensues, has him meeting three emanations of the Divine which totally defy his previous beliefs about God.
Y0ung never in a million years expected for the book to become a phenom. He simply wrote it at the prompting of his wife Kim, for their six children so that they could read his take on his religious beliefs and world view. It was initially self published and his friends spread the word and it took off from there. I heard an interview on All Things Considered on NPR that aired recently. I was moved by the candor with which this man shared his creativity process, since writing is my life blood.
“I had this experience — and this was early when The Shack had just begun to take off — and I woke up in the middle of the night — and it’s never happened to me before and it’s never happened since — and I was literally caught in a waterfall. It’s like I was sitting up in bed in a waterfall of creative ideas. And about an hour into this I thought to myself, ‘I need to get up and write this down,’ and it all stopped. And I really felt “the voice.” You know, to me it’s the Holy Spirit, who just said, ‘Isn’t that what you always do? You don’t trust that creativity is a river,’ and I said you’re right, I don’t trust, and I said I’m not going to live like that anymore. And immediately the waterfall started again for an hour until I fell asleep. So every time I go to write, my first thought is: I trust, I trust that this is a river. And part of this is that I finally — I am 57 years old — I have finally got to the place in my life where I want to live just inside the one day’s worth of grace.”
I do trust the creative process and immerse myself in this waterfall daily. It has become friend and companion as I splash about, drink it in and allow it to flow over me. That same ‘voice'; quite gender neutral whispers in my ear as well and guides me with words, images and ideas. There may not be many things I know for certain in this lifetime, but one of them is most assuredly that I am guided toward the Highest Good. I have dwelled in my own shack of contemplation, solace, revelation and renewal. It is where I find my peace and grace as well.
Guess I gotta get the book now.