Wednesday, July 01, 2009


"The help which I have received from others shows that autobiography here does not exclude the notion of collaboration, and hence of the collective." - Sarah Kay

"Real life is meeting." -C.S. Lewis

In this forum, I do not often bring up my studies in medieval literature, but sometimes they intersect with life in surprising ways. Sarah Kay, in her book involving authorship and medieval autobiography, expressed her thanks to her support system by putting an emphasis on the collaborative. I think her comment is helpful for understanding what life is about in general. C.S. Lewis' chapter heading in that Hideous Strength sort of sums it up.

We're all writing an autobiography. You may never pen the words yourself, but every minute of every day is adding to a greater, overarching story that holds together in the long run as a "good read." But none of this would be possible without the other people to whom we are connected. This is why I find Kay's quote illuminating. Essentially, there is no "me" without a "we."

As a Christian, the first collaboration I have is with God. We are hardly peers (!), so the analogy does not work in quite the same way, but I do participate in His work. Plus, the God I worship is Three-in-One: a perfect union of work and love. The collective does not get much better than that.

Next, I collaborate with my husband - with all of life. That is not to say he proofs my conference papers, nor do I tell him how to play a song a certain way, but our lives overall are meant to be one great cooperation. By God's grace, we challenge one another to think differently and grow, all while being like-minded and of one, loving spirit.

There are all sorts of collaborations that spill out from there. Run a marathon, but with a friend or my dad. Write, but check in weekly with two other writers for comments and edits. Read, but get two copies and share observations with another reader. Make music, but eventually start a band. Worship God, but in the corporate setting of the church. Study, but go to class and write papers that must be reviewed by other academics.

No man is an island, but we just might be an archipelago.


Mom-Robbie said...

Ah, another highly-quotable blog entry! I especially enjoy your last, succinct line.
Thanks for sharing life.
Love you,

Henry said...

Fabulous. Love, Dad