- Special Sections
- Public Notices
The psalms found in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures, have been described, if not defined, as the prayer book of the church. They are passages that cut to the core of humanity, displaying its wonder and worth, its faults and failings. At the same time, they speak of the marvels that occur as human beings speak and listen to God and as God returns the contact by listening and speaking to them. One might accurately comment this particular monologue turned dialogue is sheer poetry. Oral and written, it is, indeed, holy scribbling.
In like manner, the words and wisdom of Katherine Roberts Moore in “Holy Scribbling: Looking at Life Through a Sacred Window” invite the reader to look at life, become deeply aware of its complexity and immensity, by gazing through the sacred window of poetry. She labels her work as a “compendium of poems, prayers, and other musings.” I would identify it as a reflective response to God’s call, Divinity in all its many forms.
It is rapidly evident that Moore is a mystic whose awareness of the divine has been hewn and honed from her own life experiences. She sees beneath the surface of things, is touched by the sight, gains deeper insight, and then “scribbles” away to the delight of the reader.
Blank pages do not dismay her. They call her to profound silence, a creative quiet that brings order to disorder and words to wordlessness. Her poetry is deceptive in its simplicity, offering a multitude of layers for the reader to ponder and grasp. The introduction offered at the beginning of each segment serves to anchor the work and afford a focus, if needed, for the reader to dive deeply into the ocean of thought presented.
As she ponders the reality, adventure, and surprise of life’s rhythm, Moore underscores the power of the life, death and life cycle. The entire book is an experience of that movement, gracefully leading the reader ever more deeply into its power. No stone is left unturned as she probes every facet of life from birth to death and re-birth.
Most importantly, Moore is a teacher par excellence. She teaches by example, allowing each student to learn uniquely and at an individual pace. For some, the knowledge might be new, the wisdom yet youthful. Others might note memories being evoked, relived, and renewed. In all cases, one’s understanding of God and all that is godly is constantly challenged and continually expanded.
This book can be read at one sitting, a page turner in its own right; however, that sitting will also invite yet another and another reading. Each will be an unfolding. Each will expose both the words and the receiver to surprising newness. The table of contents serves as a guide to specific areas of concern or need, allowing a prayerful approach to life in its variety. Nothing is routine, even routine itself.
“Sit with these verses and you will find yourself connecting with words…God is in this connecting.” one endorser said. Another described the collection of poems as “visceral and haunting yet joyful…poems that make you both laugh and cry.” I agree with both commentaries. I would also add that the book is a reflection of the woes and wonders that scribble divinity on the human person. The work is a “holy scribbling” that makes us aware we are more wholly sacred than ever we imagined. These are poems one can use when it is impossible to speak, impossible to frame our thoughts into words adequate to the experience.
Moore moves the reader from readiness to recognition that we are never fully ready; from eagerness to wariness; from trust and faith to fearfulness and tears. She cautions that we must be wary while we wonder. Life is too precious to be spent carelessly.
The book ends by coming full-circle, by filling the blank pages with a vitality that is breathtaking. For Moore and for all who read her work, life is a celebration. Life is filled with gifts so good. In the end, it all works out. She urges splurges that cause us to jump and clap and shout out loud “with hip-hooray and woo-hoo-hoo. We’ll sing and dance our Hallelu!”
Ultimately, Moore’s sacred window is not dimmed by dried splotches or rain and dust. Ponder the poetry and your window will be equally clear. You will see, as if for the first time.