My Journey as a Writer
"The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord, and you also will testify."
- John 15:26b, 27a -
- John 15:26b, 27a -
One day my angel found me slumped on my desk. He asked me why.
"Show don't tell. Show don't tell. I'm sick and tired of this rule, yet I can't seem to master it," I said.
He looked at me and sighed.
I looked back and begged him, "Please help me. Tell me what to do."
"I will not tell you. "
Tears welled in my eyes. Despair crept in my soul.
"I will show you," my angel said.
He led me to the Garden of Eden and showed me the Fall of Mankind.
"You know the story. It's been told millions of times. I want you to show me what happened. I want to see it in your eyes, in your own words," my angel said.
"Show don't tell?" I said.
He nodded. “Eve took the fruit, bit into it, and gave it to Adam,” my angel prompted.
I took a deep breath.
"Why did you do it?" Adam said. His eyes had widened. "God said not to eat of that fruit."
"Look," Eve said, "I did not die. You must have heard Him wrong. He told you you'd die as soon as you eat of it and you told me I'd die, too. But the serpent said I won’t. And now," she said spreading her arms, "I'm still alive!"
Adam squinted, his mouth pinched. Eve shrugged her shoulders then offered the half-eaten fruit. He hesitated then took it. As soon as he bit into the flesh, the tree of life burst into flames. The fire drew and sucked the light out of their bodies. When the light of life had left them, they were skinned with the mortal bodies, encased in a shell of imperfection.
Adam saw Eve with new eyes. “You are naked.”
“So are you.”
Everything around them darkened.
"What have we done?" Adam cried. He turned at Eve. "You did this. We should not have eaten of the fruit--"
"I'm sorry. I did not know."
"I told you but you did not believe me."
Eve shuddered and hugged herself, shaking.
“And God cursed them and sent one of the angels to banish them away from Eden,” my angel said. “Go on.”
Each day as Adam toiled the soil, his blood boiled. He'd scorn Eve. "If you did not trick me, we'd still be in paradise, and I didn't have to work."
"Look, the serpent tricked me. He told me we won't die. How was I to know that we'd die a slow death."
Adam sneered. "Of course, you fell for it. And you'd have to drag me along with you."
"You don't have to be so bitter. I'm the one who needs to take care of these little ones," Eve cried, drawing the baby in her arms as the other child gripped her elbow.
"Well, it's your fault. Damn this soil, and damn you." He pounded the wood, threw it on the ground and walked away, leaving Eve in tears with two bawling children.
What had she done? He was right. This was all her fault. If only she had listened. Then a voice called out to her.
"Yes, Lord," she said with bowed head.
"You know this would happen. I told Adam, but you did not believe him." The gentle voice pierced her heart.
"Yes, Lord." Eve wept.
"But you heard when I said, someday a woman just like you will undo this curse," God said.
Eve looked up at the bright light.
"Yes, her obedience will undo your disobedience."
Tears streamed down her face at His words.
"Her offspring shall crush the head of the serpent who tricked you. But until then, you and your offspring will endure the punishment of your action."
The words tore her heart apart. She winced and covered her face.
"Embrace the consequences of your deeds. Bear it with resignation, but you shall be gifted with tenacity and endurance like no other man, able to withstand the pain that goes beyond child-bearing. But the day will come when you will raise your head and look up to her who will do the right thing— who will listen to the new Adam, her offspring, who will undo everything and bring the light back to your soul. When this is all fulfilled, you will regain your dignity, your inner light, and eternal life."
She raised her eyes, hope shimmering.
It sounded so real in my ears, it's surreal. I felt like I was eavesdropping in someone else’s kitchen.
But my angel only said, “It can be better, but you’re learning. It will take time to build the muscle memory for this writing rule. Show, don't tell. Because people don't like to be told. People learn better by showing them what to do, not telling them. Even children will mimic what you show them and disobey what you tell them.”
“And God, Himself, knew it was better to show than tell,” my angel added.
“What do you mean?”
“Come, I’ll show you something,” he said.
He took me on top of the mountain. There I saw Moses holding the stone tablets.
"The Ten Commandments,” I said.
“God told the people how to love. He told them to obey what’s written on the tablets. But the people did not understand the law. They misinterpreted it. God had to show them instead,” my angel said.
“How?” I asked.
He took me to another mountain. And there I saw Jesus crucified and dead. Blood covered his mangled face and body. I trembled at the sight.
“He showed them love, humility, obedience…” my angel said. “And it worked. The blood of the martyrs could attest to this. You want a book that shows and does not tell? Read the Bible. Learn from it. That is why it is the Living Word. By showing, it allows man to listen and the Spirit to speak.”
Show don’t tell. Then they will understand.
Remember, a teacher is more effective than a preacher, because a teacher shows while a preacher tells.
Someday, I will master it, I vowed to myself. Someday. And until then, I will not grow tired of trying because Jesus showed me how.
Show don’t tell.
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