June 28, 2010
Pilgrimage of a Soul, Part Four
Here's the final entry in our conversation with Phileena Heuertz about her recently released Likewise book, Pilgrimage of a Soul.
(SD) How's it feel to have your first book coming out? What are you most excited about? Most anxious about?
(PH) It feels satisfying and terrifying at the same time. Satisfying because I've been true to myself in what I've written and furthermore in how I've lived. It feels terrifying because I'm offering myself to a large audience in a new way. Some of my friends, family and coworkers don't even know some of the things I've written in this book about myself, my life and my experiences. In putting my experiences--some of which are very vulnerable--and my voice out there in this way, I am subject to the response of others. Will my book offer healthy influence, stimulate positive change, encourage people to deepen their faith and relationship with God? Or will it bring criticism and judgment to my message, my life? Probably both.
I think publishing this book is a new experience for me of living into Jesus' exhortation to "count the cost and take up the cross." When we acknowledge the work of God in us and offer that witness to the world, we are subject to both: glory and shame, praise and ridicule. The life of Jesus demonstrates that so well, and as a Christian I want to follow him. As I attempt to follow him, what I find is that regardless of what others say or think about me (for the good or bad), I remain a beloved daughter of God--more and more I am convinced that nothing I do and nothing anyone else does to me or says about me can change that.
Christianity is not the moral achievement contest we tend to make it out to be. If it is, none of us will win. Easy to believe but hard to live. The test comes when we experience criticism and judgment. But the true self isn't swayed by the opinions of others. It's the false self that is tossed back and forth by praise and ridicule. This is what I'm learning.