To Make Oneself the Echo

by Marcia Lee Laycock, @MarciaLaycock

Maurice Blanchot has said – “To write is to make oneself the echo of what cannot cease speaking.” As we become echoes of Christ, we will know He has given us our writing not only as a means to speak, but as a means to hear and understand.

As pastor’s kids, my daughters were often asked to participate in the service in our small church. Our eldest, Kate, was asked to sing once, when she was going through a bit of a rough spot in her teenage years. When the Sunday morning came, this is what happened –

On our way to church, my daughter and I:

“Did you arrange for a pianist?”
“You’re doing this acapella?”
“I guess.”
“What song…”
“I don’t know, yet.”
My voice, rising a decibel or two. Or maybe three:
“Then maybe you’d better postpone…”
“No. I want to sing.”
“But you should have arranged…”
Her voice, rising in irritation. “I know, Mother, but it will be fine. I’m going to sing.”
I sighed. Oh, my daughter.

Between Sunday School and the main service, I found her in an empty room, her finger in a hymnal, her face turned toward the light of a far window. I opened my mouth, closed it again. Her eyes were open, but it felt like the room was full of prayer.

In the sanctuary,she sat in the front pew, one long leg thrown over the other, the hymnal in her hand, finger still in it. She took a bulletin, scanned it, opened the hymnal, moved her finger to a different spot. Again, I sighed. Oh, my daughter.

They called on her, just before the sermon. She took the hymnal with her, left it closed, and sang: Joy of Man’s Desiring. The room filled with it, her voice, her face, her body yearning for it, drawing us up with her, up into the presence of our God. I held my breath. Oh, my daughter.

And later, I prayed forgiveness on myself, my need to work all things into my plan. I prayed release for all of us, to His will, His Spirit. And then I smiled.

Oh, my daughter.

When that incident happened, I did not understand what it was I had learned. I only knew I had been deeply moved. Something in my spirit had responded to something in that song, and more, to the attitude in which it had been sung by my daughter.

Because I had been moved, I needed to write it. As I did, I began to understand what it was God wanted to teach me. Madeleine L’Engle has said, “The discipline of creation, be it to paint, compose, write, is an effort toward wholeness.”

When we are moved deeply, when we then attempt to express that moment, that experience, we move toward wholeness, the wholeness that is in us because Christ is in us. This, I believe is what we all have been called to do, for ourselves and for our readers.


One Smooth Stone

Desperate to escape his past, the police, and especially, God, Alex Donnelly picks a good place to hide – the Yukon wilderness – but he finds even there his is pursued. What will it take for him to discover that no matter how far you run, God will find you, and no matter what you have done, God will forgive you?

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short listed in The Word Awards. Marcia also has four devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.