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Celtic Wisdom and Trying to Capture the River

One of the first things I learned about the Celts was that they resisted writing things down for a very long time. This makes it hard to know as much as we would like about these ancient spiritual communities, but it also offers us some much-needed wisdom.

Even now I feel anxious about the blogs I’ve written recently. This isn’t because I’m afraid of people disagreeing with me or thinking less of me--though those aren’t pleasant thoughts. It is because everything I’m writing about is in flux. The journey is still happening. There is no period at the end of the sentence that is my spirituality. The Celts understood that when something is written down, it suddenly becomes static. If I write a statement of faith, and it’s read 100 years from now, it will seem as though that document captures an entire lifetime of seeking, finding, losing, seeking again, etc. in a neatly packaged summary that feels like a “The End” to the story. This is, of course, ridiculous. That statement could never adequately capture it all, and there is no ending to this journey as long as breath fills my lungs.

Of course, the Celts did eventually write. I don’t want to make it seem like they took a hard nosed stance against all writing. But even when they wrote, they leaned toward poetry, metaphor, myth, and all things that resist what we worship today--the conclusion.

All of this feels necessary in this season of my life. I continue to write, knowing fully the limitation of these words. I continue to write, because this is one way that I can practice transparency. I will resist the urge to write in a way that somehow makes me “right” in my wanderings, and others “wrong” in their certainty. Instead I will share my journey the best way I can, always reminding readers that anything that reads like a conclusion will likely have a really short shelf-life. So don’t be surprised if future blogs, or personal conversations we have, seem to be a departure from something you’ve read in the past. Maybe this is because I’m a hot mess. But I like to think it’s because of the reality the Celts understood so well. This story is dynamic and trying to capture it in writing is like believing you have somehow captured a river by taking its picture.

Once the picture is is taken, the river has already changed.

Ben Edwards is a Celtic Way contributor.

Read more about Ben here.

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