A month ago I sat in an auditorium at the Festival of Faith and Writing waiting to hear author Ann Voskamp speak about story and beauty. I sat among rows and rows of eager fan-ladies, all of us longing to hear the sound of her voice, hoping she would whisper secrets to us about how to live and write and live on a farm and take perfect photos with a grateful heart.
Though I was not expecting Voskamp, the author of One Thousand Gifts, to arrive on stage cracking jokes and rolling her eyes (that's certainly not her style), I also wasn't expecting what came out: a honey-thick alto full of metaphor from the get go, an actual seed in her palm and the declaration (as far as I remember): "I am a seed in the palm of the one who grows all things."
Like many younger Americans, I have a tendency to accept rich metaphor and deep talk if it's surrounded by a little self-depreciation or a few moments of realigning one's words with the reality of the world. For instance, if Voskamp had said: "I know I'm dramatic, you guys, but sometimes I feel like I am a seed in the palm of the one who grows all things!"
Or, "You know me. Always a metaphor! But listen up: I am a seed in the palm of the one who grows all things."
If she had sighed and shrugged her shoulders, I wouldn't have been near so nervous, wiggling in my chair, threatening to giggle like a middle-school boy during the 7th grade sex talk: Too much metaphor too soon!
My generation (both in the church and outside of it) faults on the side of sarcasm. After all, we are the people who created and crowned Jon Stewart as our king of information. We see everything with an eye roll.
Our culture demands we make fun of ourselves before we are allowed to utter the deep or profound. We are expected ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more