‘How the mystical beckons us’ – a reflection by Chuck Thompson

Every day I try to sit for a spell, to begin to create. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I’m not. I never know the difference. I try to transcend the ordinary in a way that sings, that comes alive, that speaks to me in ways I can’t always describe. In that sense, writing for me is as mystical an experience as prayer. Perhaps you feel the same.

I’d like to think I’m being led by the Spirit to work on myself, to discover more about what lies within. Unlike therapy or counseling, I’m not looking for a “cure” or a diagnosis. Or publication. For me it like early morning exercise on a good day — a way to feel better about myself, and the world.

It’s mystical, of course. As I sit to create I am almost completely unaware of what I’m about to say, and that perhaps is the biggest blessing I receive in creating poetry and in encountering the sacred. My soul is led on mindful paths that I would never have imagined when I first sat down – the lid of a peanut butter jar; a blue jay rising and falling from a porch railing to the deck; an exchange between two lovers in a Christopher Isherwood novel.

Where am I going to be led today? Free to sing in the shape of a sonnet. In the rules of grammar. In the play of assonance.

Here’s my center: I’m doing something that I love to do. Just like prayer, like mediation, like worship. With all the consolations and desolations, I feel called to move forward.

And isn’t that how the mystical beckons us? A chance to savor our intuition of the divine, in this quiet moment? A cup of coffee, a blank notepad, a favorite pen, a laptop… all elements which look so solitary, but actually open us all to the mystery of life that surrounds each one of us.

And isn’t that enough, as we, preparing for our unknown last breath, can feel once again the joy of a moment well lived?


Chuck Thompson has an MA in English from the University of Massachusetts, and his published work includes Busy and Blessed: 10 Simple Steps for Parents Seeking Peace (Christian Insight Press, 2014). He’s also a secondary school chaplain and spiritual director in Chicago, Illinois.


This is another in a series of short reflections on writing and spirituality. Please consider submitting one of your own – the editor would be pleased to read it with a view to publication in Amethyst Review.


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