By Shayne Moore
“I do not think happiness has its source in the heart at all. It arises in a much more interior part, like something of which the springs are very deep; I think this must be the center of the soul.” –Teresa of Avila, Interior Castles
This summer I am beginning the process anew. I am starting the manuscript for my third book. The content of this new project will take me to places I have never been before. I suspect the creation of this book will challenge and stretch me as a writer and storyteller as never before.
I have tried to be silent with this project, letting it germinate and form itself. It is not something I wish to force or be contrived. On some level I have a healthy fear of this project and the honesty it will require. I have set the intention to dig deep, find the book, and let it flow.
Years ago I had a dream. In it I am walking over a hill. The kind of rise only created in the subconscious. I am nowhere and yet I am not lost. There is nothing and no one around. I am alone in the foggy, colorless scene and I hear a voice calling my name with great anticipation saying, “Shayne, Shayne, it’s drawing! It is coming! It is Ancient!”
I hungrily peer over the rise from the ground on which I am standing and I see it: a deep crevice in the ground. I see a well.
If dreams are messengers, I woke wondering the message of this dream and immediately consulted my Bible and the passage of Isaac camping in the Valley of Gerar. The ancient text tells the story of wells Isaac’s father, Abraham, dug during his lifetime. Historically wells represent ownership and rights to the land. Although the Philistines had pledged loyalty to Abraham, out of jealousy, they maliciously fill in the wells, and attack by throwing dirt and debris into them causing distress.
In Genesis, upon moving back to the Valley of Gerar, Isaac redigs the wells of his father. With each well he reclaims and cleans out he finds fresh, spring water and has hope to settle and be at peace. Yet, with the first well the shepherds of Gerar quarrel with Isaac’s men so Isaac names this well Esek (Quarrel).
Isaac moves on. His servants dig a second well and again find spring water but there is a fight over this one, too. Isaac names it Sitnah (Accusation or Hatred).
Isaac again chooses to move on and to not fight and his men dig a third well. There is no quarreling or accusation attached to this well and so he names it Rehoboth (Wide-Open Spaces) saying, “Now God has given us plenty of space to spread out in the land.”
God appeared to him that very night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father; don’t fear a thing because I am with you. I’ll bless you and make your children flourish because of Abraham my servant.”
These verses caught my spiritual imagination. Could my dream have been directing me to the truth of finding an ancient, interior well deep within me named Wide-Open Spaces?
In the scriptures wells, or “springs of living water” as they were called, were a sign of God’s grace and blessing. Water represented life itself. Did my dream reveal such life? The reality of an interior place of no quarreling or accusations. A place of promise, blessing and deep peace. A wide-open space in the center of my soul.
As I embark on this journey of finding the book inside me, I am reminded of my dream and these ancient stories and promises. I am reminded of the quote from Teresa of Avila. I don’t want to write a “happy” book from my heart. I want to write a book originating in the center of my soul. I want to throw off fear, quarrels, strife and dig farther letting truth and honesty flow in my words. Healing and peace. Groundedness and intention.
As I write this summer I want clean, living water. I want to throw off external things and people that clog the inner well, my interior spring, the center of me where there is no fear and where God blesses.
Or as Emmy Lou Harris sings in one of my favorite songs, “I am looking for water from a deeper well.”
Shayne Moore is an activist, singer/songwriter, speaker, and the author of two books, REFUSE TO DO NOTHING; Finding Your Power to Abolish Modern Day Slavery and GLOBAL SOCCER MOM: Changing the World Is Easier Than You Think. Moore’s first single, Hungry World, was released June 6, 2013. Her full length debut album also entitled Refuse To Do Nothing to be released in August 2013. Shayne founded and is a director of Redbud Writers Guild. Moore’s third book with Intervarsity Press is forthcoming.