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Expressing Myself in Poetry . . .

Wesley, Hannah & Alice

Makes Me Feel Alive

John Keating, Robin Williams’s character in Dead Poets Society, says that the sciences are noble pursuits and necessary to keep the human race alive, but the arts are the reason we stay alive.

devozine, Boy WritingPoetry, storytelling, artistry are all expressions of something deep inside of us. Art is all emotions mixed up together. It can be beautiful, sad, furious. It can make us laugh or cry. It can inspire us to change our lives and the world in which we live. Poetry helps us communicate feelings on a deeper level than simply naming them does. Art speaks to us in a language all its own, a language that is universally understood. Science and math are necessary for the survival of the human race. Art is necessary for the human race to live. Surviving and living are different; so are existing and feeling alive. Whether poetry, a painting, or a good story, art makes us feel alive.

—Wesley Overhults

Allows Me to Connect with Others

My ninth grade English teacher is an optimistic, passionate person. One of her goals is to teach her students to enjoy poetry. She has taught us that there is no such thing as bad poetry. “I’ve written many poems I would never let anyone read,” she told the class one day, “but the poems aren’t bad.” She went on to explain how poetry is a beautiful way to express ourselves and to connect with others. When we create a poem, we voice our emotions and thoughts in a way that other people can relate to. “That is the cool thing about poetry. There are no right or wrong answers; a poem is all about you and how you connect to it.”

devozine Letter Writing Ftr FF ID-10030958My teacher has helped me to understand poetry more deeply. Rhyme schemes and rhythm pale in comparison to the powerful emotion contained in poetry. Whether we use poetry to vent our frustration or to count our blessings, it allows us to connect with God and with other people. Words are a powerful tool that can be used to heal, to encourage, to strengthen, and to initiate positive change.

Go ahead. Pick up your pen and try creating a lyrical expression of yourself. You may be surprised to see what you learn about yourself, others, and God.

—Hannah Beaven, 15

Leads Me to Pray the Psalms

I often find myself bursting with emotion but unable to express myself in words before God. Recently, I discovered that I could read aloud chapters from the Book of Psalms and make the psalms my own prayers. The Psalms are full of emotion: poets’ coping with fear and loss, searching for God while feeling abandoned, and offering praises in joyful song. Many times since my discovery, I have opened my Bible and encountered in a psalm the same thoughts, feelings, and anxieties that I was experiencing. On one particularly hard day, I sat down and read aloud Psalm 119. Nearly every word struck a chord, as if God intended for me to make the psalm my own and to find comfort in the psalmist’s resolve to trust God no matter what.

devozine Lectio Divina TS 97648012

Try it! Next time you are overcome with emotion, whether fear, anger, anxiety, pure joy, or gratitude, open the Bible and make the psalmists’ words your own.

—Alice Mayer

GO DEEPER: Try Praying the Psalms

—from devozine (July/August 2016). Copyright © 2016 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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