the right education

meagan peckover: guest writerMeagan Peckover comes from a family of six people, a lovebird, two dogs and seven ducks. She lives in the place where trees grow greenest and m range tall, in a little yellow farmhouse in the midst of a valley. Sh loves to read for long hours, and always roots for the under dog. She is currently writing a novel for young adults, and is waiting to begin her senior year in homeschool this fall.

 Today I am proud and pleased to introduce you to one of my favorite writers, dearest friends and most faithful pen-pals. Please give a warm welcome to Meagan Peckover!

I read Aristotle’s Ethics when I was a freshman in high school. It was assigned, I didn’t go out of my way to read it, and I didn’t really understand it when I did. But the very act of reading, or listening, or recording, is often enough to let some glimmer of truth within the story shine through. I didn’t catch all of Aristotle’s meanings, but I saw this one sentence that spoke volumes, and wrote it down. It is from Book 2, Chapter 3:

“Hence we ought to have been brought up in a particular way from our youth, as Plato says, so as both to delight in and be pained by the things we ought; for this is the right education.”

I’ve tried to phrase why we should not become numb time and time again, but there it was, said better than I ever could. Writers, especially, do not become numb. If you are numb, if you don’t feel, if you do not care, you are a bad writer. Some people have been criticized for putting themselves too much into the story, for letting their beliefs speak too loudly, and I think, Isn’t that what a story’s for? Jesus spoke in parables. Fairytales were written to instruct. Aesop wrote fables to teach morals. When I write, I write because I think that the best way to ever speak of God’s love is in a story, whether that be fiction or nonfiction, historical or fantasy or sci-fi, it all has a place.

Aristotle knew even back then that the most beautiful people, the most intelligent, creative, imaginative people are the ones who have not seen the world’s horrors, turned their backs and said, “I can do nothing, thus I will feel nothing.” The people who change the world, the ones who write the best books and paint the most exquisite paintings and do the most heroic deeds, they are the ones who see, and who feel; they mourn for those who go unmourned, they have compassion on the compassionless, they look at the sick and the bleeding and the dying and they see a person. These people have had the right education: they are pained by the things they ought to be pained by.

Let your writing teach you, let it be painful, and let it be joyful. Writing is something you’re born with. I think that somewhere, deep in the womb where it is warm and dark, God puts a tiny seed in our tiny heads. And I think that this seed grows into a magnificent gift that drops more seeds, tinier seeds, seeds that sprout into homes or books or gardens or prayers. One of the seeds that grew out of my head was a character, a girl, named Eden. I don’t know all about her yet, but she wrote this, and I think it sums up what I’m trying to say.

I used to dream about people. Not people I knew, just everyday sorts of people, the ones that you pass in the street or in the grocery store or order coffee from. When I was awake I would stand in the middle of a crowded room and just look at everyone, all of them going about their lives and living in a way that I never could. They would live a life that I never knew, and there is a mystery in that. I wonder if anyone ever thought the same about me. I wonder if anyone ever looked at me and thought, Now there’s a girl with a life to lead; she’s going places. I wonder if anyone ever thought that. I remember passing people, looking at their faces, trying to imagine how they saw themselves, and I would think, She has no idea how beautiful she is. He has no idea that every step he takes is a miracle. It was sad, sort of, thinking that other people couldn’t see what I saw.

It sounds silly when it’s written out, like I walk around with butterflies in my hair and stars in my eyes, and I can’t see that some people are made prettier than others, and some people are made more talented than others. It’s not that, really. I understand that we aren’t all equal across the board. It’s just that-everyone has their own spectacular beauty hidden right inside them, and they don’t even know it. I think sometimes that we just have to wait and find out what that is, but other times, I wonder if maybe our beauty is for this world at all. Maybe there are some people who won’t discover how spectacular they are until they move on past death.

Please, go out in the world, and do not be numb, but find the beauty that is tucked in every person on God’s earth. You writers, feel the sting of the hungry and the fatherless and the widows. Do not let them turn you to ice. Writing is God’s gift to use, to help us make more sense of this broken world, and how it is being redeemed.

-Meagan Peckover

8 Responses to the right education

  1. suzy July 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    Wow! You are an amazing writer Meagan! I love the analogy of the seeds. What a beautiful way of seeing it. That image will stay with me :)
    So pleased to “meet” you! I’ve been a reader of your lovely Mom’s blog forever.
    What a talented and beautiful daughter she has.

  2. Bonnie Buckingham July 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Lovely to pop over here from your mom’s blog , never expecting to read Aristotle!
    You digested it well and brought life unto his words. Put them to practice. I heard Steve Garber at a L’Abri conference talk on True Spirituality and he started with the numbness of our culture. That was in 2005. Your theme had echoes of that talk.

  3. Sheri July 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Oh Miss Meagan, I am so proud of you… and a bit in awe. You know when you are listening to a sermon, and all of a sudden you are thrown into a tunnel of a spotlight (atleast that is how it feels to me, lol) where every breathe spoken screams volumes to your heart? That is how “I used to dream about people” became, cept I never dreamed through it, I live it. I look around and realize that everyone has their own story. This began in highschool and I never fit into any particular click, but just simply loved people. This too, is how I have gotten to know some beautiful people. In a busy crowd, sometimes full of noise and mayhem, and that “tunnel” vision that sucks me in, so many in a crowd, then my attention zeroes in to find a heart treasure. That is how I met an amazing, gentle, grace-filled, most intelligent introvert I have ever met! Soccer, and kids, and crowds, and cheering, and I glance over my shoulder (in the midst of my own loud mouth *blush*) and God zeroes me eyes in on this precious mama, tucked away in the bleachers, intensely sharing a beautiful thought to her little boy, pausing to listen to his own responses as if they were in their own little world. I whisper to God that that is what I want, peace in the midst of chaos…in that moment my heart was changed and I was never the same… all because one day I was blessed to see how beautiful your mama was. =)
    Love you Miss Meg,

  4. Beth July 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    “Let your writing teach you. Let it be painful. Let it be joyful.”

    I love that Meagan. I think we can all learn from our creative endeavors, from the pain and joy involved in exploring through our writing, art, music, even sewing! I hope you will continue along this writing path. You have much to say, many seeds to nurture.

  5. Sandi July 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    Love it Meagan!
    “everyone has a their own spectacular beauty inside them”….yes!

    So enjoyed this! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I love your mom’s writing too!

  6. Kate July 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    Meagan, I really enjoyed reading your post!
    What you talk about at the beginning (about never becoming numb to the beauty around us) reminds me of the poem “My heart leaps up when I behold” by William Wordsworth. Many of the Romantic poets believed in the same idea. :)
    I can’t wait to read your future works!

  7. Betsy July 18, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Meagan, What inspired thoughts and hopeful words. I so enjoyed reading this and hope to read more! Keep on.

  8. tonia July 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    Wise girl, if I do say so myself. To be pained by the things we ought to be pained by….that’s more of a challenge than we realize in a world where there is little reverence.

    Beautifully done, Meagan. Thank you for hosting, Everly!

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