Getting the Blogging with a Purpose award from Angela, yesterday, came just as I was dealing with another P word called Platform. I know why I'm gun shy about this word. When I think of platform, I think of a stage. And when I think of a stage, I think of having to perform. It all started with having a theatrical mother (who was formerly an entertainer in the USO). Every time we would have company my mother would make my two sisters and I perform a little song or dance- or preferably, in her eyes, both. I still have an aversion to anything that makes me have to "show my stuff" to a clapping audience. Yet I am facing this word more and more, and probably you are too.
For writers, you have to have a platform before a publisher will seriously look at your book proposal. Bloggers have to build a platform if they want their blog read by more than their mother and their best friend. Those who are job hunting have to have a platform- it's called their resume. And it better look good.
A platform is what man builds in order to be seen and heard. These are your accomplishments, your statistics (big numbers, people, they must be big numbers), your publishing credits, your sphere of influence quantified and qualified.
A platform is not evil, in and of itself. I shouldn't be super-spiritual and silly about the need for business credentials, the need for marketing, the need to follow business rules. But I have to tell you, I am stumbling over this whole thing of needing to build a platform. This word makes me almost think of putting my pen down or giving my typing fingers an eternal rest. It's a word that many believe is their open door. And it is part of the open door we need. Part. But there's something else we should be considering, besides having a powerful platform.
I think of Mother Teresa: she wound up with a platform upon which she spoke to the world at large, to kings and presidents, to dignitaries and to the dying. I remember one message of hers vividly. It was 1994. I was in the hospital, three and a half months pregnant. Abby was in my womb- but the doctors said she would not make it. They told my husband Bill to prepare for me miscarrying the baby any day. I lay in the hospital bed, quiet and resigned to the peril I was in. The TV was on and I saw Mother Teresa speaking at a President's Prayer Breakfast, I believe. She spoke with power, waving a bony finger and admonishing us to love, to love our unborn, and that a nation that aborts its children is not a nation that loves; that we can't piously say we want to help those dying in the streets, yet we don't want to spare those dying in the womb.
She rallied my spirits. Faith arose in me. I must not faint, I thought. I must not resign myself to loss and death before I had yet begun to fight. The end of this story is that Abby, our precious daughter, was miraculously spared. Not just once, either. Twice I wound up rushed to the hospital and the words were spoken over me that it was all over. But there was no power in those words. Though they were spoken from a medical platform of expertise and knowledge, they did not know all, see all, understand all. No matter how big your platform is, you are still, just a man, just a woman, speaking about what you know- in part. It's always in part.
So even if I build a platform, and accomplish such spectacular statistics proving that people listen to me, hear me, read my words- what is that to me? I speak in part. I speak in glimpses of seeing through a glass dimly. And if once in a while I see so clearly that I cry out, "Look!", and if more eyes turn to Him because I have a big platform, then more are induced to see Him. But it's Him and His outstretched hand that all were looking for, looking at, in the first place.
(I have to pass this "Blogging with Purpose" award on, but I feel reticent about awarding it to just a few when so many are blogging with purpose. If any of my visitors would like to accept this award and pledge themselves to continuing onward, please leave your comment here. Think of it as a commitment to persevere in writing and blogging for the PURPOSE of building up people in the truth of God's Love and Grace. )