Thursday, January 28, 2016

What To Say about Selah?

Hello and welcome to Spiritual Journey Thursday! Today we are discussing Michelle Haseltine's word "Selah."

Confession: "Selah" is a new word for me. A quick Google search revealed that "Selah" is

1. the name of a city in the Old Testament
2. sometimes means "rock" because the city was a walled fortress
3. is found in Psalms and could be a musical notation
4. might be a word used for emphasis, similar to "Amen"
5. might mean something like "so let it be done"
6. might simply be a word that means "pause"

So, thank you, Michelle, for expanding my vocabulary!

I have this memory of watching the Charelton Heston movie THE TEN COMMANDMENTS over and over again with my siblings, and one of the repeating lines in that movie is "So let it be written, so let it be done." I know because my brother l still loves to repeat that line. :) In the movie it was what the scribes would say whenever Rameses put forth an order. It always sounded very formal and definite and certainly indicated action, though usually of a negative variety!

In my own life I have certainly experienced times when I needed to pause, think, not rush into action. But then there are the decisive times, the times when it's been time to DO instead of TALK or merely THINK about doing.

This often comes up in the creative life, doesn't it? How many times have I talked to a writer at a conference, and they tell me their wonderful ideas, and the next year, when I see them at the conference, they are still just talking (and not writing)? I find this so frustrating, especially as I realize it is related to fear. As long as one is just TALKING, there is no risk, no one to criticize, no failure.

I get it. It is So. Hard. To Fail. I put up road blocks to my writing, too. Writing is hard and scary. Which makes this a great word for writers: Selah. So let it be done.


  1. Irene, Thank you for your thoughtful reflection on the word SELAH. I love how you connected it to the creative life and writing! Wow!!!

  2. "So let it be written..." "It is So. Hard. To Fail." Thank you for the positive visual reminder and conviction...Thank you, too, for the various definitions of this week's focus word. I purposely decided to play student and read others' denotation(s). Turns out that one of your definitions matches what I had in mind; the great thing is that now I have other denotations to consider, too. And both praise and reflective silence seem perfectly compatible. God bless you, and many thanks for another spiritually, every-day-challenging SJT post!

  3. Irene, you sure hit the nail on the head! I spend way too much time thinking about "what" to write and end up jumping from project to project and never getting to "Done." This might be one area where I do too much thinking.

  4. Selah, let it be done. God blesses us when we find His will and after pausing taking action. Thanks for your contribution this week. ;)

  5. I'm finding it so fascinating how this word is becoming fuller and fuller as I read everyone's posts. I love that each person has connected it to their joys and passions, challenging each of us to pause, listen, or even, as you have expressed, go forward with "Let it be done." It's a quiet word for some, and a "Huzzah!" for others. Wonderful!

  6. It is fun seeing everyone's take on the same word. I like that you have applied it to our writing life. I'm working soooo hard to be done with mine. Soooo close.

  7. It is a great word for writers -- and a great word for poets, Irene. I like to think of Selah as the white space around the poem.

    When I was working on this I came across the word "lacuna" which I'd heard before but wasn't familiar with. It's the space between particles of bone, or the space between matter in plants--that which makes matter not so dense. I'm getting the picture of Selah as that practice of mind that reminds me to stop and let things lift, float, get some reflective space around them.

  8. Amen! I can relate. 2016 is the "let it be done" year for me!

  9. Amen! I can relate. 2016 is the "let it be done" year for me!


Your thoughts?