November. Wow. Our family took a little trip – a long, little trip – two days of driving for six days of resting from the normal, and then two days of driving to head back to the normal.
There is a point, on I-40 headed east toward Asheville where the road opens up to row upon row of mountain, colored in rich yellows, oranges and deep reds. The conifers add the green and for a few moments, and around every bend, it is difficult to pay attention to the snake of asphalt.
We know better than to take these moments for granted. On the return trip to normal, the leaves are often fallen and blown away. We have only this time, these distracted moments.
When we know that life is but a mist, as we are reminded in Ecclesiastes, how do we approach the days spread before us? Do we resent that time is fleeting? Or do we endeavor to make every moment count?
Each response takes just about the same amount of mental energy, if we really think about it, but the latter response – that of making every moment count – seems to take more work.
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” Isaac Asimov
And then, when the work is over, we can visit with this quote from the same author:
“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I’ve found it!), but ‘That’s funny…’ “
Sometimes, writing is like that.
But we don’t fully know that until we have completed the process of writing. Resistance to writing takes the same amount of mental energy as thinking about writing. Placing fingers to keyboard, picking up pencil or pen, is – admittedly – more actual work.
In the end, though, we can look back at the scrawl and say, “That’s funny …”
I felt the same way this past week when I signed a publishing contract.
Yes, a publishing contract.
It is for one true story about the power of praying women to be published in an anthology. I had been hanging on to the story as a place of sweetness, a memory monument to the faithfulness of my God. It took just as much mental energy to recall the story, to think about the choices of resistance or writing, as it did to actually sit down and pour out the words, swirling this word into that place, and that word into this place, then leaving it be to make sure the reflection that remained in the stillness was that of God and not of me.
I will not become rich from this contract. The proceeds go to ministries like Samaritan’s Purse, and I get an author’s copy and the satisfaction of knowing that the story is going to accomplish the intent of the book, spelled out in the contract:
” … to share testimonies/stories of the individual authors that will collectively increase the faith of the readers; encourage those readers who struggle in their Christian walk; and draw readers into a personal knowledge/encounter with the love of Jesus Christ. It is meant to bring hope to those who walk in darkness, and serve as a testimonial to the power of prayer and the redemptive love of God.”
I dredged the story from my memory pocket, prayed, wrote it down, emailed it, received the acceptance, and did a little happy writer dance on the inside. It was after I read the above mentioned intention of the work that I said, “That’s funny …”, because the answer to my prayer in the story was exactly a demonstration of the redemptive love of God.
When we, as writers, move beyond the mental energy into the working part of our calling, we approach the days spread before each of us with a reverence that honors God’s faithfulness.
Each stroke becomes a deliberate act of gratitude.
Quite fitting in this month of thankfulness, don’t you think?
For some help with moving into the work of writing, here is a website that might help you. It is Five Minute Friday, a site for Christian writers that gives a weekly prompt and a way to connect with other writers. I suggest that you watch the video that shows a step-by-step process of how to link up to others who are also doing the prompt. I learned of this site by reading the Lovely Things newsletter by Erendira Ramirez-Ortega. You can sign up to read her blog as well. It is worth the time.
Another thing worth the time is coming to a meeting of 3rd Letter Writers. We meet every third Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Northeast Christian Church, Lexington, KY. We sure would love to write with you!