THE LAST TIME I managed to leave a few thoughts here I parted with a question. Maybe I did that because open ended questions are the best way to encourage interaction. More likely it was because I really wanted to know others besides me struggled with delays and detours in their pursuits of life.
Last week I listed the steps I knew I must take to continue this writing journey. I placed “Survive in this world” as number 8 when I knew it really should have come first. No matter our plans, life refuses to take a back seat. And just when you think you have all your ducks in a row, the realities of life come knocking at the door and refuse to go unheeded.
I remember the world’s oldest man (at that time) was once interviewed on the Today show some years ago. He was asked the logical question most would want to hear answered, “What is your secret to living so long?” The 119 year old man thought a moment and answered with a twinkle in his eye, “I get up every morning and try real hard not to die that day and so far that plan is going pretty well.”
It was a special moment that has replayed in my mind many times. But the truth is there was a day the plan that had worked so well for over a century failed. Just months after bringing that slice of joy to millions of viewers, the man whose name I can’t recall, was dead and gone.
But even so, he lived far longer than we are promised on a simple premise: live today to the utmost and if God gives you another day tomorrow, do the same thing again.
Now back to the question I posed last week; “Anyone care to share how their plans for life are going”? It didn’t surprise me when someone who has shared this writing journey with me for at least the last five years showed up as transparent as ever. Catrina (CAT to me) Bradley wrote of her delays and detours.
My writing journey, huh? Well, I’m not where I dreamed of being when I started down this path is all I know for sure. I’ve been in a long dry spell – motivation has left me except for brief visits. I dreamed of writing the next great break-out novel (and I still may someday) but for now I struggle to come up with an original Facebook status.
Now there’s a breath of fresh air! You mean writers, real writers, run out of ideas? Think the ones they have stink. Are sure no one else would care to read a single word they wrote should the motivation come. You mean it’s possible for someone creative, and verbal, and all the rest to sit and stare at a stupid computer and think not one of the 7 or so billion people out there would give a flying fig about anything they had to say? You bet!
Take heart CAT and everyone else like us. A multi-published and often recognized author sent me a rough draft of his next novel a couple of weeks ago. The first thing he asked me when I told him I had started reading it was, “Do you think it’s really any good? Do you think people will want to read it?” I dare say a writer who doesn’t keep on thinking that way isn’t going to be around for the long haul.
But then our intrepid responder said something that rekindled a truth that had been slowly wasting away in me: in the midst of her dry spell she saw God using her talents in unexpected ways.
I write more devotions than I had imagined. Actually, I never imagined writing them at all, but they seem to come easy for me. (When they come – a monthly deadline for a group blog helps a lot.) And poetry – I love to write poetry! Who knew? Mostly, I write all day long at work – emails and prayer requests and letters and church bulletins and newsletters – and I think I’m all worded out by the end of the day. But I’m putting all those writing tips and skills to good use – the Lord’s work!
You see CAT, you are a writer and so am I. That breakout novel someone else wrote yesterday likely will be on the sales table at Barnes and Nobles a year from now. Few novels reach celebrity status and even less become timeless. On the other hand, that email you spent time on and used the writing gifts God gave you to express a word of hope to a fellow traveler in this life may well be timeless.
My point is that detours are not always a bad thing. Some can actually save your life. Or perhaps take you down a side street you never noticed before. To places you never thought of or even knew existed. It’s what I do with the gifts God has given me in those detours of life that say more about me than when all is speeding along in the fast lane of success.