Being back in the rhythm of my life means posting on a more regular basis, including the weekly Random Journal Day. I not only missed contributing last week, but reading all the offerings from my blogger friends, who are witty and wise and continually teach me through their art--word, picture, paintings.
Tonight I raced into the room where my baby brother is now sleeping, grabbed a journal quickly and have yet to open it. Shall we do so together? With no editing, no forethought, not even a glimpse of what season and year I've grabbed from my shelf?
Ah, Spring 2007. Hmm, here's a hard entry. An unexpected one. But when have I ever shied away from such as this?
Saturday, April 7th
I've had a lot less trouble leaning into physical pain in my life than emotional or mental anguish. I suspect this is true of most people. We simply don't know how to be still--to rest--no matter what the trouble. I know that the most agonizing thing in my life is NOT my body but my work, my manuscript, that ever-evolving, never ending work. I'm just NEVER in control, which is exactly what what I should feel in every aspect of my life, of course. But I've never been in control physically, I never even try to be. But I've been under the mistaken impression that I have some control over my own writing. But as His disciple, I should know better. Should know that I must let go, lean into and trust HIM.
To that end, I worked all afternoon, and am here. Doing what I can. It goes round and round in me that this should be done [finished]--not that I think it's perfect or that I necessarily disagree with KH (my editor) or JE (my agent). But should I have laid it down? I know there was NO ONE to agree with me, NO ONE who saw that 'laying down' as anything but quitting. But I've never been sure and I know the difference between quitting and releasing. I've wanted to quit often. But I'm afraid I didn't relinquish, let go, stop in obedience. So what if the world didn't understand?
However, since then, since a year ago, I've tried to hold lightly to OA (my book was called October Afternoon) so that it doesn't matter anymore. If the end comes, I hope I'll rejoice and move on to what He next calls me. If I must continue here, writing and re-writing, then so be it. Just do the work.
"It's only sport," I told the doctor during the nerve conduction study the other day. And it's only books, only story. Not eternal. I don't want to have my life marked by this one thing.
So the trick--if it's a trick--is to do well, remain obedient and strong. Stay focused even when my heart is gone. When my hands are lifted, I still put my fingers on the keys and do the work. How do I explain this to anyone? Who is there to understand?
A year after this entry, the work stopped. The manuscript was put in a drawer and has not been looked at since. It surprises me now that God had spoken to me about laying it down a full two years before the end came. I remember the strong sense that I was to let it go, and the fight I had within and without about doing so. My own inability to stop. My continuing struggle (to this very moment!) with the sense that I failed because it wasn't ultimately published. The words of this entry help. They confirm something, but also remind me (again) of the wisdom of 'instant obedience.' I don't know what would have happened if I'd relinquished it as He asked. I only know what actually did happen. But there's a lesson in it. And it's one I continue to learn. Like Lucy following Aslan in Prince Caspian, if I see/hear Him calling I must follow. No matter what others around me say or think.