She stood back and watched, looked on from a distance, sat silently while others spoke up.
Stuck up, aloof, conceited, her classmates said about her. If you frown like that you’re going to get a wrinkle, her grandma told her.
I have a wrinkle.
Maybe you can relate.
I didn’t know back then that I was a writer, taking it all in, writing with my invisible pen if not on paper. Now I return to the memory bank and make withdrawals daily.
I learned to overcome my shyness through theatre and dance. Later, God opened the door to public speaking. But there was always the “4th wall” as we say, then, soon, even that began to disappear as I gained confidence in who I was, year by year.
And one day, there was no more room inside me to hold one more introspection. I wrote with ink. Since then I have filled a couple hundred journals, written thousands of blogs and three books—one published and two more, not yet.
The two stories I finally did submit for publication this past year, were published on-line, so why this great hesitation?
All I have to do is open a literary agent or publisher website these days and see all the credentials, degrees, awards of the authors they represent to feel waves of doubt, followed by fear and an overwhelming sense of fatigue.
I look up at my opening sentence here in this blog, and realize it’s the same feeling I had way back in school that returns. So I rub my wrinkle to relax my forehead and know, this, too, I will overcome! By God’s grace. It’s sufficient and it will bring peace for the projects at hand. Joy does return.
And here’s an example.
You might remember my niece who is battling a serious and very rare disease. I am so incredibly proud of her. She reached out to doctors studying her disease, and this past week, they had her come to Yale Medical School. Accompanied by her sister and my sister and bother-in-law, they ended the trip in our old stomping ground—Greenwich Village—where Joanie and I lived many years ago, and they also went to Freedom Tower which I’ve never seen!
They received wonderful wisdom from the doctors and experts for the journey ahead and, most importantly, hope for full recovery, although she will have to be patient.
Sometimes I wonder if that’s the most difficult of the Spirit’s Fruits to master as we wait for God’s wisdom. Patience. Do we ever master it?
But as I ponder all this, I remember this: my sister told me while they were in New Haven, my niece stopped to talk to every sick person she could and encouraged them. “I was talking to the concierge at the front door of Yale,” Joanie wrote, “who said, we needed prayers. I told her we have a whole circle of warriors praying. She said she could see it on Taylor and me when we walked in. I’m thankful beyond words for the endless, tireless prayers!”
That’s what happens when our focus shifts to Jesus. We have eyes to see the needs of those around us instead of our own petty fears and concerns. And we have prayers beyond the measure of gold. The messages come every day, “Eyes up!”
When I surrender all, I know that the One who created a beautiful world out of chaos, and set the stars in their courses, and made each plant to know its season, will do the same for us.
Keep writing, faithful warriors. Eyes up and write that book! People need to hear your story. It will change someone’s life. I guess that’s I wanted to say this morning. You know who you are…
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
Some of my sister’s photos from their trip. Feature photo: our dining room table with a finished manuscript. Sunflowers? Not a coincidence.