Monday, June 28, 2010

Slacking Off

This weekend a friend asked what was the deal with my lack of blogging. It's been a few weeks since my last post and the previous posts have been spread out much more than usual. My sister, who heard my friend's comment, immediately suggested that I've been too well occupied with other things to be blogging. It's true I've been happily occupied elsewhere but I don't think it'd be right to place the blame on my new and wonderful boyfriend. At least, not all the blame. Even before things got started with him my blogging pace had flagged. That's just a symptom of something more, I think, because all my writing has flagged.

Each time I try to sit down to work on The Mercy Hour I am unable to do so. Distraction, discouragment, uncertainty... I'm not in best writing form right now. I'm hoping and praying I'll be able to shake it - whatever 'it' is. The thorough and harsh critique I received recently from an editor on my submission of Full of Days might have something to do with it... or a lot to do with it. Rejection after rejection has come and it's been easy to keep up my determined and positive spirit. This was the first one though that included a critique instead of the prewritten rejection response that is sent by most publishers. Criticism can be a really good thing and it's a necessary thing for a writer, at least, for any writer who wants to continually improve. This criticism amounted to (and no, I'm not imagining this implication, it's there in the email) the editor being of the opinion that Full of Days is unpublishable. I'm not going to pretend that I'm having an easy time dealing with that. So far my dealing has been in the form of avoidance. Eventually I will switch to perservance and put in the work necessary to improve the novel to point of being publishable in the eyes of the right publishing company. Just give me some time to get there, friends.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Put On

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17)

It's tough to settle on just one or two pieces of this favorite passage to focus on in this post. Even the very first phrase brings me into deep contemplation. "Put on then..." Living a holy life, a beautiful life, a pure life, a good life - it's a choice of your free will. It is not put on you by someone else; it is not lived by default. Consciously, willfully, purposefully... that is how we are to daily put on the new life in God that we receive by Baptism. Whether I put it on yesterday or the day before or ever before, today I can put it on. Everything that follows (or has the potential to follow with God's grace and our efforts) hinges on us first choosing to live that life. Each day... each situation... each relationship; in all circumstances we can choose to live according to the truth of who we are as children of God, made in His image, redeemed by Him, possessing dignity beyond measure and a purpose beyond this world. We make that choice to cloak ourselves in the love, grace and discipline of Christ and we open the gates to all that God wishes to make of our lives.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Not Go Empty

The brook near where Elijah was hiding ran dry, because no rain had fallen in the land. So the LORD said to Elijah: “Move on to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have designated a widow there to provide for you.” He left and went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the entrance of the city, a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her, “Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink.” She left to get it, and he called out after her, “Please bring along a bit of bread.”
She answered, “As the LORD, your God, lives, I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug. Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die.” Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid. Go and do as you propose. But first make me a little cake and bring it to me. Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son. For the LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.’” She left and did as Elijah had said. She was able to eat for a year, and Elijah and her son as well; the jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry,as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.
1 Kings 17:7-16

This is the first reading for Mass today. I was reading it this morning while I ate waffles and put off thoughts of the workday for a few more minutes. It is one of my favorite Old Testament passages because of its portrayal of the providence of God. A prophet traveling through the land, dependent upon others to support him but meeting persecution in many places; a widowed mother enduring the famine and fully aware of the direness of her conditions; a command from God to count on Him... Like weights on a scale, the risk of trusting God will come through sits heavily in the heart of the woman. She cannot see what, if anything, will be set on the opposite end of the scale. Will her need be met? Will the risk be balanced?

It wouldn't be risk and it wouldn't be trust if she could forsee exactly how God might provide for her.

She risks and she trusts and God does not merely balance things out but truly overwhelms the need and anxiety by His generosity and faithfulness.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Last night I chased down a sunset. From my front step I am only allowed a teasing glimpse of the end of day, closed in as we are by trees and houses and low elevation. Yet last night's glimpse was everything necessary to know this sunset needed to be chased. It was not one of the many that can warrant a glance and nothing more. It deserved to be seen. So I drove. I turned up the music in my little sedan, lowered the window to let my elbow meet the wind, and I drove. Farm field after farm field was passed as I moved further from town and nearer to the middle of nowhere. Barn peaks and silos inserted themselves on the glowing orange canvas of the quickly fading sunset. It was magnificent. I got absolutely no photos that do it justice and I didn't care a bit. Turning around, heading home, restricting the colors to only my rearview mirror... I really didn't want to go. The music was turned up a little more, my whole arm hung outside the open window and I drove back into the valley, chasing nothing.