My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as to those who simply love to read. You will find snippets of things I am working on and special announcements here.
We don't have to persist for life--we have to persist for now--and now is always the accepted time.~Graham Cooke
The moment. I am often guilty of living behind or in front of "the moment," the now, in my life. Last week, I continued to glance at the package sitting on the passenger seat of my car when I'd drive to work or go on errands. Why hadn't I mailed it? The large envelope contained the rough draft of the latest manuscript I'd written. When I sealed the envelope, several thoughts ran through my mind. "If I look at one more page, I'll scream. I'm sick of this material." "I know the piece still needs work. There will be a lot more revisions to make before publishing." I drew myself into "the moment" and was able to declare, "This is part of the process. You've given the manuscript all you have. In this moment you let the editor do his job. For now, your part is over. Take the next step. Mail the package, Priscilla. Don't let it sit one more day. It's time."
Sometimes I get tired of needing to persist. To persevere feels too difficult. My life is a pathway with many choices and distractions. Failures. Unexpected events. Decisions. Annoyances. My responses can tend toward negativity, doubt, judgment of others, a critical nature, self-condemnation. The shadowy places along the the trail. I feel like giving up, my mind averted. Too much introspection. I am reminded to look outward, toward the light. Allow the illumination of God's truths to consume me. Walk in the light for this moment.
He is for me. He is the majestic one who has laid the path. Persist in the presence of His light.
I decided that the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my life and not be ashamed.~Anne Lamott
I rounded the corner and drove up onto the bridge, on my way to work. Clouds, singed pink around the edges, flamed against a gray backdrop. I wanted to pull over and let that sky seep into me. But I couldn't. I had to let nature's brief caress be enough. Like a tender kiss with your beloved that you'd just as soon be extended. But life and duty called more loudly. This week, though, I thought about how these things I love can't get lost in the sea of obligation. It is important to connect to things we love, whatever those things are. It is imperative to let our real selves rise to the surface.
Just this week, a young woman was hired at our worksite. She'll be moving from another state. What struck me in the interview that I liked more than her resume and experiece, was her authenticity, her vulnerability. She said moving to a place near the water was a lifelong desire, and now she had the opportunity. I loved that she was connecting with her truest self. My interaction with this lovely woman, caused me to ask myself if I was consistently aligning with my heart's desires, or had I allowed myself to merely be going through the motions. Maybe that was why the morning sky slayed me, pierced through the pensive, anxious state I allow myself to dwell for long periods of time without a break.
"The roses are Rosa Centifolia: 'hundred petal' roses, or cabbage roses, their frilly, disheveled flowers often bowing under their own weight. The species is prized for its clear, sweet, honeyed scent. If it were a musical instrument, it might be a flute." (from an article in The New Yorker, March 19, 2018, by Lauren Collins describing the roses used for creating the iconic fragrance of Chanel Nº 5).
The subject of scents surfaced for me this week. I thought of the pleasure the sense of smell brings to me. I often take it for granted. The roasted tang and fragrance of coffee in the early morning can give me a boost of encouragement for the day ahead. The warmth and comfort of smelling newly washed towels can center me on an ordinary day. The scent of lemons and rosemary can clear my mind. Burying my nose in the soft fur of a puppy brings delight. Holding a baby, inhaling the essence of newly birthed humanity defines joy.
Perfume is a reminder too. When I smell the cologne Escape, I immediately think of the love I have for my husband as he wore that scent early in our relationship. Smelling the fragrance acts as a kind of book of remembrance to those early, new days of our love. One brief whiff can stir poignant, rich memories.
When I was fifteen, I preached a sermon on love. I didn't volunteer to do it. I was singled out as the most viable candidate in my youth group of about nine teenagers who attended the small Presbyterian Church in Irving, Texas. Our pastor wanted the youth to provide the Sunday service. The other kids said to me, "You're taking a speech class at school, this will be good practice." Though I felt reluctant to get up in front of the congregation and open my mouth, even then there was a part of me that understood that God yearned to show His love to people. I met with the pastor and he asked me why I'd chosen the topic of love. "What do you plan to say?" There I sat in his office, wearing my bell bottoms and tie-dyed T-Shirt, my hair freshly ironed to keep it straight and sleek. The year was 1970. This man with a PhD in divinity, Dr. Hunt, asking me what I'd say about God's love. Inside I laughed. But I barreled forth in youthful enthusiasm and naivete. "A lot of the time I sense God is with me. I feel as if he whispers words of encouragment to me in school. Helps me pass tests. Helps me be brave. When my boyfriend broke up with me, I felt like He held my hand. I mean, not really, but I just felt better knowing God was in my life. It's sometimes hard to explain, but I know He's there somehow. I am the one that walks away from Him, but I never feel as if when I walk back to HIm that I'm rejected. He welcomes me back. I play the flute in the band at school. I usually don't like the music we have to memorize for marching, but I've been playing this nocturne over and over. The music reminds me of God. His gentleness. His tenderness. The world can be is so ugly, Dr. Hunt. God's love and presnece in my life is sometimes the only thing that makes sense."
Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart, a wise person draws from the well that is within.~Proverbs 20:5 (The Message)
I sat in the chair, metaphorically tying myself down with ropes so that I would not allow the enchanting songs of the sirens to lure me to the territory of self-pity. I wanted to go there, my body wracked with allergies and fatigue, my chest sore from chronic sneezing. I'd never experieced allergies in my life, and now while in Italy I felt miserable as I encountered the springtime pollen. I told Giovanni I couldn't go on the outing. I needed to stay inside and rest--let the allergy medication kick in. I resisted the desire to allow self-pity to overtake me and decided to write a short story, creating a protagonist who faced a difficult decision and opted to choose what was right, what was true. I entitled the piece, Siren's Melody.
The next day, Giovanni and I traveled to the Amalfi Coast. My allergies continued to bother me, but I had medication that took the edge off, and we had reached our goal to make it to the coast. This feat alone was something to celebrate. And yet again, disappointment. Clouds hemmed us in on all sides, the azure Mediterranean that I so longed to see, now invisible. Only fog and clouds. I had to smile as I noted the name of the bed and breakfast where we stayed: Il Canto Delle Sirene--The Song of The Sirens. I sensed God saying to me, "Keep choosing to discover beauty and joy, no matter your circumstances. Don't allow the steep cliffs of negativity and self-pity to tempt you to a place of demise."