Tuesday, November 14, 2006
It's Real Life
When you think of “the life of a writer,” what do you think of? I imagine an older lady who lives near the ocean, alone with her cat. She walks the beach and collects shells, then later she works with words the same way: Searching for them, studying them, gathering them, and displaying them.
My writing life couldn’t be more different. I’ve written since my children were babies, so they’ve always known mom’s face in the computer.
Seven years ago, I was writing notes for the Women of Faith Study Bible. I wrote the notes for 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, Mark, James, and all books of the minor prophets such as Malachi and Habakkuk. (The ones everyone knows are there, but no one actually reads.)
One day, I was working in an intense passage in Micah when suddenly I stopped and looked around. In the same room, Barney blared from the television, a bucket of toys was being dumped on the floor. My two-year-old tugged on my arm. “I hung-gee, Mama. I hung-gee.”
"Just a minute, I have to finish this study note on the decay of the nation of Israel and God’s promised punishment for those who refuse to repent and submit and turn back to him.”
“Okay, Mama,” my son respond, racing back to the video on TV.
If they only knew, I thought, hearing another bucket of toys being dumped out. If they only knew.
Jesus shared the parable of the talents. All the servants were given talents. All the servants knew how demanding the master was. The Master didn’t ask about their circumstances, he asked about their success. The same is true with us.
Faithfulness, in order to multiply talents, means working in the midst of life. Whether it’s Barney blaring happy tunes, a neighbor needing advice, or a dog that needs to go to the vet, my writing somehow fits into the day's schedule. Life doesn't stop in order for me to write. (Oh, sometimes how I wish it did!)
C.S. Lewis sums it up better than I ever could:
The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own,” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life--the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s “real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time.
--C. S. Lewis, The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves
This, of course, is where I got the title for my blog, It's Real Life.
Because, friends, it all is.