Embedded in Coal

Some days, like today, I wake up with thoughts like: “Will I always do the work I currently do? How about a year from now? What about three

A builder builds...a writer writes.

years from now? Is something different in the pipeline?” Thoughts like these turn my time and attention to worry or anxiety. Equally so, other thoughts also assault my mind from time to time. Thoughts of the enemy, such as: “You should give up. Just quit. That’s such a waste of time. You are not really accomplishing anything.” Etc. and so forth.

Lately, I am trying to establish a habit of sitting outside in the morning (in nature) soaking up the sights, sounds, and experiences of the created world while reading something uplifting like the Word of God, a devotional, or a spiritually uplifting book. The past few weeks I have been reading Something Beautiful by Gloria Gaither. Today, before opening to the current chapter, I pondered some of those thoughts of the future. Then I opened up to chapter 33 where Gloria wrote about her husband Bill’s philosophy,

“Just keep doing what you know to do, and do it with all the energy you have.”

I needed to hear that.

I write. It seems like I’ve always had to write. At age nine I wrote adventure stories and entered writing contests. Between ages ten and eleven, classmates at the bus stop begged me for the next chapter of a mystery I had been writing. At ages twelve and thirteen I turned to poetry to process my parents’ divorce and turn my thoughts to the Lord. Throughout high school (and then life) I often wrote poetry and songs to express my thoughts and to encourage others. I wrote. I write. That’s what I do. In chapter two of Something Beautiful Gloria expresses it this way: “If you don’t feel as if you’ll choke to death if you don’t write, you’re probably not a writer….even if no one ever read or praised or bought her writing, a writer would have to write.”

Whether faced with questions about the future or ghosts of the past, it is imperative to keep these words of Gloria’s in mind: “Both great successes and huge failures are imposters in our lives. Real life is the regular days. It is of the ordinary that we must make something magic. And it is embedded in the black coal that diamonds are found” (p. 140).

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