Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Eternity in our Hands

Patti’s excellent post on Monday, regarding how to squeeze in writing time was inspirational for me. Thank you, Patti!

And now our Patti joins the workforce along with Debbie and we lift in prayer both our heroines who go ahead of us to show us how to balance the writing life with employment outside the home.

I love (and often mention) the generalization we can derive from Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 – where the lunch of a little boy could do the work of a man laboring for five months. Two completely incommensurate things, a small amount of bread and fish and the sweating of a man for 150 days. That gives me courage and tells me that God doesn’t need what I think is needed to accomplish His purposes. And if a writer is called to write, God can and will maximize resources – including hours and minutes – to get them to accomplish His outcomes.

Not only does the finished product of a book reflect the way God has enabled an author to write, the book itself illustrates the relationship between time (the realm of where we live) and eternity (where God lives).

William Blake illustrated an aspect of this when he wrote in Auguries of Innocence:

To see a world in a grain of sand,

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.

You see, a book teaches us about eternity. Any book that tells a story. I often demonstrate the relationship between time and eternity by holding a novel in my hands. For instance, if I have Gone with the Wind before me, I can open it to the burning of Atlanta, or the death of Melanie Wilkes or Scarlett’s first meeting with Rhett Butler. I can enter that timeline at any point, going backward or forward to an event, even though the book has a “sequence.” That’s because I am outside that timeline. I am in another realm, one not dependent upon the timeline of the novel.

That’s a picture – an imperfect picture, to be sure – that illustrates the difference between time and eternity. They’re not commensurate either. One has sequence, where one event follows another—that’s time. But eternity surrounds time with something we know little about – except that eternity controls time, and in a very real sense, can best be described as not-time.

We as authors have a near-divine privilege, outside the timelines we imagine and craft. We get to create worlds. We supervise sequences. We keep our characters from disaster, or teach them very important lessons through painful circumstances. But we care about them, because we know others are watching what they do and drawing conclusions about their own lives.

And this knowledge, this calling to write, points me back to God.

Oh, Lord, You who dwell outside my sequences, I surrender to your Authorship.*

Write my life for me!

*Hebrews 12:2


Wendy Paine Miller said...

How do I love thee...let me count the ways.

I know why I feel so at home here. Those lines are some of my favorite from any poem I've ever read.

I wrote about them in a post a week or so ago, Enhanced Perception.

I've also kicked around renaming my blog, Heaven in a Wild Flower.

You ladies, I tell ya!

I think the reason I come across so unafraid sometimes is because I really believe in God's power, His good for me. His will to shine through me in this flash of time I'm here.

Beautiful post!

Hooray for Blake's work.
~ Wendy

Patti Hill said...

Ah, Latayne, not I am inspired. Thanks so much for this post, friend.

Jan Cline said...

We have an awesome responsibility. I know I need to reach deeper and wider to explore how I can best relay those messages to my readers. The possibilities are endless.
We are indeed privileged.
Blessings - great post.

Tina F said...

Once again I am inspired by your wonderful blog, ladies. Thank you. :-)

Latayne C Scott said...

Thank you all for the supportive comments. Wendy, we feel that very warmth and love to include people like you in it.

Patti, I love you even though you don't proofread.

Jan, you feel as I do the weight of writing truthful fiction. I really appreciate that.

And Tina, thank you so much for your comment. Come back again, friend.

It occurred to me and probably occurred to some of you that for the analogy to be exact, I'd have to modify the title of this post. You see, if the book is time, then the hands that hold it are part of eternity. Anybody got a good pithy title that would do the job?

Ellen Staley said...

So beautifully stated, Latayne.
I'll never look at a book in the same way again.

Footprints From the Bible by Cynthia Davis said...

Beautiful analogy--a book as time and eternity in our hands!

Bonnie Grove said...

Eternal hand holding?

Umm... might work if it were a romance novel.

Am I missing the point?

heh heh

Megan Sayer said...

Latayne I LOVE - and stand in awe of - how your mind works. Thank you for this most beautiful of writer's devotionals, I'll be mulling over this one for a while (I have to confess, there are a few things you've said here a few months ago now that I'm still chewing over regularly, getting the marrow out of).

I love the fact, too, that as writers we are reflecting God. I remember as a young Christian expecting God to call me to be a missionary, or a nurse, something very practical, and He didn't. He sent me to Art School. I struggle at times with God's calling me to write, yet this post shows so clearly how what we do, reflecting the creativity of God, is our act of worship to our Creator.

Anonymous said...

Latayne, what a beautiful post. You are such an encourager, dear friend.

Latayne C Scott said...

Ellen, Cynthia, Megan, and Sharon, thank you for your encouragement! I sent a link to my friend Philip Yancey who read this blog post and made the observation, that this analogy was "all the more reason to keep hard-copy books alive."

And Bonnie, I may have to hold your hand eternally because I love you (and because you still can't be trusted to cross any streets alone because your brain is always thinking of something grand.)

sally said...

what a hugely encouraging post! God holds our times in his able hands.

Julie DeMille said...

I LOVE the analogy about books and time and eternity. You put it in such eloquent and simple terms. Thank you.

Latayne C Scott said...

Thank you, Sally and Jewels. I have found that even children can grasp the analogy, and begin to understand that for all that eternity might be, one of the few things we know for sure is that it is not time.

Blessings on you both...