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!