Happy Easter, readers! I just ate a pink marshmallow chicky Peep, but that's neither here nor there.
This has been an interesting week, to say the least. It started out with me heading for church last Sunday, only to find that there were power lines lying on the road in front of my church. I pulled into the nearly empty parking lot and discovered that there was no church because the power was out. The bad storms/tornado caused a lot more damage than I had realized. I still didn't realize it, because I immediately went home from not going to church and figured I should use that free time to go running. I ran six miles. That's my record...so far.
The next day, I realized that a lot of people had experienced a lot of damage from the storms. Many people didn't have anywhere to stay; many more needed some extensive work done on their homes. My church was set up as a station to help out a lot of the people in the community. I had an opportunity to go help out. In fact, I had a whole day off Tuesday.
The thing is, I had already planned on working on my writing on Tuesday. I had been planning on it for WEEKS. It needed to be done...and badly. I guess it makes me selfish, because I am selfish, but I prayerfully decided to stick with my plans to work on my writing...instead of going to help out my community. I didn't even get out of my pajamas that day.
I reread my first novel on Tuesday. All of it. I have to say, in the past week, I've read three really good books. Two of them were part of the Hunger Games trilogy. The other one...surprisingly...was my own. That first book, which was such a catastrophe when I first penned it, had been edited and edited and edited until I was sick of it. But after putting it aside for several months and going back to it, I had a fresh perspective. I was viewing it as a reader and not as a writer/editor. And I found that I couldn't put my own book down...because, at the risk of sounding vain, it was really good.
That's not to say I didn't edit a little here or there while reading it, but all in all, I'm almost there. I'm almost ready to try selling this book again. It's because I'm confident that what I have is something worth selling, something worth reading. I have a renewed focus and energy to actually try to get all the other stuff done so I can send out some queries.
And, yes, I think that was a day off well-spent.
But I have to admit I'm feeling guilty; whether that guilt is justified or not, it's there. I know that I could have gone to my church to help out instead of spending that time on my own projects. I don't know how useful I would have been, but I figure in a disastrous situation, almost any willing person can find some small way to help.
The other books I read this week, the Hunger Games books, are very sad, very intense...even disturbing at times. But they're really good and make you think. The main character had all sorts of ridiculous trials that I've never had to face or even imagine. And it's easy to say, "Well, that's just a book," but then my mind turns to the real-life atrocities. There are children dying of starvation all over this world--even here in America. Even worse than that, in my opinion, are the markets which sell children into prostitution. There's war. There's hunger. There's need.
And I sit in my pajamas and write. Usually with a big warm cup of tea.
Sometimes I feel like what I am doing is such a waste compared to what I could be doing.
Art isn't practical. I think every artist who strives to serve the Lord probably goes through something similar to what I'm talking about right now. Why create paintings or stories or poems or songs when there are so many physical needs that need to be met?
I, personally, can honestly say that I know the Lord was pursuing me at a very young age. I don't even remember the exact time I became a Christian because it's just always seemed that the Lord was with me, guiding me, calling me to Himself. And it's easy to fall into this trap of believing that God pursued me that strongly because there's something big I'm meant to do with my life, something important.
Or maybe...maybe...God just wants me because He loves me. And maybe that's better than being important.
And maybe all I have to do is what I have in my hands to do at the time. I get all riled up and start thinking I can somehow change the world if I work harder, act better, do more more more. But all the good, hard work in the world is not going to change the fact that I'm a weak fool in need of a Savior.
Do I need to show mercy to others and share that Savior with them? Yes.
Does that mean that I'm being neglectful of the needs of others if I'm working on something else the Lord has given me to do? Maybe. In some circumstances, yes. But, in this case, I don't think so. The guilt I feel is not of God.
Because the Lord is creative, and He has breathed that spark of creativity into me. He has given me dreams and visions, stories and songs. I'm not a writer because I choose to be. I'm a writer because that's how God has made me. And the time was given to me to work on something He had given me to do. So I did it. And now I'm just a little bit closer to achieving the goal of being a published writer. I don't regret it.
I have to say, though. This week, especially today, has really made me think about balance. Oh, I'm so wretchedly bad at balance. I could go on an on about how much I have to work, how little time I have, blah blah blah. It's an excuse, and not even a very good one. Everyone is busy. The thing is, I've got 24 hours every single day with which to use. True, some of those hours belong to my bosses, but I've still got a lot of time that's mine. The trick is figuring out how much of that time I'm going to devote to helping others, how much time I'm going to devote to my writing, how much time of that I'm going to use to rest (because rest is important, too...God said so).
Prayers are appreciated as I continue to try to figure this balancing act out. I'm greatly encouraged that the Lord is working, both in the lives in this community and in my personal writing life. Aslan is definitely on the move.
And by the way...
The Stone Table has cracked. The Lion roars.
Christ is risen!