Today marks the culmination, for me, of a journey that began more than three years ago. I left off writing my blog and pursued, instead, writing a book. It had been in my heart to do so for years but I made excuses. “It’ll take too long,” I said to myself. “I don’t have the stamina to write a book,” I thought. “One day,” I promised myself, but truly I was procrastinating. The very idea was daunting and I just didn’t have the courage. Too many what ifs clouded my mind. My fears held me back until my son challenged me: “Mama, do you want to continue to do what you do for the rest of your life?” I hadn’t really thought about it much, but I did then, seriously, for the first time.
My son is an artist. His mind runs on a different slant than more practically minded folks. I’ve encouraged it because I think I used to be that way, once upon a time. My life events have decreed that I must listen to that side of my brain that knows how to live in reality, instead of building up dreams. But I thank God for my son because his comment dredged up the part of me that had been too long denied. “YES!” it cried, “I do want to live the life of my dreams!” The cares of this life had crushed that part of me, that adventurous spirit in me, for so long that I hardly knew how to reactivate it.
So, I put the question to God. I was about to step into the shower one morning and I absentmindedly remarked to God (I’m always carrying on an internal conversation with Him): “Lord, I would write a book, but I don’t know what to write about.” And the answer came to me, quick as a wink, faster than I could think. It must be God, I thought. It was almost like He was waiting on me to ask the question. I obeyed that voice and immediately began to write. I thought to myself, I would like to read a book like that! The adventurous Loria egged me on, so do it! Words poured onto the pages. The characters named themselves, each giving themselves a history and a voice. I fell in love with them, even as I created them.
Along this journey, I was derailed many times. Again, those pesky troubles of the world caught up with me, time after time. Since I began writing the book, my life has been like a roller coaster. I began to put off finishing my book until my life was more stable, but there never seemed to be a better time. I finally set a goal for myself and finished the first draft within the following year. I was elated – I had written a BOOK! At last, my dream had been realized. But instead of moving on to the next level, I found myself in a holding pattern for yet another year.
Then, my son came home and spurred me on. “Mama,” he said to me, “you’ve got to finish your book! You could be living a different life!” And I dared to believe, again. I recalled that God gave me this book because I ASKED for it. I’ve long believed that we receive more from God, only in response to what we’ve done with what he’s already given us. Would he trust me with more if I were not faithful regarding the gift he’d laid at my feet? Moreover, he would be correct, in my estimation, in counting me untrustworthy. Not because I’d failed, but because I hadn’t even tried. I saw then that I had a responsibility to carry through with my end of the bargain. God did his part, I must do mine. I now had the power to make “the word become flesh” in my own life and an opportunity to emulate my heavenly Father. I could make my dream a reality.
My efforts were rewarded and the resulting effort has astonished even me. It has been quite an undertaking and I realized that I couldn’t have finished the book three years ago, because it took THIS long for me to become the person who could finish it with conviction and confidence. I am amazed and grateful to God for this vision and in wonder that he would entrust me with its fulfillment.
My thanks to all of you who stood with me and believed with me, encouraged me and prayed for me.
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison