Hey there, reader.
Here’s a few things that have been on my mind lately.
I loved the baby phase. I loved newborns and baby smiles and morning snuggles. But you guys- this big kid life is pretty sweet. It snows and they shovel. Their laundry baskets fill up and they handle it. They feel hungry and they make themselves a snack. Of course they still need me- to mediate fights and to nod as they explain complicated TV shows and to listen in wonder at they people they’re becoming. This phase, this season where they need you but they don’t actually need you to physically survive? It’s awesome.
Garrett and I have started reading together again. There was a time when we always had a shared book. We read through the Narnias and the Wheel of Time and the Reckoners and more. But somewhere along the exhausting way, we pivoted to Netflix as our place for shared stories. And while I do love a good shared TV show (Kim’s Convenience, anybody???) we both prefer a book. The book itself was a bit of a dud, but it was enough to remind us that we really do enjoy ending our day by reading together.
It’s not secret I’ve been sending out a manuscript for the last nine months in hopes of finding a literary agent to represent my work. (The literary world works a bit like real estate in that your agent actually sells the manuscript to a publisher and earns commission. But imagine if in real estate it was almost impossible to sell your own house and less than 1% of people who tried could get an agent.) And, guys- it’s rough.
I’ve had some interest and a few encouraging interactions, but overall it has been a masterclass in perseverance and disappointment. One of the best lessons has been talking about the process to my kids and letting them see me be disappointed. Though my natural reaction would be to hide it, stuff it, bawl it out when they’re in bed, I don’t want that for them. I want them to see that it’s okay to want things and not get them. To shoot big and fall repeatedly. To look disappointment in the face, name it, and smile tearfully once again. I hope they will grow up knowing that we can be disappointed and kind at the same time.
For Christmas I got the book “Every Moment Holy” by Douglas McKelvey. It’s a book of liturgy, a series of prayers for every day events and special moments, meant to remind the reader that every activity has worth and can be done in love. The prayer for students and studies takes my breath away. The evening prayer for husband and wife tore us apart in the best way the first time we read it. But there’s a prayer called “A Liturgy for the Death of a Dream”, and it has been feeding my soul through the steady stream of rejection letters. It speaks of emotion. It speaks of loneliness. I can’t really summarize it, but will share this small part.
“I have seen so oft in retrospect, how
you had not neglected me, but had, with a
master’s care, flared my desire like silver in
a crucible to burn away some lesser longing,
and bring about your better vision…
…So let this disappointment do its work.”Every Moment Holy by Douglas McKelvey
Amen and amen.
Recently Garrett and I were going to be away from home longer than usual. We circled the kids and set some expectations, which basically boiled down to this: Be good to each other. Please don’t fight. Get your work done. Care for grandpa.
As we drove away, I thought about how I viewed God in terms of what he wants from me: Try hard. No, harder. Even harder. Do some very specific things which I may or may not make clear. Be awesome. But maybe God’s expectations of His kids are more like mine: Be good to each other. Don’t fight. Do the things you have to do. And care for those who can’t care for themselves. I’ve thought about that for weeks.
I’ve been listening to this version of Ancient of Days, thinking what a literary and lovely way that is to think of God the Father. Ancient. Timeless. Inexhaustible.
Also, I went to look for the link on that video and was reminded how not only do children take your time, body, and sleep, but they also infringe upon your YouTube feed. Sheesh.
Well, that’s all for now. Hope you are warm despite the cold, kind despite your disappointment, and aware that you are loved beyond measure.