“The Lord said to me, ‘See, I have begun to deliver Sihon and his country over to you. Now begin to conquer and possess his land.’” –Deuteronomy 2:31
Now begin, so says the Lord.
But I don’t know how. Not tonight. Perhaps these words are a place to start. Let me explain.
These are real tears falling down onto my computer keyboard tonight, real pain welling up inside of me. If I’m being honest, really digging deep to understand this potency that’s picking away at my heart, at the root of it all is my sense of failure. I could list a dozen “if onlys”, spend a lot of time digging around for a place to put the blame, but the torment that keeps hammering cruelly into my mind is this one:
If only I was a better writer I wouldn’t be in this mess. I would have been signed by a reputable agent/publishing house, thereby saving me this incredible heartache.
It’s been a few weeks now since I learned about my publishing company’s “going out of business.” That’s a bit too tidy for what has really happened. I’ll spare you the details. Safe to say, there’s nothing pretty about it, nothing remotely above board in this unfolding of events. Thousands of authors are now caught in the wake of this betrayal. It’s only now in these moments of surrendered grief that I’m able to put a few words to this loss.
If I’m not careful, I’ll nurse this pain far longer than it deserves, and so I step gently into these words this evening because I desperately want them to mean more than simply as a way of securing your sympathy. A good dose of sympathy is required on occasion, but sympathy never really moves us past our pain, does it? Accordingly, that’s not what I’m after. What I am after is a way to begin again, and writing (for me) has always been that place of renewal.
Honestly, beginning again feels impossible, and yet this is the choice before me. It is a choice … to begin again. I can choose to stay clothed in these ashes, or I can choose to walk them forward, to wake up tomorrow with the smell of fire on my skin and know that what has been burned in me is not final. Painful? Yes. Formative? Yes. But not final.
My writing days are not over. Man cannot take from me what God has placed inside of me. The corruptions in this world are no match for the Creator of this world. God’s world was built with words. “Let there be … “ and then there was. So there still is. All created things, whether books or recipes or sewing (whatever your artistic bent) begin with words. Maybe not with audible ones, but even a thought has its origin in words.
And so, I shall not fear them not coming around for me anymore. Words will find me wherever I go. Perhaps some of them will make it to print; perhaps some more aptly suited for prayer. Regardless of their entrance into and exit from my world, words will always be my friends. I cannot imagine my life without them.
Now begin, so says the Lord.
And now I have, in this safe place. With words, with God, and with renewed expectation for the lines yet to be written on the blank pages of my tomorrows. He who has begun this good work in me … in all of us … will bring it to completion. Of this I am certain.
Rest easy in the arms of Jesus, friends, kept in perfect peace all the night through. The best is yet to be.