Monday, January 29, 2007

Working Through the Pain

In recent months, several author/friends of mine have struggled to meet book deadlines in the face of adverse circumstances. Health issues, marriage or family crises, severe financial stresses--such traumas threatened to sabotage their quest for writing success. I've watched in amazement as they've forced themselves to focus on the writing task at hand, even though their world is crumbling around them. They demonstrated true professionalism by their sheer ability to do the work (and churn out quality product) whether they felt inspired to write or not.

Well, this past week opened an unwelcome crisis chapter in our family's history. I'm not at liberty to share the details right now, but my mother-heart has been broken and I can focus on little else. Though I am late on a deadline for an editing project, the last thing I feel like doing is focusing on work. If I could give in to my instincts right now, I'd still be in bed, curled in a fetal position. Instead, I resisted the urge to ignore the 5 a.m. alarm. I got up and dressed and drove through the snow to picturesque Uhrichsville. And here I sit, determined to deliver on my promises to finish this job.

Dear friends, even in the face of heartbreak and crisis, you inspire me to perservere. Those who have gone before me now urge me forward, prod me to follow their example and complete the task, regardless of my "want-tos."

For those of you struggling to be faithful to your calling in the face of adverse circumstances, let me encourage you. . .you do not labor in a vacuum; your commitment to the task is noted and esteemed. Thank you for being an example to ME!

Author Diann Hunt's blog on FaithChick (http://www.girlswriteout.blogspot.com/) this weekend spoke volumes to me. I'm including it below to save you the trouble of tracking it down.

My mother-in-law is dying. When we went to visit her one day, despair crept over me in a big way. I started wondering how I could write happy little stories about women in middle age when life is so hard. Maybe it was wrong for me to be laughing about life when some folks' lives are so hard. I talked to my husband all the way home about it (we live two hours from his mom). He tried to encourage me. Still, I struggled with the whole idea of it. We prayed together.

Once we got home and settled in, I sat down in front of my computer, clicked on to my email, and there it was. The letter from the reader who had just read my last two books. She proceeded to tell me how those books got her through the hard days of chemotherapy, and she thanked me for bringing joy and laughter into her difficult world. I sat there and cried. For her. For what she was suffering. And also for my lack of faith to believe that God can use a willing heart, no matter the gift.

So even though sometimes you can’t see how God is working through you, keep trusting, stay obedient, and just do the work. He’ll take care of the rest.

--Diann Hunt (www.diannhunt.com)

6 comments:

Rhonda said...

Susan, I am praying for you. I know where you are coming from to some degree. Like you, my mother's heart has been broken over the last week. I wanted to stop everything and simply dwell on what is going on in our lives. Please know you are not alone and that I am praying with you. I don't need to know the detail to know you are hurting. Hugs to you my friend. Rhonda

Blissful said...

God be with you during this time, Susan.

Kristy Dykes said...

Somebody said, "We all have a bag of rocks to carry. They're just different sizes."

I can relate, Susan, to what you said. Thanks for sharing from your heart. It was a good reminder to us to do what's right and expected of us in the midst of trials.
Love and prayers, Kristy

Mary Connealy said...

Susan, That's a beautiful post. I'm stunned that it's there this morning. My tiny baby great nephew died last night. He was 99 days old and he's been in the hospital growing, one crisis after another, beating all the odds and it seemed all the real danger was behind him. Then yesterday, I don't really understand all the medical lingo, but he just crashed and couldn't pull out of it.
It's like you're speaking to me today.
Thank you. God bless you in your hard times.
Mary

Lynette Sowell said...

Susan, I'm praying for you and your family. I love the band Superchick, and they've got a song called "Stand in the Rain." Great message. Hang in there and may God hold all of you in His Hands.

Same for you, Mary C. :)

Janice Thompson said...

Susan, oh Susan!

You're such an inspiration to so many of us, and my heart is broken simply because I know yours is. (Maybe I'm suffering editor to author heartbreak by association?)

One thing I learned very clearly over the past (chaotic/awful/unpredictable) year: Sometimes the work is a "gift" from God. He gives it to us so that we don't spend our days curled up on the bed in fetal position. He "gives" us the work so that we have to get up, get dressed, and move forward... put one foot in front of the other.

I pray you have just enough work (wanted or not) to keep you going. And I'm praying. Love you LOADS!!!