For the past several years, my daughter has gone to D-NOW, a youth retreat put on by our church. This year, however, she was sick in the days leading up to it, missing most of school that week. And at first, we thought it would be best to just keep her home to make sure she didn’t get sick again. But Friday afternoon, when she got home from school, she packed her bags with the expectation of going.
“Well, what about getting enough rest?” we’d asked her.
“It’ll be fine,” she’d said. “I’ve slept all week.”
“Well, what about all your homework?” we added.
“My chemistry teacher is the host for the girls and she’s promised to help catch me up on notes I missed after we have Bible study.”
And so on, and so on. Until finally she thwarted all our excuses and we let her go.
Then she got home on Sunday afternoon and went into her bedroom (not abnormal for her or any other teenager, for that matter), and I figured she was just resting from the long, eventful weekend. But right before dinner, she told me she has something to show me and so I went into her room.
Now for the ones of you that know my daughter, you know she’s a performer. She loves to sing, dance, act, and has recently been teaching herself to play the guitar. So when I found her sitting on the bed, with the guitar in her hand, I didn’t think much about it.
And then she sang.
As she strummed away at the chords, singing a song about Jesus she’d written that afternoon, tears filled my eyes and I stood there in awe of this amazing young lady who loves Jesus. Then when she finished, she said, “Good thing I went to D-NOW, huh?”
Looking back, I know the devil was trying hard to keep her away that weekend – with the sickness and then our objection in trying to do what we thought was right. But after all that, God prevailed. God kept pressing, kept knocking down obstacles, kept trudging forward until His will was done and a beautiful song was written about His glory.
I am just thankful that He is much more persistent than I could ever be.
But last time we were there, my husband and I (on a whim) decided we would try to hike Grouse Mountain. Now we did this without any preparation and only made it about halfway. We stopped at a valley and then turned around and came back down.
I had always regretted not going all the way to the top, so this time when we went back, this was on our “to do” list.
After we were there a full day, we started on the mountain. It took almost a full day, but we reached the top. Later that night, when I was remembering all we did – the hard work, the reward, it reminded me that writing is like climbing a mountain.
You Have to be Prepared - The first time we tried to hike this mountain, we did not have a compass, food, water, nor any idea what we were doing. So this time, we planned ahead.
Same thing goes with writing – especially a novel. You have to have the right tools (an outline, thesaurus, dictionary, resources, etc) or you won’t get very far.
You Need a Partner - About 3/4 the way up the mountain, I didn’t think I could go on nor did I think I wanted to go on. But my husband encouraged me to get up and get going. He reminded me that I would always regret it if I had only made it that far…and he was right.
And for writing you don’t necessarily need someone to write the book with you, although you could have a co-author, but you need someone to cheer you on when you get tired or discouraged. Someone there to remind you that it will be worth it in the end. Sometimes it’s a spouse, sometimes a friend, sometimes another writer. But the fact is, you need someone.
When You Finish, You’re Only Halfway Done - After we reached the summit, we found a little jar with a piece of paper and a pencil inside where we could add our names to the list of the few who had made it that far. We were elated. Tired, but elated.
And then we began the descent.
You would think (or at least I did) that this would be the easy part.
It was just as hard coming down as it was going up. We slipped and slid on the steep inclines, had to go from tree to tree to keep from descending too fast, plus had to find the same path we came up on.
With writing, once you’ve worked and worked at getting the first draft out, you are not finished. There’s still editing and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting to do. It’s just as hard to polish your work as it was to get the story out of your head and on to paper.
After I climbed that mountain, I was sore for two or three days. But even as my muscles ached, I was still so proud of what I had accomplished. I climbed a mountain. It wasn’t easy, but that’s what makes it so amazing.
And the same goes for writing. After it’s finished (really finished), it’s something you can be proud of. It isn’t something that everyone can do. Some aren’t prepared, some don’t have the support, and some just never finish.
So if you’ve reached that mountain top and made it all the way back to the beginning and have a completed manuscript, then congratulations. It wasn’t easy, but that’s what makes it so amazing!
I was in the press-box, keeping the logbook when, at the top of the second inning, the umpire turned to me with an odd look on his face, told me he didn’t feel well, and asked if I could get him some water. Then within a minute, he was unresponsive and going into a seizure. I’ve never witnessed that before and I felt helpless, just standing there as the other umpire and coaches tried to reassure him that everything was going to be okay.
Needless to say, an ambulance came and as the paramedics wheeled the man away, I looked around and saw lots of adults on the field, but not very many children. And especially, none of the boys from our team.
As I headed over to the dug-out to check on them, the boys were all filing back in. I had somewhat expected them to be shaken up, but they weren’t. They were calm. My first thought was that they had stepped out of the dug-out to pitch the ball around to keep warmed up while all the commotion calmed on the field. That they had disregarded or overlooked the urgency that was around them. But then my mom told me that the boys, as a team, went off to pray for the umpire.
I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am that my son is part of that team. One that, without parental guidance, knew what needed to be done, and did it. That they saw a man in trouble and knew they were too young and too inexperienced to lend any physical help or support, so they joined together and sent out a prayer to God.
I know as a parent, I always want to believe that my son or daughter would do the right thing when put to the test. And tonight I got to witness that.
So no matter how the playoff go, they will always be champions to me.