Saturday, March 5, 2016

#writerslife and the Power of Words

Last night was great fun. I attended the library fundraiser, A Novel Affair, as a guest of my friend, Sadie Buchanan. The table of people she had assembled was a perfect mix of long-time friends and new. We talked non-stop, catching up on each other's lives.

From the time I entered the room, people I hadn't seen in ages asked what I'm doing now. 

"Writing," was my answer every time. 

"I'd heard that," several people said, a dubious expression on their faces.

I tried hard not to laugh. Many years ago, I considered trying to be a writer. The only writer I could imagine was Ernest Hemingway. His didn't seem like a life I wanted to emulate. 

I wondered how they envisioned my life.

"I couldn't come up with the first sentence? Do you like writing?" 

"For sure. I get up at 4:00 in the morning to be sure I can write uninterrupted. It's my favorite." 

My questioner just shook her head.

There's a verse that sums up how I feel about being a writer.

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
Psalm 45:1 nasb

The next verse says "Grace is poured through Thy lips..." That's what I want my writing to be. Grace from God, poured through His lips to my heart, spilling out my pen and onto the page.

If I don't achieve that every time, the fault is mine alone.

When it happens, though, it's pure ecstasy, and the joy of it sustains me until the next time.

Some people take delight in a well-hammered nail. Some in an accurate diagnosis or an A1c under perfect control. I like those, too, but I take delight in a well-turned phrase.

Earlier this week, one character talked to another about the peace he'd found when he'd given God his grief and guilt. 

"You can’t measure it or see it, but when peace fills your heart, you know it’s there."

Yesterday, another character told about the last time she was arrested and the peace she'd found in an unlikely place. 

"For the first time, I understood the price of my sin and I wanted to be free of it. I wept a river of tears in that jail cell, but the most profound peace I’d ever known enveloped me and, sitting on a rough cot in a dark, lonely jail cell, I was forgiven and redeemed." 

Broken people find wholeness in Christ. Tormented people find the peace that passes all understanding.

It's the story of my life. It's the story of my characters. 

One day, I hope, these stories will make as much of a difference as the perfectly controlled blood pressure and the elegantly lowered glucose that used to be my goal. 

If grace spills onto the pages, the difference they make might even be more. 

Words matter, whether we're full-time writers or not. Let's be sure our words spill grace onto all we meet.