Pressing On

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

Another Sunday. Isn’t it amazing how quickly the Sundays come around? I know, I know! I’m just thinking that because I’m getting older. Well, everybody still breathing is getting older. Even little kids. But some of us maybe have already gotten a bunch older, huh? Anyway, when I was one of those little kids, a week seemed to take forever. The days didn’t fly by, except maybe in the summer time. But now it doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, the days zoom by.

A friend of mine advanced a theory for this once that I thought made some sense. He said to a five-year-old, a year was a whole fifth of his life. But to a fifty-year-old a year is only a fiftieth of her life. (Just an age pulled out of a hat for the example – nobody has to tell her real age!) And for my church friend who just turned ninety-six on Friday, it’s only a ninety-sixth of his life. Earl is a great guy who still reads through his Bible every year and so does his wife of almost seventy-six years now. She’ll soon be ninety-three. They are both such wonderful examples of faithfulness to their family and to us, their church family. When Loretta prays for you, you’re bound to be blessed. And the best part of that, she does pray for her family and church. They both have some health problems, but Loretta fixed him a birthday supper last week. Whenever I need a spiritual boost, I know exactly where to go.

My intent when I started this post was to talk about perseverance in life and in working to reach your goals, so maybe I didn’t really get side-tracked talking about Earl and Loretta. They have definitely persisted in their faith and in their love for each other and in their cheerful good humor. My Sunday school lesson this morning was about Nehemiah rebuilding Jerusalem’s wall. The writer of the lesson was a college teacher and he wrote about the many students who had passed through his classrooms in the last twenty-five years. Some did well. Some did not. He said the common factor in those students who succeeded was persistence. He put this line into the study guide. You’re in this for the long haul; be faithful. While he was talking about students and Nehemiah in the Bible story, I think we all need to be faithful to our dreams and our goals in life. As Paul says in the Bible, we need to run our race to the best of our ability. Faithfully. We can’t give up when we get winded around the first turn. We have to keep pressing on.

If you’re a writer, that’s a great thing to remember. People are always asking me what attribute I have that helped me become a published writer. And I tell them the most important ingredient for me is perseverance or persistence. Pick your word. My first novel didn’t sell. My second novel didn’t even get an approving nod from the agent who had agreed to try to sell my first novel. I could have quit trying. Rejections are daggers in a young writer’s heart. But you know what, they aren’t reasons to give up. Not if the urge to write lives within you the way it lives within me. Rejections are just a goad to do better with the next book or to keep trying to find an editor who will look at the rejected work with a kinder eye. My third book sold. My fourth book sold. My fifth book did not. At least not for twenty or so years and after a major rewrite. My sixth book did not. I’m still hoping on it, so maybe another major rewrite is in order. But I did keep pressing on. I did keep writing. And eventually I sold another book and then another one. So you can see why I value perseverance and I’m thankful for the double handful of stubborness the good Lord surely dropped into the mix when he was figuring out the best ingredients to use for me.

It’s also valuable to remember that as Nehemiah led the Jewish people in rebuilding the wall one stone at a time, so a writer has to write a story one word and one sentence at a time. That’s something I’m concentrating on right now as I move along with my new story. One word, one sentence, one scene, one chapter at a time.

On a down on the farm note, I thought I was going to be a new grandmom again last night, but the doctor sent my daughter-in-law home to see if she could wait a few more days. She’s still having pains in spite of the medicine they gave her to stop them, but so far it’s a wait and see situation. So maybe next week I’ll be able to announce the arrival of a new sweet child into the world. And that child will start on her life journey where she’ll learn the value of persistence.

So be faithful to your dreams and keep pressing on to your goals. That’s what I’m trying to get my new characters to do, too.