By Donna Wichelman
Authors know the business of writing takes hard work and consistency. Though we love wordsmithing, it still requires a commitment to the daily task—whether it’s ten minutes or ten hours—to achieve the word count or get out the next email or marketing material to our audience. Whether you are a traditionally published or an indie-published author, you are most likely writing on a schedule. There’s little time to waste to accomplish all that needs to get done.
But what do you do when tragedy strikes in the lives of people you love, and they need you to come around them in their time of grief and suffering? Earlier this year, the adult children of two separate friends died in proximity to one another, and I had a decision to make.
In the first case, the young man was a student my husband and I had known and helped mentor in our church youth group. His mother and I work closely together at a food pantry ministry in our church. After graduating high school, he went into the air force. Unfortunately, a military accident in the last week of April took his life at age of twenty-two. Members of the ministry were asked to assist with coordinating the reception for the memorial service.
Not long after, the thirty-seven-year-old daughter of dear friends in our fellowship group had a serious health condition and couldn’t beat the odds. Her mother asked if another woman in the group and I could arrange the reception for the memorial service. I felt honored but struggled with my priorities and prayed, “Lord, what would You do?”
As a Christian, this should have been a no-brainer, but I felt conflicted. I had made a commitment to my email followers in my last newsletter that I would have a reader magnet completed and available in the next two months. Putting aside time to come alongside my dear friends would set me back on my publishing date.
The Lord brought to mind what our group had studied in 1 Corinthians only a few months earlier:
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1 – 3, NASB).
I only had to replace the words in these verses with, and if I write the next best seller, but do not have love, it is only empty words and foolish chatter, and everything came into focus.
Anyone who’s lost a child knows the journey of grief is a long, painful road that never completely goes away. Coming alongside them sometimes means just sitting and listening and crying with them, even if you say nothing at all.
As it turns out, I did get writing done during the days when I wasn’t called on to work out the details of the receptions or stand beside the families. I also explained the circumstances to my email audience in the following month’s newsletter and was pleasantly surprised to receive replies offering sympathy and understanding. Still, God taught me one important thing: my priority as a Christian author must always be love, and then let the Lord handle the rest.Actions speak louder than words in a Christian author’s life, and love must be our first priority. @DonnaWichelman #ACFWBlogs #writetip #critiques #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet
Donna’s short stories, essays, and articles have appeared in various inspirational publications, and she has two self-published books on Amazon.com. She weaves history and faith into tales of intrigue and redemption, reflecting the hunger in all of us for love, forgiveness, and belonging in a world that often withholds second chances. Her current project is a historical romance series.