By Rondi Bauer Olson
Release day for my debut novel was officially less than 24 hours away. I hadn’t slept well the night before. When I got on my computer to work I couldn’t stay focused, and ended up checking my book status page more times than I care to admit. I was excited and a little bit frightened, but mostly in disbelief. In less than a day my book was coming out! Ten years from the time I had determined to write a book with the goal of traditional publication, my dream was coming true.
Then I heard rumblings of tragedy. At first I couldn’t believe it, but then the confirmation came. Our friend’s son had been killed in an accident during my sleepless night. He was my children’s age. They had played together as kids, and kept up with each other over the internet as they’d grown. And our friends! I hurt to imagine what they must be going through, to know they had seen and heard from their dear, wonderful boy for the last time in this life.
The release of my book seemed stupid. Worse than stupid. Vain and trite in a world where such horrible things could happen. The next morning I put on my happy face and did what debut authors are supposed to do. Promote my book on social media. Talk about it to friends and family. Smile and say how happy and grateful I was, when in reality I didn’t feel grateful. I felt sad, and guilty, that something good was happening in my life when my friends were going through something so awful.
I was relieved when the day was over. As I crawled into bed, I was reminded of Christ’s parable of the wheat and the tares. How God had planted something good, but an enemy came in the night, and planted evil, and how God had decided to let both grow together until harvest. I also thought about how often I’d convinced myself one thing would make me happy. If only I could finish my manuscript, find an agent, get a publishing contract, get my book out there. But the truth was, there had never been much joy to what I considered great milestones. Not that they hadn’t been worth celebrating, but the pleasure I felt never lasted long before I was again unsatisfied and looking for the next big reward.
I wondered about that farmer Christ talked about, with his polluted field, how he could find pleasure in a tainted endeavor, and I began to think about my writing. I realized what made me truly happy had never been the big moments, but the excitement of discovering a plot twist, or the pleasure of a well-written sentence.
Are you feeling discouraged because the good things you were hoping for haven’t happened yet, or because the goal marker seems to keep moving? You aren’t alone. But there is joy in the tiny seeds of hope and love planted by God in our lives and our writing journeys. If we focus on those things, they are what will grow in our lives to bring us the harvest we desire.
Rondi Bauer Olson is a reader, writer, and animal wrangler from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Her debut novel for young adults, All Things Now Living, was a finalist in the 2012 Genesis Contest and is now officially for sale! Visit Rondi at www.rondiolson.com and www.7thdaughter.com.