Posted in God, Life

Can You Handle It? Thoughts on Success

When I was young, I dreamed of success as a writer. I envisioned my life as a millionaire author by the time I was 25. And, in my college mind, my thirties would be spent running a media company, based around the many screenplay adaptations of my successful novels.

Oh, and somewhere in there, I had time to marry a rock star (that passionately loved Jesus), and raise two highly artistic children that had traveled the world with us based on my husband’s tour schedule. We had houses in Europe, and would bounce back and forth between countries as our demanding schedules permitted.

But, the problem was, I couldn’t even get my college term papers done on time. It didn’t occur to me then, that the two were related. So, as my twenties passed by, through tedious work, blood, sweat and tears pouring into a stop and start writing/receptionist/retail career, I didn’t understand.

Why wasn’t God giving me all the things He had promised me? Obviously, I knew that some of my dreams were just playful fantasy. But, the gist of those dreams, were so powerful in my heart, that I knew it was part of God’s plan for me.

It all hit me today. Today, I applied for this writing job. It would be making a lot more money than I’ve ever made, and would be a lot of work, but nothing I haven’t done before. And, I realized, everything I had worked for, was coming together in some way. Now, this job is hardly “the dream.” It’s just one more train car on the track to success. But, as I thought about the work it would require, I realized, I could completely handle this job–now.

If I had been given the same opportunity a decade ago, or even a few years ago, I would have floundered. I would have not had the self-discipline, or the organization, or have some of the practical job skills that would have made the job work. I had the raw talent, that had been pruned by some formal training, but those were not enough to allow me to succeed at this job.

And suddenly, so many of the questions of my life began to make sense. There is wisdom in that phrase, “working up to it.” God doesn’t give us success until we are ready to handle it.

So, that’s my question to you–can you handle success? If you were given the keys to everything you wanted, could you handle it? Or would you flounder? I don’t know. It’s an interesting question. My own answer isn’t a resounding, “yes.” Success comes in levels. I could handle some levels of what I am after, but if I were to put myself at the pinnacle of my own definition of success, I would have to say “no.” And God, in his infinite mercy, knew it all along, and all of these years, has kept me from falling flat on my tail.

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Posted in Art

Poetry Reflection: No Man Is an Island

***
‘No Man is an Island’
by John Donne

No man is an island entire of itself;
Every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main;

If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as any manor of thy friend’s
or of thine own were.

Any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

***

This is a beautiful piece I have decided to share today. It’s part of my new resolution to memorize great poetry. I don’t believe Donne’s words here need expounding upon. They are very clear. Reflect. Enjoy.

Posted in Life

My patio

I love my patio. It has become my favorite place in my home. It is spring now, and the weather is brisk and cool, and new life is coming up around me everywhere.

From my third story, I overlook the swimming pool. It is clear and blue, and deceptively inviting, as the water is much too cool to swim. But the waterfall fountain bubbles long and deep, and drowns the pace of life to a tranquil hum. I have a sort of a natural oasis up here.

I’ve taken up gardening…that is, I bought a couple of plants. They are growing nicely—nubile green sprouts boldly poking their heads above the earthen pots. On the wall, a bird has build a mud-based nest. The two parents regularly flit in and out, along with a milieu of relations that stop in to say hello. They periodically swarm the patio, marking their territory of sorts. I guess I am on their approved humans list, as they don’t seem to bother me—a subtle presence with notebook and coffee.

And so I love to sit, here at this table and write. Although, life has been so busy I can barely capture a thought worth writing. Surely, there must be something. And, so I have pages and pages where I tried to capture meaning in the everyday….The birth of a co-worker’s child, the revolving door of people in and out of my house, the conversations I’ve had, both great and small, a dinner party we’ll host tonight, and all of these people that populate my life, new and old.

And yet, they all seem to be playing some sort of larger purpose. They all seem to be part of a great symphony, and I haven’t quite caught the melody. I can hear strains and various chords, and yet, I can’t seem to capture the harmony of it all. And, so I live, each day, loving, laughing, moving, savoring each moment and tucking it away in my heart.

That’s what life is. Seasons of movement, and seasons of rest. Seasons to plant, and seasons to birth. Seasons to create, and seasons to work. It is spring here. And new life is all around me. It is beautiful. It is right. It is good.

Posted in Writing

A Fish Story

The one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish, gathered together one night with the bigger fish to fry and the the fish that needed a bicycle, and they called in the fish that wasn’t off the hook yet, along with the one that didn’t take the bait. (The one that swallowed it, hook line and sinker, however, was decidedly unavailable for consultation). On the way, this growing entourage met up with the fish that had been out of water, who was being suspiciously consoled by the fish that well, drank like a fish, while looking looking for a “hook up,” with the more fish that are in the sea.

Together, this fishy group they inquired of the human race as to why they were the subject of such bad cliches, after all they said, “It’s all a bit…fishy.”

Posted in Writing

The Lodger

A bird flew in my window one night
And took me by surprise
I assumed it must have lost its way
In its epic dance across the clear blue sky
With carefree leaps and dizzying climbs

My open portifice there
Must have seemed as adventure as any
And it stopped in to say hello

I found myself a bit at loss
To see such a queer little guest
For how does one entertain,
Such a tiny, lively thing?
Not with fine china and pressed linens, I presumed

So I found a bit of this and a bit of that
To warm the belly of such a patron
Who sang such lovely songs
Of near and far conquests
Over pink-hued lakes and the tops of golden spires

I listened till the hour was late
And my eyelids grew quite heavy
Then I drifted into shallow sleep
For I should not want to be deemed inhospitable
To this flighty little boarder of mine

When I woke my lodger was gone
To chase another dream, I suppose
A clean caller, my guest did not leave
As much as a feather’s wisp

I shall always remember that bird
And the night it came to stay
But I doubt very much
That it will ever remember me
As it continues its epic dance across the clear blue sky
With carefree leaps and dizzying climbs.