I had to confront the worst and admit that, in certain phases of my life, each of their critiques of my character had been true. Some still surface on a particularly difficult day, even now. I am about to expose my rotten soul to you. It will be easy to despise anyone that self-involved when there are millions out there starving, dying of cancer, and all the rest flesh is heir to. My only consolation is that I share these feelings with most of mankind and that God loves us all anyhow. – So here we go –
First of all, I know I have produced novels as good as some out there on book shelves that are providing fame and fortune for the writers who produced them. Sometimes I get bitter, particularly when they ride on their own private planes and I struggle to pay a utility bill.
A friend tells me of the most marvelous book she just finished and quotes me a few lines from it. They seem trite beside the ones I have written. If I say so, I sound like a jerk. If I don’t say so, I go on fuming long after our conversation had turned to another topic. I look at the decades I spent working low level commercial art jobs I hated, under some art director’s deadly scrutiny, back-stabbed, earning chicken feed. I realize that most assume I could do no better. If they only knew what wonderful work I had produced they would realize that I could have been a success.
As a handicapped person I lost out on some really swell stuff, especially when I was young. I wanted my art and writing to succeed and compensate me for it, tit-for-tat. I wondered if my parents encouraged me enough career-wise or whether (like most parents of girls in the 40’s and 50’s) they just thought marriage and family would magically come along and override my “daydreams”. Did they build up my confidence enough? I have wondered why God, Himself, did not step in and – well you get the picture.
Yes, I have asked the great “WHY?” about a lot of bad stuff that happened to me and a lot of good stuff that did not happen. – But then I have also asked it about the hardships of others who seemed unjustly treated. I have sometimes raged that we cannot all sit about in a lovely garden playing the violin. The Bible gives us the answer, but I have raged at that too.
Did I want to glorify my self or glorify God? Well, maybe a little of both. The word “glorify” has many shades of meaning to different people. Some even believe a person is glorifying themselves if they keep up their appearance and put a smile on their silly face and know they are good at what they do for a living. I do not see glorifying God (which I want to do in all things daily) and having the compliments of others for my work as being mutually exclusive as long as I readily and honestly admits that any good thing I do is from God (not myself). I do that.
The Bible states that we can do nothing without God. That is so. We are a breath or heart beat away from death. It is by His grace that I am alive, healthy, fed, clothed, sheltered. It is by His grace that in times of stress I did not become an alcoholic, drug addict, or commit suicide (maybe murder). Talent is God’s icing on the cake. I know all that and more.
But did I delight myself in God alone? NO! If I had, I believe I would have enjoyed the journey all those years whether I was working at that job, writing my novels, or hustling to get them published. I believe I might have enjoyed what He had already given me and been genuinely grateful for it. At this point, I am retired on disability. I am either in a wheelchair or require a walker, and I depend on a catheter to empty my bladder. Yet there was a time when all I had was a slight limp and I required no catheter.
In those days I was obsessed with getting published and yet took no note of those 2 fundamental physical abilities I now lack. If I could get up, at this instant, and walk from this computer to my kitchen (unaided) with complete ease and safety or take a leak in the toilet, I would get the same thrill as I once thought I would get from being published successfully or going out with a movie star or having movies made of my novels. – Like Einstein said a long time ago, it’s all relative.
It took getting away from the work place I hated and a group of equally ambitious friends in the arts to begin getting my head on straight. My next blog will talk about that.