So I just came across a facebook share of a blog post promoting someone else’s book. My reaction is vastly different than it used to be. No longer do I naturally look to see if the content is interesting, I ache at the attention that someone else is getting.
Same with being in a bookstore recently. All these authors and books, getting purchased. But not mine.
It’s silly, I know. Very adolescent of me. But it’s a real feeling. Reminds me of “Do not covet,” which my pastor said last Sunday is the most repeated of the Ten Commandments. Is it really that pervasive?
I get over it, soon enough. But my book is still newly published. What if I spend months, years, slogging in the muck and mud of obscurity? What happens then? Am I really just in it for the payback? Or is there something more driving me?
Enter parawork. Managing activities, managing emotions. I’ve heard tell of a Chinese type of bamboo that needs fertilizer. Daily. With no growth. For years.
Then, suddenly, in year five its growth is meteoric.
Not saying that’s what will happen. I am saying, to myself first of all, that anything worth doing requires discipline. Sowing precedes reaping. And there are no guarantees.
Plan your work and work your plan. Why? Because emotion fades. Without signposts to point the way, without the instruments of personal vision and mission, direction is lost in the fog and the footsteps slow.
What’s the worst that can happen? Fruitlessness. A barren wasteland of nothing. How can this be avoided? By making every single act meaningful in, and of, itself. For me as a Christian, individual acts of worship. Or exercises that grow me, regardless of who else benefits.
Not giving up on the eventual fruit, not avoiding the clarion call of what it tells me, not going through the motions in an attitude of desperation, but still finding meaning and purpose in the smallest of things. And thanking God for every moment, good and bad.
And, in that attitude, finding enough sustenance and strength to keep on keeping on. If I can do this, even in failure I will wrest away the raw material of future success.
Maybe not success my way. Maybe not success in my timing. But the type of success that is worth working for.
I hope I have what it takes. Or can find it in the hour of need. I hope you do, too.