I had news in this morning’s mail about a contest I have entered for first time novelists. Although I have had other books published, or edited compiled works about life in Appalachia, I had never before tried my hand at a new genre for me – Christian Romance. I was excited about the possibilities of ministry and reaching people through the written word in story form. After all, Jesus was one of the best story tellers ever as he used parables from daily life to get peoples’ attention.
I had imagined what would happen if by some miracle I actually won the cash prize. I could see a contract and enough money coming in to pay off my house and make my dream trip to Scotland. I knew it was a long shot, but with God I knew that it wasn’t impossible.
In short, I did not win. I was disappointed for about five seconds. All I ever want is God’s will to be done in my life – in all things. I read the commentaries about my and my scores. With 10 being top and 1 being low, all of my scores were 5 and better. Even though they had not chosen my manuscript for publication, they were telling me that it was better than average, but still had room for improvement. I will take their suggestions to heart and revisit the manuscript when I finish the one I am currently working on. I will also apply those suggestions to the work in progress.
Sometimes things don’t turn out the way we hope they will. How we look at life often determines our next step. The photo I chose for today is a picture of an old pair of my glasses and a pair that once belonged to my great grandmother. I took the photos at Hensley Settlement on top of a mountain in southeastern Kentucky where my great grandmother had visited her sister living there in her youth. I can only imagine what things were like in the world she saw. Woman had very few prospects except to marry, and hope it turned out well. Thousands of things have changed in the world since she looked through her glasses to view that world, and when I viewed the world through mine.
If we trust in God for his wisdom, His direction, His open doors of opportunity, and His timing, then the little disappointments that come along only serve to redirect us, and reinforce our resolve to trust in His plan for our lives.
I have been writing since I was a child. I had my first article published in King Arthur’s Court, an occasional supplement in the Chicago Heights Star when I was in third grade. I’ve been writing at something ever since. For the last fifteen or more years I have written a weekly column for the Harlan Daily Enterprise (Plain Thoughts). I’ve been published in magazines, newspapers, and contributed to the content of other books. I’ve written several books, but I’ve never had the breakthrough into the mainstream publishing industry.
Today’s letter telling me I hadn’t won the contest wasn’t the end of my writing efforts and hopes. It was just the end of one attempt and the beginning of another. The manuscript I submitted may someday find it’s way into print through another publisher, or it may have been the best practice I could have for writing the next one. I choose to look for the good in what I can see of my life, and keep my faith centered in God for those things I cannot yet see.