“Not all those who wander are lost.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
I’m gradually learning to embrace the fact that life’s greatest questions really have no conclusions.
Bradley Harris of Memphis, TN, is my editor, and, moreover, my greatest teacher. Once again, his editor’s notes have given me more than sound writing advice. They’ve given me a lesson in life.
Two weeks ago I sent Brad the
final never-ending draft of my first non-fiction book. In the final chapter, I’d unknowingly drawn a conclusion I suppose my subconscious believed would give encouragement to the reader and set up a call to action for living a better life.
Brad’s notes challenged the conclusion, and the very notion the book required a tidy, happily-ever-after ending. And I knew immediately he was right.
And thank goodness for his profound advice; for without it, I might never have survived the last 24 hours – one of the most confounding days of my life.
“The yearning to know What cannot be known, to comprehend the Incomprehensible, to touch and taste the Unapproachable, arises from the image of God in the nature of man.” ~ A.W. Tozier
My days are painfully predictable. I get out of bed around 3 a.m., write, drink coffee, research, go to work and come home exhausted to hit the bed around 7 p.m. Yesterday’s schedule was typical. It was just greyer than most.
After a 4 a.m. blog post, I scanned my WordPress reader, something I almost never do. When I randomly stopped by Holly Michael’s blog I found she’d nominated me for an undeserved award, and said some very kind things about my work. You may view Holly’s inspirational site here: http://wp.me/1Gxnc
Anyone else would have been thrilled, but it set into motion an entire day of questioning the priorities in my life. And that really doesn’t take much for a 46-year-old guy who’s well into mid-life crisis…
So the day begins at 3 a.m. wondering about the possibility of “life’s calling” as a writer.
Next up, around 4:30 a.m. I get a blog post notification from www.laspalmasecuador.com - a pictorial update of a home we’re building in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador. The progress is amazing. Dana and I love everything about Puerto Cayo - particularly the business potential, and the opportunities to build a meaningful missional community there. Something very grey from 5,000 miles away is screaming to me, but with a grey, clouded clarity. You may view yesterday’s post about that news here: http://wp.me/p2bjEC-yA
By 4:30 a.m., it’s already an emotional morning. My wife says she’ll pray for me throughout the day. My best friend, knowing my confounding situation, sends me a note that says “go with your gut.” What he doesn’t know is that my gut’s the very thing that scares the daylight out of me.
I finish the routine and make the 10-minute drive to work, and think of my dad who passed away in February. I wish I could speak to him, but he’s not here. And I cry most of the way to work.
Tuesday 8-5 is spent preparing for the next day’s business trip to Thayer, MO. I’ll embark on that trip about 4 hours from now. The thinking time on the road will be precious, and for that I’m grateful.
Five o’clock and I’m waiting in line at Domino’s Pizza. My mind races through the events of the day, and all the writing projects on the schedule. There’s a manuscript to complete, then two more books to finish the trilogy. Then, I predictably wonder what comes after that?
Brad’s notes immediately come to mind: Why draw a conclusion? The most important things don’t require a black and white answer.
This side of heaven, the most important questions in life are inconclusive.
So now, another project stands on the sideline. I’ve purchased the domain: www.theimpossibleconclusion.com
What I’ll do with it stands in the shadow of greyness for now.
You may view posts on my secondary blog at: http://wp.me/2tJ80