SNOW AND WRITING
Recently we had two huge snowstorms back to back which broke all records for the most snow at one time in Tulsa as well as the most snow for a season. Places just north of us got twice as much as we did, collapsing roofs of homes and businesses and damaging boat houses up around Grand Lake along with the expensive boats underneath. Everything came to a halt here for several days, stunning everyone with the impact. No mail delivery for a week has to be some kind of a record (remember the old adage, “Neither rain nor sleet nor dark of night . . .”?), as was the lack of a daily newspaper for four days—the first time in history that had happened. No one could get out of their driveways, let alone navigate the neighborhood streets, which were never plowed. Schools were out for up to ten days and districts are now scrambling to make up all those lost days.
This may sound ludicrous to those who live in Montana or Minnesota, but for people who have lived their whole lives in Oklahoma, it was a disaster of monumental proportions. We don’t receive this much snow as a rule, hence the records which were broken in the wake of the storms, and certainly don’t know how to drive and move around in it to this extent. To be honest, I never expected it to happen here in the Tulsa area the way it did.
All this served to remind me just Who is in control when our lives seem to spin out of control. We depend on “government” to get us out of the holes nature throws us into at times, but is it really their job? When “government” lets us down, who do we blame? In our society today, we often seek to blame others for our own losses and tragedies, rather than shouldering our own ignorance or denial for creating the situation or exacerbating it.
A good example: our snow shovel was stolen the day before the second storm was due and we had to join literally hundreds of others at a local hardware store standing in line for hours to wait for the privilege of buying one of these devices which would hopefully prevent our being isolated again if we did, indeed, get twice as much snow as was being predicted.
My heart goes out to all who received damage as a result of this winter blast and who are still struggling to recover economically and emotionally. But I can’t help but point out that some of it at least was due to people not being adequately prepared. Occasionally common sense takes a holiday for any of us but that doesn’t excuse a pattern of being “too busy” to be bothered with stocking up on food and water, for instance, or ensuring that a snow shovel stands at the ready when needed.
As lay buried under all this snow, I realized how beautiful it appeared to be through the windows. Soft, white, clean, covering all the dirt and ugliness beneath, untouched by humans—it seemed to be perfect and even harmless. But try to get to the mailbox or go out to get the paper at the end of our long driveway and the illusion came to a bitter and swift end!
Aren’t our lives often like that, especially as writers? We see “storms” approaching and brush them off as no big deal, then reel when we are not ready to meet the onslaught. Boxing ourselves into corners with bills coming due and no money from our writing on the horizon, we can either face facts or run from them. One little rejection at such a moment can destroy us, when at other times we would brush them off with a few tears or irritation and simply go on. God’s Word tells us constantly to watch the signs and be prepared (is that where the Scouts get their motto from?); we ignore this advice at our own peril.
If your writing has become stale and listless, why continue to submit instead of revamping your approach? It won’t get any better until/unless you recognize the problem and address it. Design a contingency plan for your contingency plan if you need to, so you will be calm in the face of losing a client or prospective contract. As Christian writers, it’s all in God’s Hands anyway! But He does expect us to do our part.
Remember, there is a time and season for everything and when we find ourselves out on that proverbial limb all by ourselves, listening to the cracking sound as it breaks off behind us, claim His peace and know He has this, too, under control. He truly does work everything out for our good if we won’t give up but continue to trust Him no matter what!