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Monday, January 26, 2009

Pressure Cooker

I'm sitting here on a chilly January morning (the cold front threatened on Friday arrived yesterday, complete with snow), wishing I didn't have to set aside time to go out in the frigid air and clear off the car with a game leg. Not so much because of the weather--although it's unpleasant--but because I'm under deadline. Even the 15 minutes it will take to clear the car is a major loss.

I have two manuscripts due next Sunday. I'm in fair shape; two drafts down, the final one, integrating comments from my critique partners, to go. But that means running through about 20,000 words a day. I'm scared and concerned that what I turn in won't represent my best work.

And then there's the house. Mom is coming home tomorrow. Dishes to wash, clothes to wash and put away, picking up to do, plants to water ... I even forgot to give the cat more food (she has an automatic feeder so it's not a daily tasks) until she spent every waking minute with me on Saturday and I finally got the message.

Poor Mom. I was talking with her about a book proposal that just went out. Because as crazy as I feel right now ... I'm also concerned that I have no contracts looming after February 1st. Will I ever sell another book? Especially since the Heartsong Presents: Mysteries! will cease publication.

Mom bit her lip. As I blathered away, I realized she probably wishes I didn't have to write at all, that for now she needs my attention. Later, we did discuss it. She said, "I'm glad you don't have anything else coming up right away." So am I. I need a break.

We all need breaks from our pressure cooker lives from time to time. Our Christmas idyl was on such break--the two nights at a local hotel. My upcoming trip to Oklahoma is another such break. Even my office job represents a break, because I can be with friends and perform a task I do well. I look forward to time to work on a variety of writing projects instead of focusing on the next book due--a break of another kind.

Perhaps today's Bible verse summarizes the best means of dealing with pressure. People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God. (Matthew 4:4 NLT) So far I have resisted the temptation to skip my quiet time because I'm too busy. (Maybe none of you ever struggle with that, but I do, occasionally.) In recent months, I have come to treasure those quiet moments alone with the Lord each morning.

Sorry this isn't a terribly edifying post, but it represents my status today. Jolene is never far from my thoughts. Yesterday I noticed a photograph posted to the refrigerator. I've seen it every day for months, but I really saw it yesterday. A candid snapshot of me with both children, when Jaran was six and Jolene was two. I saw that auburn haired girl with her thumb in her mouth, and my heart cried what happened to that sweet little girl? At the rehab center yesterday, Mom introduced me as her daughter. The other woman said, "Aren't we fortunate to have daughters?" Oh, Jolene. My daughter is no more. Not in the sense she meant. I will have no daughter to visit me when I reach old age.

But then again, I do have a daughter-in-law who asks "When are you coming to visit?" letting me know she loves me and is eager to see me.

God is good.


Mary Connealy said...

God bless you with the deadlines, Darlene. I enjoyed the wisdom in today's post.

Ruthie said...

By all means - take that break and go see your precious new grandbaby.