Monday, November 26, 2012

Fallout

I have in my hands the proof of my second book.  I wrote and (self) published two books this year. Part of me thinks, "That's quite an accomplishment." But another part of me feels silly and foolish, and struggles through the whole process. I feel exposed, writing a book (or creating any work of art) is like taking a part of your soul and laying it out for all to see, and for any to judge. 

Self-publishing adds to the vulnerability. It means there is no "professional" involved in any step of the process.  I'm good with transparency, but vulnerability is far more challenging for me.  Laying out both my writing skills and my editing skills to the scrutiny of others is hard, not to mention the story and imagination that are behind them.  Ugh.

If I had a friend who wrote a book, I'd like to think I would support them and read it.  Maybe I wouldn't, but I like to think I would.  I know if I did I would be gentle with my criticism.  These two published works are actually my 3rd and 4th endeavor.  My first attempt at writing a book was thrown by the wayside when a trusted friend, someone whose opinion I valued and respected annihilated my with harsh criticism that in my heart of hearts I know was not related to the book itself, but it was a personal attack at me because of comparisons some else made between us and our teaching/ speaking styles.  I tried to be gracious, and dismiss the hurt. I didn't let it affect the friendship, but I never put pen to page again in that book.  It has four chapters that I never got past.

Homecoming, my first published work, has received some criticism for technical problems.  I'm no English professor.  But out of the same critical mouths, the story has been praised and I've been asked for the sequel.  It's there now, but I don't know if they'll read it.  I know there is one particular critic who will have to hear about the book from someone else, because she won't hear about it from me.  I already know that Fallout (the sequel) isn't perfect either, but I think hope the story is still important enough to tell.

I know because of changes we made in our personal lives (specifically our church lives) over the last couple years that there are people in my life who if we hadn't made those changes, would absolutely read the books and support my writing.  Those same people will now refuse  to read them for those exact same choices.  Of course, part of me feels very certain that if we hadn't made those choices, the books might never have been written in the first place. 

Just as much as there are many who fall into that category, there are a solid few who have loved me and supported me through those same decisions and these same new endeavors, and for the few, I am eternally grateful.  But the practical side of me looks and wonders, is "success" hindered by those who still resent me for being gone?  I can only speculate, and what a dangerous place that is to be.

It brings up a lot of hurt about the loss and changes in so many, many relationships.  Even though God has moved me to a better and healthier place for ME (and my family) it doesn't mean all that was lost has magically been replaced.  As I type that it makes me think of Job.  He lost his home and his children and after a long and difficult season he came out on the other side and God "restored to him" a new family and a new home.  But I can't help but wonder, didn't he still grieve and mourn for the family he lost?  Even if life went on, even if life got good again, he had to have missed those that were lost.

It's different. I didn't lose anyone in death, but there was much loss, and relationships died.  As I wonder about those who have been lost to me, I wonder if they ever think of me too.  Then I wonder if they think anything good.  It makes my heart ache.

It's funny (in a completely un-funny way) that the title of this book is "Fallout," because in essence, that's what I find myself faced with yet again, the fallout of decisions-- my own and those of others. 

I hold my book and find it attached to a plethora of emotion and struggle that it is attached to, and I wonder when whole and healed comes, or if it ever comes.  We are the sum total of our lives and experiences (but God), and even Christians have regret.  Even when we stand and proclaim over it scripture "all things together for good," or "what one intended for evil, God intended for good," we are not absolved from wondering what if or what might be.  And we still find ourselves grieving much of the losses along the way, even when God brings beauty from ashes.... or even as we wait in anticipation of the beauty to come while we stand amidst the ashes.

All I can do is take myself back to God's sovereignty.  He knew. He planned. He filtered. He approved.  Nothing happens, nothing touches us apart from His allowance, and even when it hurts or it is hard, He is still good-- all knowing, and understanding what I cannot-- the truth that EVEN this, He will work for my good.  And even harm that others intended for evil, God intends for good, and for His good purpose, which is so much bigger than anything I can even think or imagine-- His ways are not my ways, His thoughts not my thoughts, so high I cannot attain them.

But still the reality, the struggle, the pain and the loss are here. But I wait, and hope in expectation, for the Fallout that is the ashes I find myself standing amidst, are the ones God promises to some how bring beauty from.  I cannot understand, but I wait and trust in the One who promised it. 

In Jesus' name....

1 comment:

JESSICA RENSHAW said...

Oh Diana,

You have written out my heart, too, in so many ways--the vulnerability of writing and being read, the betrayal by and loss of church family, the questions and struggling to trust God's sovereignty in the midst of the ashes.

Paradoxically, my life could hardly be better, really--yet I get more homesick for Home every day that passes.