I used to be a writer in the dark. By this, I mean I used to write because I felt the urge, or need, but lacked true direction.
Then I got a phone call. It was August 2006 and my brother called to tell me our cousin, with whom I share a name, died suddenly after a routine gall bladder procedure. It broke my heart, not so much that Cheryl died—but that her daughters found her. One crawled into bed with her mother’s body and held her until the authorities arrived. Cheryl was 34 years old.
What no one knew until the next day was my grandmother, who had struggled more than ten years with an inoperable tumor, fell that night and broke her hip. She spent the last days of her life in the hospital, where we visited her when we went down for Cheryl’s funeral, and then in a care center where she died on my birthday, September 1st.
That October I saw a specialist about my sinus problems and learned I had a severely deviated septum that would require surgery. But I was assured it was a routine procedure the doctor had performed many times. The words “routine procedure” freaked me out. My overactive imagination began to wonder if Cheryl’s untimely death was a portent of my own. By the time the surgery day arrived, I’d pretty much reconciled myself to the idea I’d never wake up. I’d even written letters to my family and loved ones with all the things I’d always wanted to say.
When I not only survived, but recovered the use of my nose, I began to seriously re-examine what I’d been doing with my life and my writing. I’d hit 31 years of age. Did I ever plan to become a published author, or should I just relegate it to a hobby and move on with some other career? What would my grandmother want me to do? So why wasn’t I doing it?
I knew even then I couldn’t simply make my writing a hobby. It’s too big a part of me. I had to pursue publication. I had to make something of the words that came to me like projectiles on a besieged castle. I was going to be an author. Which meant I would have to evolve from an introvert to an extrovert.
Have I ever mentioned I like quiet, I love being alone, and I hate drawing attention to myself? I thought not.
But God has a wonderful understanding of me, more so than I think I understand myself. He has given me writing friends, author mentors, and supportive family and friends who keep me buoyed up and pave the way for me as I follow my chosen path. He gives me guidance and inspiration, and has in no uncertain terms made it clear to me this is my role in His kingdom.
I only had to stop fighting and accept it. I remember that day clearly. Late April 2009. See, even after deciding to be an author it took me almost 3 years to accept this as my role, as the part Heavenly Father has been waiting for me to play. That day, I’d received an inspiring Priesthood blessing. After taking some hours to process it, I sighed and said aloud, “All right. I’ll do it. I’ll be the writer You want me to be.”
This doesn’t mean I’ll ever be rich and famous. I mean, a person pretty much has to hit the publishing lottery to become rich and famous as an author. It’s been done, but there are no guarantees.
What it does mean is I am doing what my Heavenly Father wants me to do. And that’s good enough for me.
**Cheri was one of our applicants for the blogger openings we had a few weeks ago. You can tell by her wonderful blog how difficult the decision was for us to make. I hope Cheri can come back soon and be a guest again. Thanks for hanging out with us today, Cheri. ~Christine