I should have bought it.
This week has amounted many challenges; battles of all degrees and natures sprang up like mole hills, tripping me every few steps so that I never really made it past the gunshot smoke. In terms of progress, I’m still halfway through Monday, keeled over with my hands clasped to my knees, panting. Tuesday did not wait for me, either, and Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday found no just cause to temporize on my behalf.
I’m not exactly sure why editing my book has slowed to the pace of a monad. I’m lucky if I move through five pages a day. The crazy part: I’m editing, not creating. Grammar, punctuation, deletions — the minutia. The foundation is laid, the characters fleshed out, the end has already brought the light. So why then the screeching halt? No, I really don’t want to keep the story alive; I’m more than ready to see this baby done. It’s something else. I sit there staring at the words on the page, finding that they look more like a word-search and less like a mostly-completed manuscript. The indecision is eating. me. alive. Just make a cut already, swap out that word for this one — do something! One of my most favorite books, The Forest For the Trees, devotes an entire chapter to “The Indecisive Writer”. She is me, I am her, we are the same. Blue . . . No, purple — no no green! Indigo, definitely indigo. Wait, maybe violet? This, on a very minute scale, is the war perennially active in my mind. If someone asked me to choose between two decisions, either of which would save my life, I would likely parry with “Are those my only options?”
And as for improvement, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the more time I put into this endeavor, honing my craft, imbibing the genius that has gone before me, the easier and continuously fluid writing/editing would become? Well, for me anyway, Reason is not standing. She isn’t even sitting. She’s lying flat on her back, eyes puckered shut, kicking her legs in the air, and refusing to be the least bit sensible about anything. I’m about ready grab Reason by her scrawny neck and throttle her. Oh, but she knows I need her too badly to ever risk defection. I’ll coddle her instead.
This post is entitled “I should have bought it”. I’ll get onto that now.
Yesterday was my day off. I like to be among people on my day off. This is because my sweet pup and I, we live in a cave. It’s a lovely cave, mind you, with a nice big bed, and a gorgeous tree in the way of wall-art. I am an extrovert, however. I need people’s energy, even if indirectly. Coffee-shops provide just the perfect blend of distanced interaction. Chances are, over the course of an hour, you will receive the following from a stranger: “Oh, is that one any good? I’ve read her others . . . ” or “Your purse is so cute; where did you get it?” Nothing too invasive, just easy palaver. This allows me to be of, but not in, if I don’t want to. But if the opportunity arises to start up conversation with someone interesting, all the better. After three days of running circuitous laps in my mind, I was — am — spent. Also, thanks to Mrs. Melissa Bender (www.fitnessbender.com — check her out, she’s awesome!) my body is upset with me. It’s okay, and for the best, but for now my range of motion is a bit Tin Man-ish. The point is, I was too tired, mentally and physically, to enjoy the day. Even worse, I allowed an opportunity to bless someone’s day slip right on by.
Leaving the coffee shop, I was approached by a man clad in a dark business suit. He was probably no older than 35, no younger than 30, and had a friendly smile. It was a cool day, breezy, but the sun was high overhead, and as he’d likely been wandering about the parking lot for hours, his skin was melting. He prefaced his slow approach with, “Nothing scary, I just have something you might be interested in.” Still shivering from the ridiculously frigid temperatures all coffee-shops espouse, the only thing I was interested in at the point was getting in my warm car and home as soon as possible for a nap. I didn’t have the heart to keep walking, though, and stood there thawing as he proceeded to solicit make-up to me. When he was finished with his well-rehearsed spiel, he invited me to take one of the bags and look inside for myself. It wasn’t nice make-up, and here, I smiled wanly, and replied with, “Thank you, but I’m not interested.” He was ready for it, anticipated it, even. I wasn’t the first. Though his mouth smiled, his eyes reflected discouragement and weariness. He was tired. Much tired than I. “Okay. Have a nice day,” he said.
As I sat in my car, watching him attempt a sell once more, this time his odds increased as two women walked to their vehicles together, he was turned down without even a break in stride. My heart buckled. I thought about getting back out of the car, rushing over and letting him know I’d changed my mind. I didn’t.
I should have bought it.
There’s this prayer that I say over and over again. My mantra. It reminds me to constantly be aware of what’s most important: “Lord, let me be ready and willing.” My ability to follow through on this ebbs and flows, but all in all, I succeed more than I fail. This is because I’m certain that at given moment God might give me an opportunity to effect Good on someone. The choice to accept, however, is up to me. He schedules the appointment and leaves the rest up to me. God doesn’t manipulate or perpetuate, He only fills the plate. I am not doing Him a favor by acting on a good deed. I am doing me a favor. Which do you prefer? Being the givee or the giver?
I don’t need make-up; I have queue of lipsticks, an army of eye-shadows, and regime of applicators. The point of buying it was not to add to my already prodigious collection; it was to give a man hope. I’ll bet when he just a boy it wasn’t visions of proffering make-up to complete strangers in parking lots that filled his slumber’s dreams. Not to say there is any shame in what he is doing, I’m only left to presume it was not among his list of life’s ambitions.
I missed my appointment yesterday. I was distracted. I was tired. I was . . . I allowed my enervated state and the kingdom of Cara, to impede a chance at being a part of the Kingdom of God. I looked golden opportunity straight in the face and said, “Thanks, but no thanks.” While it is my fervent hope that I might inspire people with the book I work steadfastly on each day, this accomplishment, I know, is quite small in comparison to what I am capable of doing with my years in this interim. A life holds endless possibility. We hit our maximum potential with words like “limit” and “realistic”. I can do great things with my life as a writer, doctor, teacher, mother, artist, musician, and so on and so forth, but if I am blind to the Good right in front of me, the simple and the random moments that approach me with a plea for kindness, I’ve missed the whole point. Meaningless. My intentions mean nothing if my actions neglect to bolster them.
Some of you know I have a strong predilection for words. To me, they are the equivalent of a never-ending box of truffles. It must always be me that defines the word, however, never the other way around. I must be define love. I must be prepared to do more than say the right things, hope a prayer onto someone. I must be prepared to answer that prayer in whatever way I can.
That man’s face stayed with me all day yesterday, affixed itself to my heart like a barnacle. I fell asleep thinking of him. Regret’s aftertaste is one of the worst I have ever experienced, like sewer water and penny. I wish I could say this was the first time I had ever let an opportunity pass me by. Even more, I wish I could say it would be the last. It won’t be. I am human and flawed, and unfortunately our species learns lessons the hard way, by making the same mistakes over and over. I will learn, though. I refuse to stop growing, to let my mistakes keep me stagnant and afraid of failure. Those belong to the dark. You and I, we were born to be Light.
I should have bought it. Next time, you can be sure I will.
Happy Friday/Saturday, my friends. I wish you a wonderful weekend.