As cliché as this sounds, my last week held within its grasp both good news and bad news.
Being a part of a church body has its privileges. It helps to build a circle of friends with like spiritual interests and, for the most part, similar lifestyles. It’s a great place for kids to mingle with each other. It is also a place where everyone will ask you to be a part of this, that, or the other. My contribution involves participation in the choir, which includes extra time on Wednesday and Sunday in preparation for upcoming services.
Two months ago, the choir members were asked to audition so the Choir director would know where to place people. Being the dutiful member that I am, I signed up and gave an audition, singing a song and reading an excerpt from the script. At the time I specifically said I didn’t want anything big. I was rewarded with one of the four leading roles. I remember thinking: Oh Lord, what have I done? I can’t possibly do this. I’ve got a novel I want to start. I’ve got work. I’ve got, I’ve got, I’ve got… I could have bowed out, made some lame excuse, and lived with the guilt. However, I sucked it up, told myself that I could handle it, and then proceeded to fulfill my obligation. After all, I did sign up.
After two months of preparation, which consumed precious hours of my time, the Easter weekend came. The choir put on three presentations—Friday, Saturday and Sunday. As a result of all the work, over fifty people made new, or fresh, commitments in their lives. One lady even wanted the autographs of all the leading characters (which made me feel a little strange, by the way).
So, the good news was that I finished a commitment I made over two months ago. I considered attaching a photo of me, but the head wrap made my ears stick out like Elliot Spitzer.
The bad news: I didn’t do any writing last week. With all of the final dress rehearsals, and the time spent at work or with family, there was nothing left to give.
As I thought about this posting, then, I wondered how I should feel about my involvement in the production. At first, I believed I would write about keeping priorities, and that writing should come first. But then, in light of the fifty-plus people with changed lives, wasn’t the sacrifice worth it? Why am I beating myself up for failing to write when I accomplished something good in the process?
Thinking about it now, I will still write about priorities. We all need to hold ourselves to the business of writing—working when we can, pushing ourselves more and more. Writing, however, shouldn’t become the end-all of end-alls. There has to be room for other things. Even the Marines have a set of core values: always faithful to God, Country, Family and the Corps. In this hierarchy, the Corps is fourth in line. As writers, we should do no less. While the business of writing is important, it can’t supersede our obligations to God or family. There should be times when it's okay not to write.
So, I've come to terms with no writing accomplishment last week. To get things cranked back up this week, though, I sat down to revise a short story, which I am sending out to Crimespree Magazine. We’ll see how that goes. I am also resuming my work on the novel. I had started chapter 6 two weeks ago. Hopefully, the time off won't delay getting back in the saddle (so to speak).