Well, about a week and a half ago, on a Thursday, I emailed my agent about my next book. I have something I’ve already started, have the world, have the characters, have several chapters (I think I have already mentioned this), have a rough storyline, but it’s straight science fiction. Should I go with that, I asked, or should I try to come up with something else more along the lines of the SF/suspense I did in The Enclave? Of course, coming up with something entirely new would take more time.
He responded Friday morning that I should go with what I have and see what Bethany House says. And in retrospect I see that I no sooner had a direction than the complications began. Or should I call it harassment?
First, my husband started developing an abscessed tooth on Thursday that instead of going away as he’d hoped suddenly escalated on Friday. He lay around the house all day, feeling awful, his face all swollen up, hoping a cotton ball soaked in baking soda and salt would draw out the abscess as the Internet advice promised.
Saturday was more of the same, only now I was getting concerned because the swelling was worse, he seemed fevered, he was more lethargic than ever, and he wouldn’t go to the doctor. Finally he relented and went, while I walked Quigley. He actually was able to see an emergency room doctor right away who lanced the abscess and sent him home with prescriptions for painkillers and antibiotics. The swelling was noticeably reduced when he returned.
The next morning, just as I was walking out the door for church, I got a call from my cousin letting me know one of my uncles had died. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s, the same ailment that killed my father. (I have two other uncles who also have it. But two others who don’t, as well. And an Aunt who’s likewise Alzheimer’s free.) That raised the immediate question of whether I should go to the funeral, and it seemed to me that the Lord was telling me, firmly, no. Which was not an easy decision to make.
Then about three hours later, immediately after church, I learned from a friend that my son had proposed to his girlfriend the day before and she’d said yes. I knew he was considering it, but not that he was doing to do it Saturday, so it came as a shock. I found out later that he’d orchestrated the entire thing as a surprise, getting her to Disneyland with other friends so she wouldn’t guess his intent, then maneuvering her to the wishing well in Sleeping Beauty’s castle where he got down on one knee and asked her. It was cute and sweet and very much in character.
Unfortunately, the mother of one of the friends who’d come as “camouflage” was freaking out because she feared the friend and her boyfriend were eloping and had been texting or calling her daughter all morning. As a result, they had to call her when the proposal was finally made and accepted and assure her that none of her wild speculations had occurred. The friend who told me about it on Sunday happened to be at the mother’s house on Saturday… and I see this tale is already becoming far too convoluted to go on with. Suffice to say through a bizarre confluence of events Adam was prevented from calling us with the news before Sunday afternoon.
For the next day or so, all of this was tremendously distracting, but slowly everything settled back to normal and my decision not to attend the funeral solidified. On Wednesday I realized that now that I knew what I was going to do as far as my next step, I could start reading a book I’d bought several years ago: The Story of Christian Theology. The world of the new book is based on the seven churches of Revelation, both as existing churches at the time and as periods the church has gone through historically, so I wanted to get some historical context for all of it.
I brought the book in to my office, set it on the desk to look through it briefly, then got up from the chair to walk out of the room and RAMMED my foot into the leg of a typing table that stands against the wall by the door. Getting out of the chair you have to make the turn pretty quickly, and I often miss, so it wasn’t the first time I’ve hit that obstacle.
It was the first time I’ve hit it that hard, however. It hurt really, really bad, and when I looked down I found the fourth toe on my left foot sticking out at a funny angle toward my little toe. Oh my! That looked so bad I couldn’t stand it and immediately pushed it back into place. It crunched a bit but seemed to be re-aligned.
I hobbled into the kitchen and got a bag of frozen peas to put on my foot, moaning and groaning all the while. It got all black and blue and swollen and I could hardly put any weight on it. If I did it would start to throb.
So for the last six days now, I’ve been hobbling about, keeping it elevated, icing it, taking Advil, trading off between seated tasks and standing ones. Today was the first day since I jammed it that I was able to take Quigley for a walk and we didn’t go very far before it started hurting.
The upshot of all that is that my chores haven’t been getting done, and I was completely derailed from working on the new book. And only recently did it occur to me that… it was happening again. No sooner had I started, then I’m met with one hindrance after another… I was never accident prone before, but these last few years have been weird.
And then the last few messages from my pastor have only reinforced it, as he reminds us this is the norm. Don’t expect it to stop. There’ll be problem after problem and the true blessings of spiritual growth are not wealth and fame and success and everything going right, but the other way around. And having the capacity to be content no matter what state we’re in.
We’re in a war, after all and the enemy doesn’t need to sleep. Another friend noted that the kingdom of darkness really isn’t out to annoy us, they’re out to destroy us. Or at the least derail us from living in God’s plan for our lives. So it’s back to one day at a time, focus on Him, recall He will never leave me or forsake me and that nothing that happens is outside His control.