It's The End Of The Year As We Know It (But I Feel Fine)

It's been...a year.  A real year.

As bad as some?  No. As good as others?  No.

It's been a year of frustrations, delays, and alarms...

...but as of this writing, no genuine tragedy or catastrophe.

Biggest scare was mom: She's 87, legally blind, with a serious heart condition and until just recently virtually living alone.  She's becoming unstuck in time and space, imagining herself to be in places she's not, doing things she hasn't.

About three or four weeks ago she had to call 911 when my delusional brother refused to take her to a doctor after she spent an hour or more in intense physical pain; he refused to believe it was anything more serious than indigestion and told her to "sweat it out" (he later got resentful that she had called 911 "behind my back").

911's first responders took her to a hospital where the ER determined she was in the first stage of congestive heart failure.

Happy ending: She has been stabilized and has moved in with my sane brother and his family, where she will be warm and safe and comfortable for the rest of her days.

Loose end: My delusional brother still lives in her old house, his hoarding impulse now unabated.  My sane brother and I can not turn him out on the streets, but at the same time we can not see any way his situation will not eventually lead to the loss of the house.

Prayers are requested in this situation.

Biggest worry is Soon-ok's own health: She has suffered from frozen shoulders and acid reflux this last year, but the good news is that changes in her diet have helped her digestion and therapy / exercise / ice + heat packs / time seem to be helping her shoulders.

She will retire next year, and we both look forward to that, but she is a worrier, constantly imagining worse case scenarios that never occur but wasting emotional energy fretting over them.

I want her to relax next year, I hope she relaxes.

Prayer requested here, too.

For the rest of the family, praise reports for blessings and protections. No serious problems, good relationships, mutual support.

My thanks to God for that.

Professionally, an extremely frustrating year for me: Two projects should have been completed and available to the public; instead they languish in the files waiting for me to have the necessary time to concentrate on their final re-writes.

So close and yet so far...

As a result, other projects are backlogged.  Bad enough to be deprived a revenue stream, what's worse is that creatively I feel like I'm being smothered, with stories and projects either dying of neglect or being exiled into limbo.

Prayers there as well, too.

One of the frustrating things for me professionally overlaps onto the spiritual side.  For many years I have presented myself as a creator of Christian stories, finding a place for myself in what's commonly referred to as the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) market.

But a lot has happened to cause me to rethink that.

Spiritually my walk with Christ is stronger than ever.  I am finding more comfort, support, and -- dare I say it? -- serenity in the last year.  I've felt my faith grow as I gained new insight in it.

Part of that insight, however, has led me to re-evaluate just what it is that I have been doing, why I have been doing it, and just exactly what it is that I seek to achieve.

I have many brothers and sisters in Christ who are co-laborers in the fields of the Lord; I emphatically state that where my walk in faith has led me is not necessarily where their walk is leading them.

But this year I realized I am being untrue to my calling, indeed untrue to my faith if I continued to craft stories with a predetermined (preordained, as it were) conclusion that did not fearlessly confront all aspects of a given issue.

In short, if the entry into the CBA market is a requirement that the work fit their precise box of limitations -- limitations crafted to increase sales, not grow faith or wisdom -- then I can no longer in good conscience identify myself as a creator of Christian stories.

But more on that in my next post...

So Where Do We Go From Here (And Which Is The Way That's Clear)?

Anonymous Medieval Monk On The Topic Of Writing