That’s what I found when I headed onto my porch this morning. It’s been rainy off and on for weeks and the lawn and corn fields that surround my house are so green you wouldn’t believe what this place will look like in a few months. (Aka. Dry and Brown.) The air is cool and refreshing and when the sun shines it’s just right—enough to be warm but not enough to make you feel like you’re the burrito in a dish of baked enchiladas. As I sit here typing this blog post, I have opened my window blinds and the sun pours in, often covered again by clouds as more showers lurk in the air. Sometimes I’m reminded of Lamentations 3: 22--23, which states “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning" (ESV). It hasn’t always been a peaceful or encouraging road over the last few years, but we who are Christians are never told that life will be either of those things. Sometimes it will be challenging and those challenges are tests of our faith. This phrase just means they are tests of whether we really believe in what we’re doing and in what we say we stand for.
I have always enjoyed watching a short 1-hr long TV movie made decades ago for children. It belonged to a series that was partly educational and each episode in the series was about a fictional child who had a short adventure getting to know a famous composer. The one that stuck around for me was about the Italian opera composer Rossini. A little girl in the episode traveled through a magic mirror to learn her grandmother had worked as a dancer in Rossini’s company. Rossini, unlike everyone else, was able to see the little girl and thought she was probably the daughter of a cast member. When The Barber of Seville got off to a terrible start—it was, to use just the right word, a fiasco—Rossini quit. Not because he was scared of the mobs coming to torch his home, but because he felt writing music wasn’t rewarding. The little girl tried to encourage him to continue because she had picked up a playbill from her grandmother’s box of old things in the real world before she went through the mirror. It was for William Tell, an opera Rossini hadn’t even written yet, and which is one of his most famous. (Lone Ranger music, anyone? That theme comes from Rossini’s opera.) Rossini said that he always swore he’d just write music as long as it was fun. If it stopped being fun—he’d quit. But he realized he had much more to do in the future and did indeed have a long career ahead of him.
Similarly, I’ve often felt recently that writing isn’t “fun” anymore and like Rossini, I always did it because I loved it. A few books got off to a rough start, just like The Barber of Seville (which became very popular after its debut, by the way!), but that wasn’t why I felt discouraged. It was that all the life seemed to be getting drained out of me as I went on and on writing blog posts and churning out new books. I have seen many career authors who just seem to go on writing because they can’t stop—the inspiration, the joy of writing, has been replaced by honed marketing, perfect genre mastery, really good rapport with fans, and experience as an expert. But I never get the feeling these authors are having FUN. I think it's really just a kind of daily work for them and it’s hard to write good books the way you might turn out good packages in an Amazon shipping department. I felt some of that syndrome creeping over me and I dreaded it.
But, after a period of feeling blue and having a lot of things going on in my life that weren’t writing related, I felt the beautiful spring air on my face and I realized God really does renew things. He renews the world every morning. He renews people’s lives every time they ask Him. And he renews joy in doing what we do with our lives. A joyless life is not His—and if you respond to challenges and tests correctly, you will come through to the kind of joy that He wants. A deep-seated sort of Having Fun with Being Alive. It’s a lovely spring day outside and I find it’s a lovely spring day in my heart as well. And I hope that is the same for you and if it isn’t, if you’re still confused and still feeling gray and blue and all sorts of depressing shades of this and that—I know it can be better soon.
And there will be more updates.
Young Adult Fiction Writer
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