the second tissue

I have never been so mortified in all my life as when she handed me the second tissue. It was bad enough that she pulled them out to give me the first one.

The advanced reading appointments at the writers conference were only ten minutes long. You pay a large sum of money for those meager ten minutes. And I used part of mine in tears in front of a seasoned agent needing not just one tissue, but two.

In all fairness, I didn’t start crying until after the critique part was over. I handled all of that quite well and was not even tempted to cry. She had some of the best feedback I got from any of the three appointments and I was grateful.

I knew before I sat down that the writing I had turned in was crappy when compared to industry standards. I thought it was decent when I wrote it (otherwise would I have paid professionals to tell me what they thought?), but when I reviewed it before my first appointment suddenly I saw a wealth of things I was previously blind to.

So I knew what I was getting into and beat her to the punch on much of what she had to say while the rest of it I took in hungry and dry-eyed, eagerly writing down each point in my notes. I said thank you and started to get up and she said we have more time and I did pay for this, did I have any other questions for her?

I told her I did before I came in here but I couldn’t think of any of them now and I rested my weight back into the chair, not sure where to go from there. Then she asked me about my kids. I started to tell her their ages and instantly knew I was not going to make it through the sentence.

No fair! I was prepared to remain professional, but now you have just asked me about my kids and my kids connect me to my heart and what with the run in with the pole last night and my dreams of getting a book contract smashed to smithereens my heart is a bit tender right now! Crying in front of an agent is terribly unprofessional but you asked me a non-professional question and now I am crying and you are handing me tissues!

To make matters worse, she was kind to me. If she had just been awkward or mean I could have reeled in the tears and pulled it together. But she kept being nice to me, offering what seemed like genuine care thus making a safe environment for me to continue to lose it. “What else do you do when you are not with your kids? What do you do for a break to get away from them for a while?”

Lady, you are not helping. I write that’s what I do. And I think we have adequately covered that topic. I mumbled something about pictures for the blog and then the bell rang announcing our time was up. Praise the Lord.

I didn’t have to sign up for those critiques. And if I hadn’t, the conference probably wouldn’t have been so painful. But it would have been a lot less valuable too. I would have stayed in my dream world, happy and safe……and wondering “what if?”. I took a chance. I put myself out there. And for now, that is the win. Even if it came with the second tissue.

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the mysterious miracle of healing

This may seem like a silly picture. That’s okay because it is one that I took because I marveled at what I was seeing. This is a picture of a redwood tree that has been burned and is in the process of healing.

I am amazed by the miracle of healing. No matter where anyone believes that healing comes from, the fact that it takes place at all is astounding to me. I happen to believe that when healing takes place, it is a mixture of a lot of different factors. I believe in a God who heals. I believe God made the human body and human spirit in such a way that they have a propensity to heal. And I am grateful for science and health professionals who know how to come along side a human body or human spirit offering invaluable help to bring healing. And I get most excited when I see all these things mysteriously come together so that I can’t tell where one factor starts and the other ends but somewhere in the process of it all the miracle of healing takes place.

I had a minor surgery just a few days ago. Nothing big or alarming, but enough that I had to be put under and sharp things went at my body. Afterwards, I had to rest. My body needed time to heal.

Sometimes it can be frustrating to take a time out from normal life in order to take time to heal. Needing someone else to make me food or take care of my children or clean my house or drive me around can feel powerless. Healing makes me needy. I don’t generally like to fall into the needy category.

And yet I have been amazed the last few days when I get up after a longer night’s sleep than I thought anyone with children was allowed to have (after spending all day resting and napping for more hours than seems reasonable), I feel better. I have a marked improvement from the day before. Healing is taking place.

And because a year ago I was dealing with some very difficult things and thought I would forever need my weekly visits to my counselor just to survive, this current physical healing is reminding me of the healing of my spirit I experienced this past year. Although the healing was in my spirit, there was a very physical, physiological piece involved as well. Turns out I had a nervous system that was awry and needed some help re-setting.

I had no idea how this nervous system piece was affecting me. I thought it was normal to experience life the way I did. My coping mechanisms worked well. But then, as healing started to happen, I marveled at what “normal” really was. It was as if I had figuratively been walking around crippled with a broken back having no idea that the rest of the world didn’t stare at the ground all the time but walked upright instead.

Of course, we don’t always heal. I have had many dear friends this year loose loved ones and I am acutely aware that healing does not always happen. And yet, the fact that sometimes it does is still amazing to me. And so even though my incision wounds are still sore, they are much less sore than yesterday or the day before that. And even though my throat is still a bit scratchy from the tube they put down it while I was blissfully knocked out by the drugs they gave me, it is also better than yesterday or the day before. My body is healing due to the mysterious combination of factors: my husband has been taking care of our home and three children so that I can rest, bodies do heal, and I believe God has his hand in there too.