This past Sunday, I was at Mass when I was struck with a particular thought during the homily, about how strange it is that God knows what we want in life even better and before we ourselves do. I am living proof that it’s true.
Ten years ago, I was finishing up high school (as a homeschooler, if you remember). I had no plans for college, mainly because I believed that what I wanted to do as a career wasn’t something I needed to attend college in order to do.
I had big plans to write books.
Because of how shy I was most of my life, it seemed as though the only way I could even remotely express myself was through writing. I would study influential writers – Ernest Hemmingway, Leo Tolstoy, J. D. Salinger, Louisa May Alcott and more to name only a few – in an effort to learn from “the masters.” I ate, breathed and slept writing. I wrote for hours on my computer, littered my car with scraps of paper that depicted conversations, situations and ideas for my books, and spent many hours a day poring through and editing pages and pages of text. I began this process since I had turned 17, and just ran with it.
However, as the months turned into years, I become more and more unhappy with how I was living my life through my fictional books. Instead of taking chances and going places, I was doing that through my characters. Before I knew it, I had finished two novels in three years, but didn’t have much to show for it other than a few hundred pages and carpal tunnel syndrome. I spent a very small week sending out synopses of my books to various publishing companies throughout the United States, but of course, nothing really came of it. I was only 20 at the time, you see. I don’t think even I would have taken a chance on that young of a writer.
So one day during a fit of frustration at how my life was passing me by, I took a chance and called for a list of classes at Milwaukee Area Technical College, and the rest of my life – with a lot of help from God – eventually fell into place. Through MATC came Marquette University, which then brought me to South Africa, Matt, the Catholic Herald and much, much more. It brought me happiness I never knew to look for. Other than in a novel, that is.
So you see, the future may look so crystal clear when you’re young. You may have a great plan in mind and know exactly what you want, but it’s so important to remember that God’s way is the best way…I’m living proof of that!
Matt asked me the other day about my novel writing, and I am sad to say that “The Destiny of a Family Tree” and “Nights That Are Silver” have been placed on the bookshelf for good. At the moment, while I do have ideas for my next big story, I have not had the motivation to start it. It makes me a little melancholy to admit that, and although I know that writing books is in my future – God gave me a great gift, I will always remember – I have come to the conclusion that, until my muse returns for another stay, I need to keep plugging away at my current reporting job.
Music playing while writing this: “Beautiful World” by Colin Hay