The vanity never goes away.
One of my doctors said this, just this morning. You know how it goes:
“How are you doing?” You are asked as you sit on wrapping paper, fashionably adorned in a backless cotton gown.
“I’m tired. Old. Fading.”
“Oh, why is this?” Clipboard lifted, bedside manner eyebrow elevates.
“Writing deadlines. My next novel is due. Overdue.”
Then it happens. Despite the fact some health insurance agency is getting billed hundreds of dollars an hour, you are no longer the patient. Instead, you are now the victim of an onslaught of appeals about, perhaps, a talented nephew who just needs to get connected to someone like YOUR agent. Or maybe it’s concerning an aunt with a fascinating life which MUST be written and hardbound…and by you.
In this case, my dermatologist (we red heads refer to them as gold diggers) shared about her friend who was a famous author who lived on a sailboat and was a heavy alcoholic. Despite all of his success and the fortune amassed through his writing talents his ultimate conclusion was, “the vanity never goes away”.
A familiar tale, clearly understood by Christian authors, right? Because Solomon already taught us this lesson. No? Well…maybe we can’t relate with him because he was…so rich.
But Moses? The one with the anger management issues? He was much more of a regular guy. Moses wrote a bestselling compilation which endured through the ages. What was his greatest writing moment?
It was his mountaintop experience. He ascended into the cloud of God’s glory on Mount Sinai and wrote for forty days and forty nights. It was a tremendous time of intimacy with the Creator of the Universe with words flowing like Manna from the Heavens. Eternal words. Life changing words.
But what then? He came down the mountain. Because, while we are here on Earth, we must always come down from the mountain.
And disgusted by the activities and response of the people below he shattered his great oeuvre d’art on the hard soil in frustration.
Through the power and instantaneity of social media you can vicariously enjoy the “mountaintop experiences” of your favorite writers. So many pictures of smiling faces. There they are embracing their new agent. Signing their first contract. Clinging to the newly arrived copies of their first book. Then there are the Amazon bestseller lists. The sparkling awards they receive in their finest gowns. There they are, dancing with the stars.
But do you get to see the pictures of these same authors smashing their precious tablets when their hopes and expectations aren’t met? When the vanity never goes away?
The true mountaintop experience is one that can be experienced and cherished by all authors, whether they are called to write for one or for millions.
It’s those precious moments of intimacy with God as He sits in the room with you as you tap away on the keyboard. When He’s there helping you to build new writer relationships. And yes, even during those times of rejection when He rests His arm on your shoulder.
If we don’t understand where the real mountain lies, then we will suffer one of two fates. We will be an unpublished and bitter writer, ever ungrateful for God’s gift of fellowship.
Or we will be a published writer, left alone to caress our Golden Calf.
It’s sad to hear editors speak of how so many anointed scribes are able to “make it big”, only to be changed, and not for the better.
What if everybody loves your book…except God?
How many books can we say that about? All too many.
As Believers, writing with God and for God is the ultimate reward. It should be above everything we strive for as an author, a poet…or merely as someone with a story to share.
Then…and only then, can we reach that lofty place, where the cheapness of vanity is no longer pursued and where our words are etched with eternal, life-changing value.
About the Author
Michael K. Reynolds is the author of the Heirs of Ireland Series published by B&H Publishing Group. The first of the series, Flight of the Earls, launched to outstanding reviews this January and explores Irish immigration to historic New York in the 1840’s. The second book, InGolden Splendor, is set during the California Gold Rush and arrives in July. Songs of the Shenandoah, continues the page-turning saga of the Hanley family through the Civil War era, and will be available January, 2014. You can learn more about Michael and subscribe to his Blog at www.MichaelKReynolds.com
Ruthy note: I met Michael over at 1K1HR the fun Facebook group that helps keep each other focused and with butt firmly in chair, writing.... rather than playing on Facebook, silly games or (in my case) cleaning my sweet old farmhouse! Michael had some fun mini-rewards systems of getting a gumball every so often... word count, hours, whatever it is, I'm a big fan of mini-rewards because they have been a mainstay for me from odd job to odd job... And those mini rewards kept me smiling and focused on the short-range and long-range goals. I've got Friday Frittata inside (spelled correctly this time, LOL!) and there's some cinnamon "SNICKERDOODLE CAKE" ready for taste-testing! Come on in... let's talk about an audience of 1.... or more.