When three old friends in their 60s get together for coffee and conversation, there are long glances backward and short ones on the remains of the day. We reminisce and exhort and try to “stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24, ESV).
Nan has always been a poet. My house is filled with her unpublished works dating back decades: illustrated children’s books on the occasion of my daughter’s sleepovers; poems scrawled on a postcard from Maine or the Cape on the occasion of exciting botanical finds, birthday poems, poems for no reason at all.
But this morning the mood was Mood Indigo, for Nan was feeling the shortness of the days and the length of artistic dreams unrealized. In the early years it was the children, and she loved them well. Then they fled the nest but in the vacuum came the others birds who were as needy: her aging parents, the neighbors with cancer, young girls who wanted mentoring, people who found themselves in nursing homes and needed visiting, and my own mother. God has given Nan gifts, but it seems, not time. Or had she made bad choices?
My friend Heidi and I listened (for we have learned from Job’s story that it is never good to venture prematurely a solution to a woe), but then the thought occurred to us:
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV).
The Greek word for “workmanship” is “poema.” We—each one of us who walks in God’s pathways, denying ourselves and our druthers for others—are the poems He writes in His heavenly book. While Nan is lamenting the books never written, her Lover is writing a book of her life—which hilariously is a book about books never written because she was making herself a live sacrifice for His people:
“… present your bodies as a living sacrifice …” (Romans 12:1, ESV).
Heidi and I are still hoping Nan will carve out blocks of time to retreat to her room and give birth to her dreams. May God bless her endeavors. But better by far than the writing of books—yea, than spirits submitting to us—is the thrill of our knowing the Author of authors is writing a book with our names and our stories inscribed in its pages (Luke 10:20, ESV).