ACW

ACW

Friday, 11 August 2017

The Now and Not Yet, by Deborah Jenkins

I am probably the least nimble fingered person you'll ever meet. The one in front of you at the parking meter, muttering, Where's the hole? while jabbing it randomly with a coin. Probably the only mother in the world who had to get her bleeding kids to open plasters, if there were no scissors available (why do they seal them unattainably in those ridiculous sheath-like wrappers?) In shops, when I reach into the depths of my purse, random objects tend to flip out and skate across the counter - a hair grip, an earring and once unforgettably, a tampon. I claim it's my poor eyesight (I  had a very rare eye disease some years ago) but my husband says I've always been like that. He says it with affection (mostly) or irritation (occasionally).

I used to get very anxious about my clumsy ways. Over the years, I've done some terrible things - knocked glasses of water over keyboards and spilled coffee on teachers. Memorably, I once stepped on a child with a high heel while he was carefully measuring the room in hand spans Forty-one, forty-two, aaaargh! I gave him a team point for bravery.

I've learned to slow down and focus on what I'm doing instead of gazing out of the window  or planning my next novel. I try to look carefully at wrappers, turning them over and over in my hands to see if there's a flap or one of those red. stringy things to pull. The right glasses help (of the three sets available, you can bet those will be upstairs). As does access to natural light.

But I can't change who I am. And my lack of dexterity has reaped unexpected benefits - a good chat with an assistant in Costa, tipping my purse out and telling him to 'help himself', assisting a young mum while she found the 'hole' in the parking meter for both my money and her own, hilarious stories over dinner with friends while my children recount early experiences with plasters. God can use who we are in surprising ways.

Similarly with writing, at this time of my life, I don't seem to fit into the categories that others do. I can't do that 'write for at least ten minutes every day' thing and I don't plan very much. I don't really use social media to promote my writing although I do post the odd link to two. I'm not great at networking. You could argue that this is partly why I'm not particularly successful and you would probably be right. But at the moment, this is the stage of life I'm at and I've decided it's OK. One of the constant challenges of writing is reconciling the 'now and the not yet' - the now of what we are actually doing and the 'not yet' of what we aspire to. But, in a way, now is all we have, and perhaps we should embrace it and be content with it while keeping those long term goals in mind.

Some of my favourite verses are from Psalm 84: -
"Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion."

God has given me this verse time and time again in my life. His theme for me has been very much one of travelling. As a child we moved around a lot - my dad was in the army. As an adult, I've lived in different places in central Asia and in a rented house when we came back here, while rebuilding this one. I'm glad to be in one place now but, as I look back, I can see that some of the happiest times were the transitional ones, the working purposefully with others towards a shared goal - helping others do church in central Asia, hosting teams from the U.K, doing up our house as a family.
And God regularly surprised us as we travelled these paths, blessing us in unexpected ways and using us to bless others.

As we writers nurture our dreams, chat on Facebook and at meetings, and put our heads down over those increasingly coffee stained keyboards, let's not forget to embrace the now as well as the not-yet. Who knows? One day, when we look back, these might end up being the most precious times of all...

Click on the link to see the novella on amazon
Deborah Jenkins is a primary school teacher and freelance writer who has written articles, text books, devotional notes and short stories. She also writes regularly for the TES. She has completed a novella, The Evenness of Things, available as an Amazon e-book and is currently working on a full length novel. Deborah loves hats, trees and small children. After years overseas with her family, who are now grown up, she lives in south-west London with her husband, a Baptist minister, and a cat called Oliver. 




13 comments:

  1. Thanks, Deborah - I love this encouragement to embrace the here and now. We're currently adjusting to being empty-nesters, so this feels particularly pertinent. (And the tampon incident made me chortle!) F xx

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  2. Haha! It made me chortle too after I'd walked away, as red faced as the young (male) till assistant πŸ˜€ Thanks Fiona. Enjoy the peace and quiet in that empty nest! Xx

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  3. Thanks Deborah. This was great to read. And thank you. As a kid, I was labelled 'clumsy' and it hurt for a long time. Now, I'm learning to be happy and content with who God made me to be.

    And I laughed my head off over your tampon misadventure. Thanks for sharing :D xx

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    1. Thanks Mandy! I would never have guessed that you were clumsy - encouraging. Perhaps appearances are deceiving? Let's hope so for my sake! Thanks again :) xx

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  4. I'm just the same with packets of things, tearing them open in a rage after ten minutes to then find a handy little 'open here' message I should have looked for in the first place. Calming down, slowing down, giving things a chance ... it's the way ahead, but I've always been convinced I don't have enough TIME to open a packet slowly, or, as you say, be patient over a novel's emergence or the arrival of a long-awaited writing success. Great post - all so well said.

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    1. Thanks Buddy :) I never knew that about you! I always thought you were the capable, dextrous sort. Well you are capable but obviously not as nimble fingered as I thought you were. Patience with long term writing projects is so hard - I wrote the post for myself really. You, however, are a great inspiration to me :)

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    2. Capable, dextrous, nimble-fingered? We definitely need to spend more time together. I'll let you observe me opening a few packets or wrapping parcels. That will be some evening of entertainment. Friend, I know how to party!!

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    3. Hahaha! Will look forward to it :) :)

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  5. Deborah, you are not alone! I was fondly known as 'Tanglefoot' as a child, and I'm only a little bit better with age. I enjoyed you words, as always - wise and encouraging to all of us who are not at all perfect!

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  6. Aw thanks Aggie! You are always so encouraging yourself. Clumsies of the world unite! We will prevail (if we don't fall over and brain ourselves firstπŸ˜‰)

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  7. I loved this Deborah, thanks again for your honesty and humour and your very special way of crafting the words. Dare I admit my worst spillage incident? When travelling back to uni on the train many years ago, I reached into my bag for my hairbrush - one of those plastic ones with bobbled ends - only to realise too late that there was a pair of knickers impaled on its branches...

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  8. Haha! I would love to have been there :) I am so encouraged by all these clumsy writers! Could it be a feature of the creative mind?? Thanks Jane for your kind comments x

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