A defining spark torches every person’s profession when the fundamental purpose for their life battles for precedence over the applause. My own coals were red hot.
I turned the final page of Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul and shifted in my flea market-find lounger. Twenty five stories written to minister to my soul and I thirsted for an additional twenty five more.
I’d read the about the hundreds of rejection letters some writer kept stashed in his file drawer to be brought to life for the media when he wrote his tenth bestseller.
I’d read about the advice that if you glue your butt to your desk chair and write everyday - you will be oozing on the slide to success.
I’d read about how most writers know from the day they are born that they are called to write and despite enormous odds prove it by aspiring to great heights in literacy.
I decided to put a meter to my own soul.
I drifted to the office we had designed so I could write without interruption while my creative juices flowed. I punched up my list of published works for the past eleven months. Thirteen. Not bad, I patted myself on the shoulder then flinched at the date of the last acceptance. Two months ago. My smile drooped lower than the leaves on my dehydrated spider plant.
I’d written by the formula. I’d edited and reedited and stayed on topic for every piece I tried to submit. I feared my skill had evaporated even though I had purchased and perused all the books Barnes and Nobles sold on writing. I, too, craved the steady drip of applause. One lone clap echoed off my office wall.
I checked my soul setting. I’d forgotten why I started writing. I’d completely overlooked who I was writing for. I’d ignored the One I’d given my soul to and promised to serve.
One addict unfortunately loves another.
My husband has this incredible capability of earning astounding sums of money. To be successful, he often executes extreme measures that include bullying, firing long time associates, and not stopping to look behind him as he vaults over the corporate hurdles of success. For his employers to applaud his efforts during the Monday morning conference call, he better have slammed and dunked more than one basketball that week prior.
Recently, his best friend and co-worker was rushed to the hospital with a heart attack at aged fifty. This man begged for his laptop so he could work should he awake at night. He tracked my husband each day from his hospital bed to query any changes in his part of the division. Like a drug addict, he sought the steady drip of applause.
My husband returned from visiting his friend in the hospital and collapsed on the desktop across from me. “I don’t know how much longer I can do this.” His shoulders crumpled like the pages of a rejected article. I leaned forward and pulled his hands into mine.
“We can do this together with prayer.” The purpose for both our lives was being drowned by the wrong applause. Our souls begged for the gentle reminder from the One who had already bought and paid for them.
My list of rejections steadily grows piece by piece like the anchoring pounds around my waist. I keep each letter tucked in the bottom drawer of my file cabinet. They may never be published as a prologue in a best seller biography. Wealth and fame may never reside in our household. But my ears have heard the applause from heaven and it is deafening.
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