Ernest Hemingway closes his masterwork, The Sun Also Rises, with a scene between Jake and Brett, the doomed lovers. She states that it’s a shame the two of them can’t be together, and Jake closes the book with the the classic line, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” Such an odd line from a character who loves drinking, bullfighting, and all other manner of manly occupations. I’ve often used this line when discussing things I wish I had done or thought might be beneficial to me. For example:
Imaginary Friend—“Wouldn’t it be amazing to study abroad in England for a year?”
Me—“Isn’t it pretty to think so?”
It has been my “pretty to think so” dream for the last twelve years or so to be a published author. Granted, what I have wanted to write has changed from academic articles and texts to fiction and poetry to non-fiction essays and discourses, but the why has always been the same. I have a lot to say, and I express it better with a pen between my fingers or a keyboard beneath them. Also, I’m crap at math and could never manage a career in something practical like accounting or engineering.
For a decade, I was a teacher, the closest thing I could get to writing for a living. I was teaching others about the great literature of the world and helping them to think for and express themselves more succinctly. It was a rewarding decade to be sure, and I still miss it though I have to say that I haven’t graded a paper in almost six months, which is supercallafragalisticexpialidociously awesome. Really, it’s better than, “Hey, I just found a $100 bill in my coat pocket!”
As a content and copy editor, I still “grade” papers, but people actually thank me for marking them up. I’m asked on a regular basis to hunt out and kill mistakes with heartless and laser accurate precision. I’m also asked to take a text and make it better, to assist another author with a particularly troubling paragraph or concept. Also, as a content editor, one of my jobs is to do research, to make sure references and citations are accurate and attributed to the correct person and publisher. These are all things that a Type-A writer/nerd/scholar/perfectionist like myself enjoys doing in her spare time. And they actually pay me for it. Suckers. 🙂
In a place where materials are printed, I’ve gained a great deal of new wrinkles in my brain. For example, I’ve learned that widows and orphans need caring for both in real life and on the typewritten page. I’m mastering the art of kerning and leading and how a document should be flowed to transform it from plain black and white text to a beautifully designed page. I’ve been allowed to work on press releases, syndication articles, web page landing copy and e-newsletters, ads, letters, and even the In Touch Magazine itself. Most importantly, everything I read over teaches me something wonderful about the amazing God I serve, and it does my heart as much good as my mind as it builds me up—both in my new skill set and my spirit.
What I didn’t expect when I started this gig was that writing would be part of the bargain. There is a staff of amazing writers here who do great work for the magazine and the ministry as a whole, and they crank out so much copy each and every month that I’m often staggered by it. What’s amazed me the most, however, is the fact that they’ve asked me to come alongside them in this effort! Seriously, I’ve been afforded the privilege to contribute to the magazine as a writer.
When they first offered me a writing assignment, I had to pinch myself. Hard and often. After doing so to the point my husband thought I might need an intervention, it was still true, so I decided to trust in God and go for it. My first writing assignment was for the December 2011 magazine. The editorial staff wanted to do a six-part feature on the Person of Christ. They are described in the opening paragraph as “brief meditations on six aspects of Jesus’ personhood: Christ as Witness, Prophet, Intercessor, Warrior, Priest, and King.” If you are interested in reading the entire piece (which is both thought-provoking and gorgeously designed), In Touch Magazine is available in print (subscriptions are free), on the ministry’s homepage, and on our free app for either Android or iPhone. My contribution to the piece, an exploration of Christ as Prophet, is below.
I don’t want to regale you with the story of my life, but just let me say that the last seven or so years have been…rough. Losing my first teaching job due to budget cuts, learning I had a lifelong illness to face (MS), financial struggles, having to move…the list goes on and on. However, when this job came my way, I realized that all the things I’d been through had served a purpose. They were what taught me to rely upon God for everything, to turn to Him instead of looking inside myself for answers or working in my own strength. In short, I would never have been prepared for this job had I not undergone the things I did. That is why I praise Him in both good times and bad because even the things that cause me pain and discomfort are for my ultimate good.
Think about it! The Father has made it possible for me to use my skills in a place where I am permitted to grow and thrive. I have wonderful friends who also happen to be my co-workers, and I am edified and strengthened by God each and every day. I feel so overwhelmingly blessed that I can hardly find the words to express it. I can only praise God for His goodness and mercy, His willingness to involve Himself in the lives of His children, and His omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent power. I do indeed serve an amazing God, the Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!