“There’s no crying in baseball!” ~ Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own
But there’s a lot of crying in book writing. At least, there is for me. Maybe not the kind you’d think.
Not tears of frustration or aggravation or self-doubt or discouragement or defeat. I mean, I definitely feel all of those things when I’m working on a new book. I really do. When I can’t figure out what I want to say or how to say it. When the words just won’t come – or the ones that do won’t work. When I’m tired and worn out and the deadline is looming.
But crying won’t fix any of it. And besides, I signed a contract and spent the advance a long time ago, getting current on all my bills. So I can’t just send the publisher their money back. There’s nothing to do but put on my big girl pants and keep writing. And writing. And writing.
No, the crying I do actually comes when I press on and press through.
Sometimes the tears fall when I suddenly reconnect with the need for the book, the reason I wanted to write it in the first place. I’m sharing a story from my past to help my readers overcome theirs. I find myself going back to that moment in time. I feel the pain as deep as it was all those years ago, and the tears begin to flow.
And I remember why this is important.
Then I think about how far I’ve come, the things God has taught me, the healing He has done, and again the tears flow – this time tears of gratitude.
Then there are the tears that catch me by surprise. There I am, in the middle of trying to come up with the right word or phrase to use, the best illustration of a particular life-changing truth – and the power of that truth – the reality of that truth – hits me right between the eyes.
And I’m just weeping.
I’ve been spending most of my waking moments for the last three or four months thinking about, reading about, writing about the grace of God. His deep, deep love for us. His passionate pursuit of us. Just how much He forgives. How tenderly He heals and restores. These are truths I’ve known my whole life. But somehow they’ve become new again. Or maybe I’m old enough to appreciate them more.
Cue the tears.
Yesterday morning I got up really early and went for a walk on the beach. I was celebrating having finished the book – emailed it to my publisher last week! It was also my first official walk since I fractured my leg in February. So I was celebrating a lot of things.
I found myself crying again (good grief!) as I walked, listening to praise and worship on my iPod. So many of the Scriptures I’ve been thinking on and writing on for the past three months kept coming up in the lyrics to the songs.
As I was driving home, it was still early in the morning, so I had the windows down and it was breezy. I put in Cheri Keaggy’s latest worship album and turned it up loud. As I drove up the steep bridge to cross over the bay, it felt like I was climbing right into the clouds that dotted the bright blue sky.
Just then I heard:
O God of Love, what love we’ve known
Mercy keeps falling from Your throne
Still we are waiting for that trumpet blow
When You will come to call us home
There will be One day
When there will be no more tears to wipe away
There will be one day when there will be no more death to navigate
But until then we are Your children
Your Love cannot forsake
There will be one day…
There will be peace just like a river
Joy like we’ve never known
We all will be delivered when we get Home
© 2012 Cheri Keaggy, So I Can Tell, BMI Publishing, Inc.
And I cried again. Hard. This time they were the tears of a woman who is desperately homesick – longing, aching – and at the same time filled with almost indescribable hope and faith and joyous anticipation!
That’s what spending months writing a book about Jesus does for me… that’s where it takes me. Which is one reason why I keeping doing it.
But if I’m going to keep doing it, I really should own stock in Kleenex…