'Small Acts of Kindness and Love'
My first inclination would be to blurt out a long apologetic explanation for why I have not been on Fullness of Joy in over a month. But that would make for a long and tedious post for my dear friends to read, and since we all know that abstaining from blogging usually means some great deal of busy-ness or lack of time, that's not what I am going to do. I will say though that you may expect that I will be a lot less active on blogger throughout the year than I was last year. When schoolwork beckons, all I can--and should- do is gird my loins and follow, even if it means that you won't see me here quite as often as I would like. All that saying, I do have quite a few post-ideas up my sleeves, and have been working on several posts within the last couple of weeks; alas that all of them, it seems, are determined to give me a hard time. I pray your pardon! Knowing you to be possessing the great virtue of patience, I can only hope I shall not tax that virtue beyond endurance and shall do my best to get them posted in the not-to-distant future.
In the meantime, I have little by way of report concerning A Love that Never Fails since in the weeks and now months since the finish of National November Writing Month, I have hardly done any writing at all. Of course, one can easily contribute it to the Christmas Advent and rush of holiday festivities which have only now finally worn off. That in and of itself has been discouraging to me, because I really, really want to write this story! Yet I have to admit that alongside with the natural struggle to find the plot, choosing the right POV and determining other important facets to A Love that Never Fails, I have lately gone through struggles and doubts with this story. A Love that Never Fails as a novel has not attacked me with that same flaming love as The Crown of Life has done to me in the past. Perhaps I am being nostalgic, and like an old woman reminiscing about old times, can only recall the thrilling/exciting memories of starting out a new novel, and not the bad ones. Starting out a new novel that is not written on the whim of sudden inspiration is a painful, agonizing job to be sure! And frankly, quite terrifying. I realize though, that my current lack of plot and outline for i.e. which I have been bewailing rather fiercely is not the biggest personal obstacle to getting into this story and writing it. It has rather been the apparent simplicity and straightforwardness of the tale and absence of deep themes and intriguing paradoxes in the events and characters that have been the subjects to haunt my faith in this story, making me believe the story is not really that touching or inspiring as it could be. For a while, it has seemed to me that the theme has stopped touching me as it used to when I wrote the short story a year back, the characters seem a lot simpler and not really built on the struggles I'm currently going through at this time of my life. It is, to be sure, amazing how the struggles of life can affect one's writing and vision for the task at hand!
But then, as I was thinking/praying and writing in my journal about it this morning, I realized something really quite exciting about this 'simple' story, A Love that Never Fails and in the whole idea of "simple things". The thing is this. Those great themes and depth of emotions in stories that inspire our hearts so, are not built on the foundation of intrigue, epic battles, villainous characters and heart-wrenching romance etc, etc. If it were so, then for sure more than half the novels written in the world would be the sort worth reading! But in truth, a great deal of the time, the things of depth and beauty and real inspiration in life and in stories can be found just as much (if not more so) through the simple aspects and things of life. Often we stare at the majestic and powerful stuff, and think they are the big deal, when in reality what is REALLY important will be found in the disguise of small, simple things, events and people and in the faithfulness and loving service of those who are not in the world's point-of-view great and wise and strong. There's that scene in The Hobbit movie wherein Gandalf speaks with Lady Galadriel, and in speaking about Bilbo, he says this:
"Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay... small acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf
'Small acts of kindness and love'. Perhaps, in a way, that's what A Love that Never Fails is really all about. True, unconditional love that shines quietly in the simple, every day things of life, softly touching hearts and lives and changing them forever. Just because this story is not made up of sword-fights, catastrophes, exiles, betrayals and arenas etc, etc, does not mean it does not have the power to touch and inspire; on the contrary... these are perhaps the real things after all. When one thinks on it, the themes of faith and true love, in the throws of a horrific world war that was shattering people's lives and hopes and dreams, is by no means that simple! Yes, to write a good novel, one needs drama and action--and with God's help I hope to explore and find those aspects in A Love that Never Fails. Nevertheless, I think what the Lord is trying to show me and teach me through this journey of writing this new book, is not to despise simple things and simple beginnings, and to remember always that love never fails.
Through this lens, I am starting to realize just how much the characters and themes in this story can be and are relevant and real to the things I am going through in my life and hopefully in other people's lives too. Besides the initial obstacles of beginning a novel, I am now really excited to see where A Love that Never Fails will go and see this 'simple' story come alive! And as I seek the Lord with this story--in fact in all stories-- I long with all my heart that I would not rely on my wisdom or ideas or notions, but in Him and in the things He wants me to impart into what I write. Because in His Hand, our childish scrawls, these broken earthen vessels... the stories of our hearts, will become something infinitely beautiful and precious, and I pray, be for His glory.