I have just received the good word that InterVarsity Press, publishers of several of my books, will publish my new book sometime in the middle of next year. Following is a reflection on the writing!
AT WINDY RIDGE, AN AFTERWORD
Early on a July morning I was sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of an old mountain house in the hills of Virginia, coffee in hand.
It is a perfectly clear July morning, and a place of calm and quiet.
Across the old road a few cattle are grazing. Otherwise there was no sign of life, not even a car passing.
It is a contented moment. And I have a sense of completeness.
And with good reason. I am at the very end of my book The Voice of Our Calling, and my publisher InterVarsity Press is set to publish next year! So this is a moment of completion.
And Windy Ridge is a fitting place to be.
It was at another Virginia spot, Bell’s Ridge, a couple of hours north, that I literally “got off the fence” and started to write this book.
I was at a writers retreat at the Bellfry, a retreat house built by friends. After lunch one day, I strolled into the woods and sat on an old wooden fence. Suddenly the fence began to shake – and so did the ground around. It felt like an earthquake – and it was! An earthquake centered eighty miles away was shaking the state. I quickly dismounted!
For several years I had been pondering about writing this book, and always got stuck or diverted. So it seemed that God was shaking me a bit, saying “Time to get off the fence and start writing.” I did!
Now, several years later, I sit in the quiet of Windy Ridge with this sense of completeness.
The words of one of my favorite poems – May Sarton’s Now I Become Myself – come to me as I muse.
Sarton wrote of the years in which she had run madly, wearing other people’s faces, with a sense of the shortness of life. At last she came to a time when everything seemed to fuse together – her work and loves, her times, her face – all becoming part of a poem, made and rooted in love.
Remembering her words, I also recalled Paul’s writing that we are God’s “workmanship” – literally, his poiema, his poetry – prepared beforehand to be “our way of life.” (Ephesians 2:10).
As Charles William wrote, God is a poet, and the “lines of our lives” are the lines of his poetry.
It has been years since Sarton’s words first spoke to my own condition. I repeat them to myself with a sense of gratefulness.
For me they signal more than a sense of personal fulfillment. I add to them the other words of Paul, that we are “complete in Christ “ – receiving the gift of God’s fullness in him.
I think back to the years past – the times of being a storyteller (of His story), a friend (to His people), an artist (of His beauty) – and sense how they have fused together.
In these autumn years I discovered an affinity with the ancient Celts who had such a distinctive way of loving God and following Christ, through beauty and ballads, birds and other creatures, song and dance, water and hills. All of God’s gracious gifts were fused, pictured in the distinctive Celtic cords, where many strands were woven into one.
As I have written this I have also realized how the many voices I have heard have been gathered into One. The Voice of the Shepherd, who calls me by name.