The Holy Spirit sometimes whispers, sometimes it shoves.
Tuesday, I wanted to go to confession. It had been a while and I'd kept trying to go and found myself thwarted. Today I announced this was my goal for the day. Just as I was walking out the door, keys in hand, the phone rang. It was a friend, and not just a friend, a good friend who liked to visit and with whom I needed to catch up. I fretted that I would miss my opportunity to make it during confessional hours. I told her I would call right back. Driving to the church, I parked and called my friend to continued our visit. Seeing the people pouring out of the mass, I willed myself to listen to my friend, telling myself, it would work out, I needed to be present to my friend and this was important.
A bit about my friend, she's very special, and one of her daughters has a rare condition that requires tremendous vigilance.
For the past several years, I have tried to tell this friend's story, to pitch it to a magazine because I thought her years of sacrifice would be a lumious experience for others to read. I researched which magazines. I'd interviewed her. I'd written most of it because the story arc was so compelling. There were even flourishes and pretty turns of phrase that I thought revealed her humor and beauty and courage all in one quick exchange. In short, I felt very pleased with the article and now it was simply a matter of shopping it around. I was certain there was a market for her story.
Crickets. Chirp.Chirp. Chirp. I felt frustrated. But there was a reason this story wasn't yet being told. It was not mine to tell.
Recently, she took up writing. Her story is being asked for by businesses that provide the sort of equipment her daughter needs to manage her condition. Her blog has taken off with such speed that it is startling. In talking with her over the phone, I mentioned that the problem had always been, the wrong person was telling the story. We both laughed. It was true. I sat in the church parking lot talking to her over the phone recognizing that the part of me that was a "writer" and a "professional" had been attempting without realizing it, to use a friend.
Fortunately, she's a great friend and she promised to use me right back. We talked about how the Holy Spirit pushes us and how she'd kept getting smacked by opportunities to write, by invitations to write, by editors who offered to help, and she was slowly discovering that she needed to tell this story.
We talked shop about writing and I gave her some of my favorite websites for editing, queries, craft. She'd been on call at the Hospital as an "expert" on the disease her daughter has, and been the go to person to learn what to do and how to do it. In pointing her towards the sites, I was providing the expertise that she needed to consult just as she had for new parents.
The Holy Spirit uses us to do what God wills no matter how much we fight. Listening to her talk, I felt the miles of distance between us fall away and I realized how much I missed my friend and how important it was that she tell the story of her daughter's struggle. Her experience was all the authority needed. Her words would carry stronger meaning than any pretty phrase I might compose.
By the time we finished speaking, I felt rejuvinated with respect to multiple projects that loomed and grateful I'd been unable to sell the piece I'd written. Good friends can be like a sacrament, a bit of bread for the journey, that make the traveling and the work possible and even joyful. When we finished, I even managed to get to confession. All in all, a great day, a small success.
I tell all of this as a means of illustrating that frustration with making something work, can be a form of grace, of the Holy Spirit keeping the best wine for last.
So if this week, you've been frustrated with the process of whatever it is that you are seeking to accomplish, (for me, budgets, pounds, organization, editing, writing and housework come to mind), take a deep breath, call a good friend and trust, with the Holy Spirit, great things can happen, in God's time, in God's way.
With that, these were my small successes for the week:
1) I made some phone calls and began the structuring of the Fall Festival for the school.
2) managed to make it to confession.
3) celebrated my son's 13th birthday.
4) feasted with my brother's family on Saturday and he taught me some guitar chords.
5) stayed up wayyyy too late reading and finishing The Memory Keeper's Daughter.
6) was asked for a reprint of an article by Island Park News
7) Submitted my book to the publishing company that had expressed an interest.
P.S. For those curious, my friend's blog is http://confessionsofasleepdeprivedmomma.blogspot.com/. Go say "Hi!"
Now it's your turn!
Leave your list on your blog and list your blog in the comments or leave your small successes in the comment section itself and thanks for being part of Small Success Thursday!
Copyright 2012 Sherry Antonetti