I was going to write another peppy post about what was great about last year and what I’m looking forward to this year...
It wouldn’t be very authentic. Because I’m struggling. With health, with hope, with knowing what to do in ANY AREA of my life. I feel lost, floating in a dark place; I don’t know where I am, how big this place is, how to get out...
Yeah, it’s winter and I’ve got SAD. Today started out sunny, but I live in one of the cloudiest places in America (#5 on this list). It’s also one of the poorest places (see this article). My town is full of seedy bars and vacant storefronts and people leaving because rent is too high. Everything around me is gray. Seriously—two houses across the street got repainted lately: one from pale beige to slate gray, and one from off-white to deep charcoal. (I call it the Poe House in my mind, and the two dogs that live there are Edgar and Allan...since those people aren’t the friendliest and I don’t know their or their dogs’ real names.)
The street is gray, the sky is gray, the dirty snow is gray. I’m pretty sure there’s a line like that in my work-in-progress (WIP), the sequel to Hunter’s Moon.
Well, if you’re wondering, the WIP is almost 64,000 words long now. I’m aiming for about 100k words, so that’s 64%. I took a week or so off from writing when I had C*VID (over Christmas; I spent most of that day alone in bed, dozing in the dark). But I’m back at it, plugging away 5 nights/week. Sometimes I can only get out 100 words, but a whole lot of 100s will add up to something, unlike a whole lot of zeros.
I know there’s still hope and that something good will eventually happen to me. God takes care of His children. I’m doing the things I know how to do in order to try and get good results. But I always think I’m missing something, some crucial piece of information about how to operate in the world. It always feels like there’s something else I should know, but I just don’t. Because I’m life-stupid. I may have made straight A’s, but book smarts don’t really help in the real world.
(Sometimes they do, but not usually.)
Everyone says “Work smarter, not harder.” I’ve been working really, really hard (I’m exhausted) but I’m trying to figure out what “work smarter” involves. Last month I attended a webinar, which got me one tiny bit of helpful information, which led me to make a purchase that a friend (who’s in the know) told me would be a great investment. And I’m trying to use the product to “work smarter.” I’m also trying to build up new revenue streams like all the marketers have told me to do. How long is it supposed to take? Maybe I just have an impatience problem.
Oscar isn’t the most patient person either, but he’s been very kind to me, putting up with me being nothing but a financial burden. For, like, pretty much our whole marriage. The only time I was actually earning money consistently was when I worked in customer service (at minimum wage), which was driving me to the edge of killing myself or someone else. Then I was freelance editing, but almost no one wants to hire for quality these days; they want cheap, cheap, cheap. It seems that money-making and I are somehow incompatible. Oil and water. It avoids me like the plague, won’t answer my calls...
And then I think of all the people who really have money problems, like the ones interviewed (and followed for 5 years) in David Shipler’s book The Working Poor, which I just finished reading on New Year’s Eve. Holy cow, everyone in America needs to read that book and read it NOW. I’m not joking. Go read it!! So good I bought myself a copy.
I wish I could make that link into an affiliate link. But I’m not allowed to use them on my personal website. Affiliate marketing and the Redbubble store are the passive income streams I’m trying to cultivate. I don’t have time to do much more than I’m already doing, with my dodgy health and low energy, so passive income would be a huge help.
Hey, if you know anyone who’d like to receive fantasy/sci-fi book recommendations twice a month, having them sign up for Thinklings’ free newsletter would help me a lot!
Shipler’s book gives real-life examples of how people in desperate circumstances managed to get by, and all of them involved family, friends, churches, and communities helping out. Bearing one another’s burdens. That’s (part of) what we’re here to do. I would be in a desperate situation if it weren’t for family, friends, and church helping me, and the Lord providing a wonderful husband. My family’s not rich—no inheritances or trust funds for us—but my mom’s mom (Granny B) left a rich legacy of love and forgiveness. She forgave someone who did something devastating to her, that put her in true poverty growing up, and she not only forgave them but went the extra mile for them in a selfless, sacrificial act that will be talked about for generations to come. That’s the richness I’ve inherited, and I do NOT take it for granted.
For some reason I keep thinking about my granny lately—I don’t remember her because she died of cancer before I turned three, but I feel like I know her a little through my mom, who’s like her. I want to be like her too. I wonder if she can see me, if she’s proud of me. What advice she’d give me, what comfort and encouragement.
Dangit, now I’m crying. I think this whole world is crying, and all of creation’s groaning has been getting much louder. I, for one, more than eagerly await its renewal.
I’d better not make this post much longer. I need to play with my new “toy” and try to make the investment pay off. And to eat and pray. For wisdom, for strength.
The non-fiction book I’m currently reading is another I would highly, unreservedly recommend. It’s called Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund. It’s about Jesus’ heart and it’s so beautiful. I got it for Christmas, just finished chapter 3, underlining a lot, reading a few pages at a time, because I need to absorb it very deeply, slowly. I don’t rush through books anyway, but especially not this one. And I’ll definitely reread it down the road.
...Which I will keep walking down, even if it’s pitch-dark. Because I am not alone. And I am also here to help, not just be helped. And I finally found what I really want to do to help. I just wish I didn’t suck so much at it. But didn’t some famous person say that we all start out sucking at [whatever pursuit]? Just got to keep trying and not give up.
But most importantly, I want to have a heart like my granny’s, a heart like Jesus’.
Sarah Awa lives in Ohio with two hairy guys and writes books about werewolves.