Some days—most days in fact—I remain so focused on the work at hand that I forget the great fortune I have. Sometimes it takes friends and colleagues to remind me.
Since third grade, I’ve known what I wanted to do. I wanted to make up stories. I wanted to write. That’s been my constant. That’s been my compass.
I had the great fortune to move around during my youth. The great fortune to come to the Chicago suburbs right before college. The great fortune to find my wife at college. The great fortune to get a job of dreams at a publishing company shortly after graduating.
Life moves fast, doesn’t it? Thirteen and a half years blink. When you’re counting the days off they don’t, but when you look back they sure do.
I was fortunate to meet so many wonderful people during my thirteen and a half years at Tyndale House Publishers. I was exceptionally fortunate to be published. And published again. And published again.
I try not to take this job for granted. I don’t. Not when people are unemployed and desperate. Not when people lose their livelihood because of tragedy or disaster. I’m paid to do something I love to do. Sometimes the pay isn’t as much as I’d like it to be, or it doesn’t come as soon as I need it, but still . . . I’m fortunate because I’m paid to do that very thing I wanted and dreamed of doing in third grade.
I always say and think this: we’re not promised tomorrow. I know and believe that. But I also know that I need to do as much as I can with the time I have left, whether it’s five years or fifty years.
Maybe that means being a better husband and father instead of being a better writer. Maybe that means letting some things go. I don’t know. I learn something new every day. Sometimes it’s surprising. Sometimes it hurts.
I’m fortunate to be reminded that I’m fortunate indeed. I do something I love and I hope and dream of getting really good at it. Not so I can grace the cover of Time magazine but rather so I can justify readers’ time and money spent on my work. These little bubbles of fear/love/joy/compassion/anger/bewilderment/faith/regret/happiness that simmer inside of me are able to go somewhere. I continue to hope that I can bottle them up in a way that means something to someone else.
But regardless of what comes tomorrow and what I might say or feel then, I feel fortunate tonight.
Labels: journey, on writing