Looking Forward, Looking Back

It’s a mystery how quickly the Christmas holiday fades. Here in NM, we often have a false spring in January; that’s part of it. But it’s more a matter of facing reality head-on again, whereas in December I’m looking at it sideways because I’m distracted by pretty things: decorations, lights, music, tamales. A Thomas Kincaid, painter of light vision of reality, heartening back to “simpler” times, or quiet times of the soul. Despite having to jump with both feet, face first into life last week, I’m still contemplating what this next year will bring.

If I had to review 2018, I would say it was a year of struggle, searching for a new path — God lifting the gates so I could move forward. I quit my stable job at the end of 2017, which explains the struggle. I despaired throughout much of 2018 as I tried to renew my freelance business(es). I needed to be at a point where I could turn away work, not accept it in the nick of time. Am I there? Yes, but not solely due to editing and book formatting because God has given me unexpected work in other areas.

Also, I published my book The Minaverse in 2018. The sales were…disappointing to say the least. So that is not included in my freelance work. Recently, a reader sent me a message, claiming my book is “brilliant” and needs to be made into a film. She clarified: the characterization and setting are brilliant (my two best skills are one, really, because setting is a character to me), but the visual comedy would translate to film well. Flying prosthetics, playing whack-a-mole with a baseball bat and androids, soccer players defying gravity. I had fun writing it, but have had a nearly impossible time convincing others to buy it, let alone read it. Heck, my asking for beta and free review reads was like pleading in a dark, soundless room where nobody could see or hear me. It has been a bizarre experience.

But now 2019 has arrived, and although I’m disappointed in my own performance — I’m still not done with the next book?? — my life is very full right now. I have nothing to complain about. I don’t need sales to keep me writing, though having readers would be an inspiration, like that moment after you’ve applied for a job and checked back numerous times, and the company finally calls you back. That’s what having readers feels like.

In my spare time lately, I listen to conversion videos on YouTube. These often involve apologetics, but not always. It’s fascinating to me why Christians turn wholeheartedly to Protestantism or Catholicism: converts tend to be the most ardent people. And yet, and yet…they are ardent for Jesus (that’s key) by going in opposing directions (or they assume they are moving down an opposing path). These two groups are like squabbling siblings, though, who have the same father. It’s my guess that complacency kills us inside, and that God is surprising us awake. I think God does want to surprise us. Not by going against his own nature, but by how he works in our lives. Last year didn’t go as I expected or hoped it would (I hardly had an expectation that I would sell a ton of books after not publishing for four years), but I’ve been surprised by many things.

Through all this contemplating the future, I’ve determined my word for 2019 is surprise. Funny, I know. Because that’s every year of life. We can predict the future, but we can’t foretell it. Not under normal circumstances, anyway.


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