Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'll be waiting

Our homeschool officially started...and then took a three hour skimboarding break in the middle of the day. This is one of the reasons we love homeschool. When the day is a perfect, low humidity, 83 degree, blue sky, sunshiney day; and a friend knocks on the door and tells us there is a creek with a stretch of sand along the edge that might work for skimboarding....the student can mark her place in her history book and just go. Since the math and spanish books don't even arrive for another week, school is light the first couple of weeks anyway. And we are both pooped from the early mornings and long days of the Dog Agility trial this weekend. It was nice to start our school year, so that we don't fear the enormity of the task before us so much, but it was also nice to slip in and out of it.

And then the mail came and Comer's book arrived! For those unfortunate few of you who don't follow my blog with the fervor of a rabid fox, Comer is my 93 year old friend who lives with his wife, who has Alzheimers, in an assisted living home. When he wistfully told me he wrote poetry and always thought one day he would do something with all those poems, I collected them, compiled them, edited them, and published his book of poetry. The proof now lay in my hands.  I was not happy with my editing skills. I had missed a typo, and the spacing between the poems was not regular. It is only a proof, but I had hoped it would be perfect, since at age 93, Comer may not have long for me to perfect my editing talent.  But it was a bona fide book with a black and white photo of him as a young man on the cover. I called him immediately.

"Comer! It's Vicky!"
"Hiyeee," he said, the same curious intonation with which he always greets me, "How're you?"
"I'm fine, how are your eyes? Recovering ok from the cataract surgery?"
"Well, I see much better, but they hurt, especially at night."
"Oh? Have you talked with the doctor about that?"
"Well, I'm sure it is just part of the healing process."
"Well, I have your book! It came today! Would you like me to bring it and take you and Evelyn to lunch tomorrow?"
"I'd love you to bring it, but I don't think I am up for our usual lunch. I have been feeling a mite woozy."

This concerned me. Comer had not felt like going out for the past three weeks now. He used to look forward to our outings as the highlight of his week. How I wish the proof were a better sample with perfect spacing! I have discovered that editing is one of those jobs that is never over. There is always a better word, or a better sentence construction, or a more apt phrase. At some point, editors just have to say, "This is good enough." I don't think perfection will ever enter the editor's world. And when one is 93 years old, good enough might have to arrive sooner rather than later.

I thought of how the universe itself is waiting in expectation, knowing perfection is possible, but not yet arrived. In the book of James, the Bible author describes how the farmer waits for the valuable crop, knowing it will come, it will be ready for the harvest one day, and he will bring in the wealth of his time and energy rewarded. We are the crop, I thought, and God the harvester...patiently waiting till we reached the fullness of growth, the fruitful abundance of faith.

"It's not perfect," I warned Comer, "And it is no problem resubmitting it if you want me to. But I will bring it tomorrow around 11."
"Thank you so much," he said, his voice a little weaker than I like, "I'll be waiting."
Yes, dear friend, please be waiting!

James 5:7

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.

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