Friday, August 12, 2011

Time Won't Wait

Comer didn't feel up to our weekly drive. At age 93, he had just had cataract surgery, and his vision was still blurry, his eyes still puffy.
"I don't believe I could go out in the sun," he said.
"Well then I will just drop by and pick up your editing of your poems. Did you finish?"
"Oh yes, I read through them twice, and I believe I have caught all the little mistakes."
"Then I will be there in a few minutes and pick them up, if that's ok."

I hurried off to the Senior Assisted Living Center. I had spent the week before typing the poems from Comer's yellowing stash of carefully folded scraps of paper. While Comer reviewed and proofed the typed pages, Asherel helped me develop a cover page for the book we were helping our old friend publish. She spent half a day on it, not satisfied with her initial copy.
"That looks fine to me," I said, and it did. It looked beautiful, and far superior to what I could have done.

"No, it will be pixely.... I can make it better." And she started all over.

Meanwhile, I watched the clock. At age 93, you can't take any minute for granted. I had to order the proof, allow about a week of shipping time, and then, finally this sweet old friend's dream would be in his hands. But a week...
"Please hurry," I urged Asherel, "I am anxious that Comer reach this goal in his lifetime."

I picked up the poems from Comer and he handed me a neatly written piece of paper with all the information I needed to set up his account with the publishing company. As soon as I had ordered the proof and the set- up was done, I would transfer the account to be managed by his daughter.

Comer looked weary, with his puffy eyes. The cataract surgery had not been bad, he told me, but the blurry vision in one eye concerned him.The whole ordeal seemed to have knocked him out.
"That's very common," I assured him, "It will get better."
"That's what they tell me," he said.
He walked me to the door.
"What did you think of your poetry," I asked, "Having reread all your work now?"
"I don't know where it came from," he answered.
"Where did it come from?" I asked.
"From somewhere in the night," he said, "I tried thinking of some verses lying in bed last night, and not a one came to me."
"Well, you're out of practice," I said, "Keep trying. Then we will add an addendum to your book."

However, I know what he is talking about. When I dare to enter the dark spooky attic where piles of my old paintings are stored, I sometimes look at them and think, "Who was this person who painted these...and how did she do it?" Creativity is such an elusive quality. It does not spring forth out of rationality, though it is not irrational either, or it is not good. But like faith, it requires a leap.  I understood how at age 93, that leap might be over just too great a chasm for weary legs.

This morning, the files I submitted for Comer's book were accepted and I ordered the proof. The clock is ticking loudly as we settle back now to wait.

Jeremiah 21:2
Perhaps the LORD will perform wonders for us as in times past

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