Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Writing Your Own Ending as You Hope it Will Be

That happy me is 3 1/2 weeks post-mastectomy out in my kayak for the first time since surgery. I went really slowly, and stayed close to the dock, but it felt wonderful. Well, there were sudden sharp twinges if I stroked too hard, but I quickly figured out I had to do shallow, small strokes with the paddle and then all was well.

Still, my shoulders ached after only half an hour, and I knew it was best to ease slowly back into kayaking. The doctor had mentioned it might not be easy since the muscle used in reconstructing the breast was the very muscle used in kayaking. I found the pectoral muscle not so much to be the problem as my shoulder muscles, which must have atrophied in the four weeks since I last used them much.

On the way home from kayaking, I passed my favorite greenway, so stopped to go for a short walk in the shady forested path. As I walked, I felt about as happy as I have ever been. Nature, fresh air, sunshine all have a way of chasing even the most troublesome concerns away. Instead of worrying about all the uncertainties of tomorrow, I found myself thanking God for the sun dappled leaves, the shade cast from the beautiful trees, the strength of my body despite all the trauma it has had to endure lately. There is always cause for rejoicing in the Lord.

This recovery is a nice life. I have doctors' orders to exercise, eat really healthy food, and rest, while reducing stress. And I'm not supposed to vacuum for six weeks. Can you think of a better recipe for happiness?

When I got home, I wrote 3,000 more words on my new novel, making myself tear up with what the heroine is about to undergo. Then I heard from one of the mamas I work with who chose life over abortion. Like most of the mamas I counsel, her background is riddled with trauma and despair. Yet she told me she and the baby's father are reconciling, and they are both going to church every weekend! They both eagerly await the baby's imminent birth. She is a talented writer, and I encouraged her again to write a book about her experience. Her transformation from despair to hope could inspire many.

She thanked me for believing in her but said she couldn't write it, "Until I know how it will end."
"It won't end till we are in heaven with Jesus, and then it will be too late. Write it now," I advised, "In fact, write it with the ending you hope for. See how close the real ending comes."

I did that with my first book about our rescue dog, Honeybun. I actually wrote the ending of that true story before the ending happened in real life. I wrote what I thought would be the perfect though improbable ending. Guess what? It happened almost exactly as I wrote it. I didn't have to revise much of my make-believe ending at all!

Now don't think I am saying that I can change events like God can. What I am saying is that optimism, hope, and planning for a certain outcome can very often bring you closer to the future you envision. God must be in the center of those plans, but if your will aligns with His, and you have a goal, and steer towards that goal, it is much more likely you will hit it than if you have no clear finish line or plan.

Here's a Biblical example. David was a young shepherd when he came upon his brothers and fellow Israelites cowering in the face of the Philistine giant, Goliath. Instantly, David forged a plan based on what he knew of God. He didn't let fear, the counsel of naysayers, youth, or inexperience alter what he was certain should be the course of action. He envisioned the outcome. And then he did it.

It ended just as he hoped. Goliath was defeated, and God was glorified.

1 Samuel 17: 32-37
And David said to Saul, “Let no man's heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”