Every Sunday I write a letter to my son, a missionary in Taiwan. This past Sunday, being New Year’s Day, I wrote the letter same as always. I mentioned Nathan’s creation of his music video to the Veggie-Tale’s Cheeseburger Song (which is hysterically funny) but then I yammered on about a disappointing real estate deal which I followed up with a long and boring paragraph on marketing my novel.
That same day, my sister-in-law sent out an e-mail describing all the fun and happy ways their family had celebrated the holidays. Here’s the painful thing—our family had also done more than our fair share of celebrating. We went to the beach, built a bonfire, and roasted hotdogs and marshmallows while the sun set. We sent our children on an elaborate scavenger hunt where they had to sing to strangers, recite the Gettysburg Address and build boats and set them sailing in Rancho’s lake. We played games until our minds turned to mush. We threw firecrackers and lit sparklers. Made and ate sushi. Toasted each other with sparkling cider. Walked every morning in the canyon—a parade of Tate’s--dog, babies, teenagers and grownups. I should have written to Jared about all these things, but I didn’t. Because at the moment when I sat down to write—they weren’t on my mind.
What was I thinking about? The real estate transaction turned sour. The fact that a friend from my writer’s group has sold tens of thousands of her self-published novels in the last seven months compared to my hundreds. Here’s a couple of excerpts from my letter:
About the condo: We’re feeling a little like nothing ever happens despite our best efforts—which might be for the best in the long run, but it’s certainly boring.
About my book: I’m learning marketing and strategy and it’s all very fun if not very profitable…but maybe that’s not the point. If it was, I’m sure I’d be very frustrated with that look at all I do, look at all my effort, and very little happens in return feeling.
Discouragement seeps through my letter and it’s so ridiculous because those disappointments are so heavily outweighed by all the love and laughter of our holiday.Reading Rebecca’s letter reminded me that by not writing down, by not remembering the wonderful things that happen—it’s like they never did. The beach at sunset, the games and laughter, the sparklers in the night sky—those are the realities to be remembered.
Real estate investments, books sales—those are nothing but a numbers game dependent on good fortune and chance and I’d have to have a mind of mush to consider them more important than marshmallows, sparklers and the beach at sunset.