Monday, 14 January 2013

Clothes, Simplicity and Prioritising

Over the weekend we tidied up our bedroom. On moving our big king size bed, my husband complained at how heavy it seemed. I couldn't understand it thinking it just full of sheets and pillowcases, however, that turned out not to be the case. Instead we uncovered a complete two large draws of clothes we and the children hadn't worn in some time. I know that because some of the children's clothes wouldn't fit a child older than 5 and my youngest is now 21. It doesn't take long to do the arithmetic and discover that these clothes must have lain there untouched for around 15 years which is longer than we've been in this house!! Obviously we never felt their lack. It made me think though, it's so easy to let our gifts and talents lay dormant so long that they become covered in dust and rendered virtually useless, forgotten by the world and forgotten by us. We had a good clear out and now have produced two large bags one for recycling and one for charity. What a shame to think that these clothes had lain there untouched for so long when others could have been having the use of them. A good clear out is also the time to prioritise what is really important to us at the start of the year. I'm indebted to an article by Joanne Borrill in the February edition of Writer's News magazine for these thoughts  Joanne says time is precious and we all have the same 24 hours in each day whether we're Leonardo da Vinci or Mother Teresa. By the end of this year 2013 we will probably find that we have filled our year with the things we have considered important to us. This is a challenge to me. How important is writing to me and how many other things do I let fill my time instead? Even emails, facebook and Twitter can be blamed here. Good to keep in touch with others but not at the cost of leaving those gifts and talents to lie gathering dust!

Friday, 4 January 2013

The Gate of the Year

"And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: 'give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown' And he replied: 'go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way'. So I went forth, and finding the hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of the day in the lone East."
(Extract from 'God knows' by Minnie Louise Haskins)

This particular well-known poem was quoted by King George VI in his Christmas broadcast in 1939 after the verse was handed to him by the young princess Elizabeth, our current queen. It must have been inspiring for the people then in the first year of a world war they didn't know when would end or what might happen along the way. It can still be an inspiration for us now at the start of a new year when we are unclear of direction or the way ahead.

I found myself quoting this verse to another friend searching for guidance in her life, later realising that it was also wholly appropriate for me. I hope to make this year a new incentive for my writing, writing more frequently and with more intensity and purpose. However, there have already been disappointments and set backs along the way before the year has hardly begun. I have been a member of the Romantic Novelists Association now for two years. Not only is it a forum of help, advice and friendship but even more importantly a chance to have your 'work in progress' novel proof read by professionals. Now, due to my own lateness and disorganisation, I missed the deadline to reapply and consequently have lost my place for a year. How disheartening in a year when I had hoped to take my writing more seriously.  But events can overtake us both because of our own and because of others faults or in-attentions etc But like those people in 1939, I/we must not lose heart but instead put our hand into God's hand and go forwards and upward into the light of the breaking dawn.

A very Happy New Year to all my readers and fellow writers. I trust that God may richly bless and keep you in 2013.