Monday, November 24, 2008

A World of Difference

This morning as I drank my coffee I saw on a morning news show that a farming couple in Colorado decided to allow the locals to gather what onions and potatoes were left after they harvested their crops. The couple thought, possibly, thousand people would show up. Forty-three thousand was the end result. As I watched this spot, I was moved. What could I do?. I mean if I lived in Colorado instead of Georgia, I would have been in line for the free veggies. Times are tough for many families this year. What is tough? I asked this question of myself? I looked around my home. I had everything I needed. NO, I don't have a flat screen TV. I don't even have dish or cable. I made a choice two years ago to follow my dream of writing full time. This required an adjusted budget. No more eating out two and three times a week. Not as many raids on the bookstore :). But, what have I gained in this endeavor?

Ah, I have a completed novel that is now sitting with my agent. I have a slower more productive lifestyle. I take the time to listen to others. I've published many short stories and personal essays. I'm no longer beating my head against a glass ceiling that will never break. Instead, my worth is measured by something much bigger than mere money. I'm living a life of art, creativity, and peace. Gees, what kind of price tag can one put on this?

What has this change done for my family? Have they been hurt from the lack of material things flowing through our door? I'm here everyday when my nine year old comes home from school. She gets my attention and help with homework. My husband comes home in the evening to conversation about writing, family, and such. In my previous life, any given night was a blur of conflict and aggravation. Just this summer my granddaughter was born nine weeks early. She now spends her days here with me as I write each morning, so her mommy can go back to being a chef.

In Christine Baldwin's book, Storycatcher, she says: "Every person is born into life as a blank page--and every person leaves life a full book." We are the writers of our lives.

The farming couple in Colorado chose to write a new chapter when they allowed others to come into their fields to gather what would otherwise have rotted. I chose to give up what the world thought of me for a more inspiring life. In these choices people are changed. No, I haven't touched forty-three thousand people, but I seek to make a difference. We leave our mark on every day with our choices. I'm glad I'm awake and aware of the designs I'm leaving behind.

What chapter of your life is waiting to be written?

1 comment:

Dawn said...

Hi Ann,
My first reaction was another WalMart style stampede! But I'm so glad it didn't turn out that way. It sounds like Boaz and Ruth gleaning in the fields. And I so appreciated the quote about starting as a blank page and ending as a book. Everyone's books should be published, by the way. :)

As for what we can do.... I haven't found a way to contribute with my writing. But there are tons of charities for humans and animals that benefit from needlework skills -- quilting, crocheting, knitting....

Of course one way to use writing to help others -- maybe not feed them -- but to feed their hearts perhaps is to write letters, notes, personal messages even to complete strangers. Or maybe a penpal in a nursing home?

Thanks for giving me much to think about this morning as I sip my coffee.