Saturday, May 26, 2012
DEVOTION: The Birth of a Baby by Shirley Corder
This meditation is two days late. Yet, perhaps this is good—because today is celebrated throughout the world as Pentecost Sunday, the day we remember the Lord sending His Holy Spirit to dwell among us. By many, this is regarded as the day when The Church was born.
Until the first Pentecost, The Church was a small group of people who had known Jesus during His life time. How small? Well, small enough to be “all together in one place”. (Acts 2:1 NIV) They had been through a turbulent time, climaxing in the crucifixion and then resurrection of their leader. Then, at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon them—and they were never the same again. By the end of the day, there were 3,000 of them. The Church was born.
Pentecost Sunday has another significance for me. On this day, 37 years ago, I gave birth to a baby boy. Because of a turbulent pregnancy, it was with much relief that my husband and I looked upon this perfect baby and gave thanks to our Lord for his safe arrival. Our congregation nicknamed him Baby Pentecost, and life for us would never be the same again.
We knew that one day, we would have to let this baby go his own way into the world, but that seemed so far away. For now, he was ours to have and to hold, to nurture and to mould. Over the next years, we did all we could to guide and direct this little chap to becoming what he is today: A mature adult with a faith and family of his own.
The road wasn’t always easy. Parenting isn’t for sissies. But the day came when we knew we had done all we could. It was time for our baby to leave the parental nest and set out on his own.
Writing is like parenting in many ways. We struggle through a pregnancy, where the book or story idea is taking shape. We have good days, when the words and ideas flow. And we have not-so-good days when we battle to write one sensible sentence. But still it grows. One day, that book reaches maturity, and it’s time to make plans for its future. Whether we find an enthusiastic publisher, or whether we opt for self-publishing or any of the other alternatives today, it’s time for our baby to leave home.
My book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer has been just such an experience. It had a long pregnancy—several years. I knew without doubt that one day I would write this book. I even had a working title, Rise and Soar above the Cancer Valley. I wrote the odd devotional article with it in mind. But it wasn’t yet time to give it birth.
Over two years ago, I knew the time had come, and I started to write the book based on my own experiences in the Cancer Valley. Sometimes the thoughts came faster than I could write them. Other times I wondered why on earth I thought I could do this. It seems fitting to this analogy of pregnancy that after 90 short devotional chapters, the book was complete. It was grownup, although it needed a lot of editing and pruning before it would be ready to leave the author nest.
That time has now come. My baby has moved on to a new home, Baker Publishing. I couldn’t take it back now even if I wanted to. Already, it has to fend for itself in the world of printing and final steps to publication. There is nothing more I can change to improve it. In a few short months, Strength Renewed will be out there in full public view. And that’s scary. What if it lets me down? Behaves badly in public? Fails to achieve?
Well, as a parent, I had to stand back and trust that the principals and disciplines we’d instilled in our son would be sufficient to help him become a responsible husband and parent and hold down a good job.
In the same way, I have done my best for my book. It is now time to step back and allow it freedom. But it’s still not easy.
How about you? How easy do you find it to let go of a finished article or book, and send it into the big wide world of readers and critics? Do you have any advice for writers in my situation, as our grown-up baby leaves the nest forever?
SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer is available for pre-order at discount price at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble (B&N.com). She is also contributing author to ten books to date. You can contact Shirley through her writing website, her Rise and Soar cancer site, or follow her on Twitter or FaceBook.