If you’ve caught me wandering around town on one of my infrequent escapes from work or home, you might’ve noticed the dark crescents shadowing my eyes or the stringy weight of my unwashed hair. For most of the past year, I’ve been dragging myself out of bed before dawn to sit at my laptop and write a novel about three children who try to stop the emerald ash borer from destroying the world’s ash trees.
Forget January 1st, with its blustery, winter-bound resolutions. The New Year should commence on the day after Easter. What better time to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new than with the returning rays of light, the blossoming buds and the hope of the resurrection?
I thought I had it down, this stepping out of a place of security and learning to trust God. But apparently it’s not a lesson you pass once and then get to move onto the next subject. For me it’s a lesson to learn over and over. This was the discovery I made this week, when I went to renew my Passport.
When I opened the gold embossed cover, I discovered my 12-year-younger self, unlined forehead sweaty from the summer heat, eyes squinting anxiously at the camera. The photo was taken two weeks before I was scheduled to leave for East Africa with Ruth, the 2-year-old abandoned child who my husband and I hoped to adopt from a Ugandan orphanage.
I was terrified of traveling alone and didn’t want to go, but I knew that if I didn’t Ruth would likely spend the rest of her life in an orphanage. For Ruth I packed my bags and boarded a plane to the other side of the world, unsure of the outcome.
After a decade of working to write a memoir about how God changed our lives through our daughter, Ruth, it seemed that I had come to the end of everything. I had already done everything in my power to see it published and could do no more. My best efforts to find a publisher who shared my family’s vision of helping other children through Ruth’s story had failed. Miserably.
Last week I realized with sadness that it was finally time to throw away a favorite mug. “Pause if you must,” said the bold black words beneath the badly cracked rim, “but don’t stop believing.” That mug – a gift to myself three years ago – had gotten me through the not-so-best and worst of times, always by my side.