Sorry it's been so long since I last wrote you. I'd give the usual excuses, about a new job and a move and a brief alien abduction, etc, but the truth is simply that I've made other things a priority. Yes, some of those things are important, like my new job and our new place and fighting my way free of the gladiatorial slave pits of Gromlan X. But I still look at the date on my last letter and cringe.
You remember that song, "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" by Cinderella? I've been thinking about that a lot lately, as I find myself struggling with a bunch of stuff I want to write, and only ten to fifteen hours a week with which to write it.
Three reasons I love this song:
- I really appreciate the intentionally bad grammar of "you got" instead of "you've got."
- I really appreciate an all male rock band naming themselves after a domestically abused princess.
- How awesome would it be to play piano on a beach wearing a woman's nightgown?
Also, it does not apply to me. That is to say, I did know what I got (till it's gone). I had forty hours a week to spend in front of my computer and my notebook last year, writing stories and columns and letters and book reviews and documentary reviews and books. And I loved almost every minute of it, even those times when I was frustrated beyond belief because the words wouldn't come, even when the words that did come turned into crappy stories that no one bought or read. I did what I loved, and I treasured it. Because I knew that at the end of the year it would be over.
This is an old, familiar story with old, familiar conflicts - conflicts of money and love and time. No one ever seems to have enough of them. That's why old stories always end the same way, with two rich people getting married and living happily ever after. (Cinderella, of all bands/princesses, should understand that.) They go off into the distance with as much money, love, and time as they could ever want.
I know in my heart that God will always provide enough love. And I know in my head that God will always provide enough money. But time is in short supply, and always will be in this life. For we are a mist that appears for a little while, and then vanishes, as James tells us.
There's a book I read a few weeks ago by Thomas Merton called No Man is an Island. Great book, if you ever get a chance to read it. At one point, Merton is talking about humility, and what it means to be a humble person, what it means to know one's place in relation to God. Here's what he says:
One of the chief obstacles to this perfection of selfless charity is the selfish anxiety to get the most out of everything, to be a brilliant success in our own eyes and in the eyes of other men. We can only get rid of this anxiety by being content to miss something in almost everything we do. We cannot master everything, taste everything, understand everything, drain every experience to its last dregs. But if we have the courage to let almost everything else go, we will probably be able to retain the one thing necessary for us--whatever it may be. If we are too eager to have everything, we will almost certainly miss even the one thing we need.
There is nothing that will destroy the value of your time like the fear that you're not spending it wisely. This is a truth that I find myself learning, day by day, as I work and pray and read and relax and socialize...and write a little. Someday I hope to spend more time writing, before the cares of this world blow away in the breeze. But until then, I'll use what time I have, and send you letters when I can.
Love you always
Jordan Jeffers writes letters to his mother on the Internet because stamps are a form of witchcraft. He is currently hard at work on a new book, The Nothing Sword, and a half-dozen other things.