The following is an excerpt from the novel that I began writing fast and furiously as the words and story came to me in June 2010. Little did I know when I was writing down the words, all throughout the next several months, day and night, that this story that I thought was loosely based on family lore was really much much more. When I finally stopped writing sometime in the fall of 2010 and began to read back my own words, I was in shock. The hundreds of pages that I had written were not just a fictional account loosely based on stories I had heard growing up in East Tennessee…but the words were a message TO me. A message that I AM strong. That God IS with me. That LOVE overcomes everything and no matter how lost we might become, with God’s help and guidance, we will find our way back home.
This is the beginning of my novel. I hope to post excerpts here…the reason is two-fold. I want to finish what was started. I have put this story aside for a long time now because the original version was a message meant for me. Now I hope to re-read and re-write the words so that my novel will also be a message for you. My message is not anger or pain or confusion or frustration. My message is Hope. My message is faith, my message is forgiveness…but mostly my message is LOVE.”Love ~ And now I will show you the most excellent way.If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13
My novel begins~
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted.
To everything there is a season. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
To everything there is a season. A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.
To everything there is a season. A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
To everything there is a season. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.
To everything there is a season. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. Ecclesiastes 3:1-12
~ Home Within ~
To everything there is a Season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted
~ I ~
Sleep doesn’t come to me like it used to. In my younger days I was stretched so thin doin’ and doin’ and doin’ that I barely had a minute to sit down. There was always somethin’ that needed fixin or cleanin …or somebody needin me. I rarely had enough time to even do part of my “to do” list on any given day. Most evnins I’d be so worn out from all the day’s happnins that I wouldn’t even know I had changed into night-clothes. Oft times I’d fall asleep before my head hit the pillow. All I know is I’d wake up the next morning wonderin’ how it could be that I didn’t know when or how I had gotten into that bed. My days now are nothin’ like that. My days now are taken up with a lot of sittin around and doing nothin. There’s not much an old girl can do but sit and watch… or read… or think. When I lay my head down at night now I reckon I haven’t worn myself out enough. My mind is too well rested from doin nothing all day to give up and drop off.
People always say, “If sleep won’t come, try countin sheep!” And that might work for some. I can see how that same boring sight could cause a mind to get numb and shut down. Believe you me, I’ve tried many a time to picture a black or white fluff ball jumpin over a little picket fence. It happens the same every time… its skinny black legs clear one side and land lightly on tiny hooves on the other, and I say in my head, just like I’m supposed to do, “one.” And then I see the next sheep and the next, “Two, three.” And so on and so forth. Yes, I can see how the monotony and down-right boringness could lull a person to the Land of Nod…but not me. For some reason my sheep are never sweet and docile. They are all a bunch of cut-ups who have no intention of helping me rest! They are not silent or predictable like good dream sheep are supposed to be. Every time I try to count my sheep, the sheep that show up are cocky, smarty-pants sheep. For example, the first fluff ball might prance up, bow, and gracefully hurdle the fence… but it won’t move along like it should. Instead the scoundrel will look right at me, gives me a smug “I did it” nod of its head, raise it’s eyebrows at me, tilt its head to the side as if to say, “Wasn’t that the most amazing leap you ever did see?” And then to top it off, I suppose because it is insulted when I don’t reply, it say “Baaahh!” LOUDLY in disgust and prances away … swishing its stubby little tail back and forth like a show pony.
Then the next sheep trots up and does basically the same thing but maybe it sticks out it’s tongue after it says, “Baaahh!” or maybe it turns and shakes its rear end before prancin away. I can never get past counting to six or seven before I have to start all over again. The smug looks, the bleating, the stubby tail swishing and downright rudeness is all very distracting to me…not to mention it is not at all sleep inducing…in fact it wakes me up even more. I don’t know whether I should laugh that my imaginary sheep are so different from how they should be, or if I should be concerned that my mind is such that I can’t just produce normal imaginary sleep. I wish I could only conjure up silent sheep that were there to be counted and then move on.
Some folks swear by relax’n each body part one by one to bring about a restful night’s sleep. I’ve been told to start with my toes and then slowly move up until I get to the top of my head… and what they tell me is, if I’m doing it right, then I ought to be lights out well before I get to my head. I’m pretty good with the foot part. Once my toes feel loose as a goose I work that loose feeling slowly toward my heel and up and over my ankle. I usually do this with much success up my lower leg until I get to my knees. Somewhere around there is when the trouble usually starts. If for some reason I am able to get past my knees, my hips always catch me up. Those parts are so tender and stiff with arthritis and years of wear and tear that all I can think about when I get to them is how they pop and creak. I can almost see and feel the bones scrap’n together.
I reckon I could do what a lot of folks these days do and take a pill… but I’ve never been one to take medicine unless the doctor convinced me if I didn’t I might die, or unless I was in so much pain I wished I was dead. Not being able to sleep is an inconvenience, but not likely to kill me, so no sleeping pills for me, thank you. I’d rather not sleep ever again than sleep so deep that I couldn’t wake up if I needed to. I’ve heard tell that some folks that take pills to sleep actually walk around and eat whole bags of chips or crackers or cookies and don’t even know they’ve done it until they wake up the next day with empty bags or boxes strewn on the floor and crumbs on their lips.
What works for me to bring myself to a place of rest, is to think back on my day. Oft times I will remember something special… something that if I didn’t reflect back would have been forgotten. There are things that while a thing is happening, I don’t recognize it for what it is. Some things are only made clear with a little time and distance… like a diamond covered over with dirt that can only be seen after a cleansing rain.