A few months ago I picked up Laura Hillenbrand's New York Times bestseller, Seabiscuit. Instantly I was captivated: not only by the incredible story, but by the wry wit and sheer beauty of Hillenbrand's writing. Delighted at finding a new author, I researched her to see if she'd written anything else.
That's when I discovered Hillenbrand suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The disease attacked her when she was a student in college, and rapidly got out of control. On good days, she could live a fairly normal life: on bad days, she couldn't get out of bed as violent nausea and vertigo ripped at her body. She wrote Seabiscuit in between the attacks, but immediately after the book went to press, the disease worsened. Her life crystallized into surviving each day, she lost the ability to do things most of us take for granted. Most of all, she lost the ability to write, as the disease made it impossible for her to formulate her thoughts.
As far as I know, she's still unable to write. There's no cure for CFS.
Hillenbrand's story sobered me and has been uppermost in my mind for the last few months. I realized how often I complain about my writing. Nothing is ever good enough. Why did I ever become a writer in the first place? I'm terrible at action, my characters stink, the dialogue is horrible... etc.
But if I lost the ability to write, I'd give anything in the world to get it back. Forget the luxury of whining about details. Because, truth be told, the gift of writing is the most precious thing in my life besides my belief in God.
This realization convicted me. Now, I'm going to try to be more thankful. Don't get me wrong - I'm not going to stop working to improve! If anything, I'll try harder! But in the meantime I'm going to be grateful for what I've got. After all, God gave me this gift of writing. He must have known what He was doing. :)
And right now I'm going to rejoice in words, in this incredible gift He's given me, because I can write. Not always well, not always with merit. But I can do it.
Thanks be to God!
Have a blessed Thanksgiving, everyone!