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Dig Deep and Come Up Heavy

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July 5th 2016  |  0  |  Category: Inspirational , Philosophical  |  Author: geedda  |  437 views

“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride,” is from an old English proverb.

IF is a small word with a tremendous meaning. If I had taken a different road when I was young, I would be a millionaire today. How many times have you heard that one? If I had married the boss’s daughter, I would now own the company. If I had invested that hundred dollars in the copper stock, I would be rich today. If, if, if…a small word with a powerful meaning. IF is akin to another small word, BUT. I could have been a millionaire, but… I could have married the bosses daughter, but. I could have written the American novel, but.
The true kinship of IF and BUT is, both are remarkably poor excuses, neither necessarily true. They are inferior defenses for our failures in life. How many times have you heard someone say, “God knows I tried?” Well, you apparently didn’t try hard enough.
Please allow me to show you an example. One night I went to bed, I was eighteen years old. When I woke the next morning, I was seventy four, or at least that is as it seems. Where did all those years go? I have no idea, but I can say this without fear of trepidation; those years were filled with ifs and buts.
If I had started writing when I was twenty-two instead of waiting until I retired, I would have written close to a hundred books, and several hundred short stories, but, I did not, I could sit here and wallow in self pity, but what would that accomplish? I am reminded of the success of Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. He started his international business after he retired in his mid sixties. Wonder if the Colonel had said, “If I had only fried chicken with my famous recipe thirty years ago, and waded in his sorrow?” We would not be enjoying his famous recipe now.
We can choose to do something, or we can choose to sit and wonder why we didn’t do something. Which, do you think is more productive? Doing is always better than idle contemplation, and the rewards are greater.
Success in our society, unfortunately, is measured by the amount of money we acquire, and the prestige that goes with having obtained that prominence. But, real success is measured by the individual, has he, or she met their life’s goal. Can they honestly say, I have achieved all that I set out to do in my lifetime? Or is your life filled with ifs and buts, maybes and could haves?
I am seventy four, and I look forward to publishing some of my short stories, and eventually a novel. I have sent several stories to free blogs on the Internet, and they have published them, one site evaluates your work, I have done moderately well on that site. I have yet to have one of my stories published and receive some form of remuneration. I know it will happen some day, and I am willing to wait, I am retired and have got time on my hands.
Thus far I have received two official ‘We enjoyed reading your story, but are, at this time unable to publish your work. Keep writing’ notices. There will be rejections, and I expect them, it is part of the excitement of writing, waiting to hear from a publisher, however, don’t hold your breath while you wait. I submitted a story to a mystery magazine six months ago, and to date have not heard from them. Maybe it is a sure indication they are too busy to read my work, or they have read it and are too busy to let me know just how uninterested they are in the tale.

Can we afford to let delayed or rejected answers stop us, or even slow us down? I should say not, keep writing, someone out there is waiting for your story. It is just a matter of finding that person or persons who are waiting for you to write that one-of-a-kind story.
If you are like some of us, with only a high school education, an average student at that, you question your grammar because you dozed off in Miss Jones’s English class. You found her monotonous sing-song voice a welcome fourth period lullaby, sleeping through her explanation of a dangling participle, and, therefore, was awarded a C minus. You probably are a little apprehensive about submitting your work. You don’t have to have a college degree to write a story, especially a personal story, just be yourself on paper. You may surprise yourself, and sell that piece. Remember, no Ifs or Buts, just do it.
Another thing to remember; don’t be intimidated by someone else’s success. I look at authors on the Internet and find some have graduated from colleges all over this nation, with Masters Degrees in Journalism or Writing and my heart sinks. However, I can’t let that stop me from writing my short stories and submitting them to publishers.
I am reminded of a railroad workman who came into a store where I worked during high school. Every day during the summer when the railroad crew was working in the area of the store Zip, his nickname, would come in and order an ice cream cone, always vanilla and always the nickel size. As I would scoop the ice cream he would say, “dig deep and come up heavy.” Oh how many times that phrase has come to me over the years, and especially now as I write my stories.
Dig deep and come up heavy in whatever you do, rather it be scooping vanilla ice cream, working as a telephone repair person, a police officer, a writer or a construction worker, give it all you have got, go the extra mile. Take the initiative and do your best plus ten percent, dig deep and come up heavy especially if you are a writer. Dig deep and come up heavy with plenty of entertaining information, data that will keep your reader excited, and unable to put down your story.
Several months ago, during a time of self appraisal, I entertained the idea of attending a pity party. A pity party host remits no invitations, there is only one attendee, you. The more you pity yourself, the more convinced you become the world is against you, you will never amount to anything is your battle cry. That’s when it is time to sing “ When you’re down and out Lift up your head and shout there’s gonna be a great day!” You can do it!

Take this test: I can’t do it because:

1 I don’t have a college degree
2 I feel inferior to those who have accomplished their goals
3 I fell asleep during English Grammar class and missed dangling participles
4 I don’t stand a chance against professional published authors
5 I am too old
6 I am too young
7 I don’t have the memory I used to have
8 I don’t have the time
9 I don’t have the inclination
10 I’m too busy

Any of these defences sound familiar to you? I bet you fit into one of the above categories. Am I right?
Please note, not one of those excuses are valid. The question isn’t, do I fit into one of those categories; it is, do I want to break away from those burdens that drag me down and convince me; I am too old, or under educated to achieve my goals?


My wife is my inspiration. She has made over one hundred quilts and donated them to charity, along with dozens of pillow cases, not to mention over one hundred and fifty pairs of mittens she has donated to local schools and neighborhood homeless shelters. She buys all the material, never asks for a donation or help financially, in fact would refuse it if offered. She does it for the satisfaction of knowing that she has done something for somebody who perhaps could not help themselves due to unfortunate circumstances.
The last time I checked there were twenty-four hours in a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days in a year. Nothing has changed, time marches on. It is said, time and tide wait for no man. I don’t know much about tides, but one thing is certain, time waits for no man, it marches on it’s pace quickening as we age. January soon turns to February and February to March and on and on it moves neither slowing nor stopping, relentless in its march to the end of another year and the beginning of a new year.
What is it the bible says about man/woman, “…they are like the grass, here one day, cut down and thrown into the fire.” Please excuse my paraphrase, but you get the meaning I am sure. James, Jesus’s brother says we are but a mist, here today, gone tomorrow. Time marches on, and nothing slows it’s pace. Nothing.
If you are thinking I am growing old, and I’ve got this and that I would like to accomplish I can only say, now is the time to do it. Don’t listen to the naysayers, they have always been with us, always negative. In fact, they may be exactly why you didn’t get it done when you were thirty nine, they said it couldn’t be done, and you believed them. I tell you if you want something bad enough it is obtainable, just reach out and grab it. I heard a testimony on the radio of a man who had no use of his left arm and hand, but his greatest desire in life was to play the guitar. He worked at it long enough, and he found a way to do it. He had determination, he never said it couldn’t be done, he said, there has got to be a way to get it done.
I may never be published, but I won’t let that stop me from trying. I will, with God’s help, keep writing and keep submitting those writings to publishers.
I remember a saying one of my brother’s friends wrote in his yearbook, it went something like this; “Remember me as a little splinter when you slide down the bannister of life.” How apropos, life is like a long, shiny bannister, and it does have rough spots in it, splinters if you will. She wanted him to remember her as someone who cared about him. It’s having people who care that makes a difference in a life. Come on you poets here’s a chance to grab onto this splinter analogy and make something out of it.
Keep on keeping on, and don’t give up my friends. You will make it someday, and it will be worth it all. Just remember, it must first be a love affair with writing, without thought of publishing for money, that may come later. Right now you are writing because it is in your blood, and it is an intrinsic part of your being, something you are called to do.
I began preaching late in life, it is something I felt called to do. I put off the calling for thirty some years until, at the age of forty four, God got my attention. The next few years I spent preaching north and south of my home in many churches. I never did it for money, though I received with gratefulness any remuneration received from the church where I preached. I remember one time preaching in a small Baptist church nearly a hundred miles from my home. It was a Sunday night, and the pastor had asked me if I wanted to preach the service as he was going to be out of town that night. I gladly accepted the offer and drove, with my wife, to the small town.
The church was meeting that night with people from three congregations in the area. There was a total of twelve people in attendance. I preached, and when the service had ended the head deacon thanked me and passed me an envelope with the evening’s offering. When I got outside I opened the envelope and saw two fives and two ones, a total of twelve dollars. I put five dollars in the plate myself. I said to my wife if I had known I was going to get the evening’s offering, I would have put in more money. It was meant to be a joke folks. I have never been dissatisfied with the amount of money I have received. I didn’t, and I don’t preach for the money. I have preached for nothing, sometimes not even a thank you, but I preach for the Lord, and I preach at me.
Preaching, like writing, has it’s rewards, and they are not always monetary. There is nothing more musical to a preacher’s ears than a hearty Amen. And there is nothing more satisfying to a writer than a thank you for your piece, “I enjoyed it so much.” Just as, I have preached without compensation, I have written many a piece without compensation also.
I have been blessed by preaching the true Gospel and by writing about some of my escapades, in and out of church. I have so much more to write, and if the Lord tarries I hope, with His help, to set it down on paper or print (ebook).
Writing is like purchasing a new pair of shoes, at first they pinch a little, but stretch with wear, and become more comfortable. What on earth is the comparison of shoes to writing? The more you write, the more comfortable you become with your style. So write, write, and write, edit, edit, and edit some more.
Again, let me say, Ifs and buts can slow you down, or even stop you from reaching your goals. To quote that famous evangelist, Billy Sunday, “Yank some of the groans out of your prayers and shove in some shouts.” Stop groaning about what you haven’t done, or what you should have done, and start doing it, do it with a shout. You have the potential to accomplish your goals, don’t let the ifs and buts get in your way.
Like David in the Bible, we all face giants, the difference is David did something about the giant in his way. He fell Goliath with one stone. He had the confidence to boldly take on, and defeat that giant. David, at that point in his life, didn’t know what fear was; he trusted in his God. He was determined to defeat his foe, the Philistine giant. We must, in order to be all we can, be determined to conquer that fear we have.

If you have written a piece, rather it is ten words or two thousand words, submit it. Once you see it in print, you will be surprised what it will do for your self confidence. Try it. Send that writing in today.

 

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