The Space Between
I just finished reading this fantastic book, The Mapmaker's Daughter by Katharine Nouri Hughes. Ottoman Empire, 16th Century, powerful woman--Queen Mother Nurbanu lived within decades of my own Katharina, but worlds apart. Faiths apart. And while I am loving the book (really, it makes me feel so, so smart...), this isn't a book review. (OK, a short one--go read it)
I was reading the other night, all tucked up with my water and my booklight and my pillow-pet Kevin, and a sentence in the novel made me just Stop.
Most of us live in the space between what we do and what we can do.
We guard the illusion that we might be anything we wish.
Now...if you read the novel (which you should), you'll find this passage in the middle of a particularly grisly scene. (also beautifully written). But those two sentences took me straight out of the scene, straight out of the story--well, straight out of this story, and straight into my own.
That space between.
Toes poised on the point of potential.
Frustrating, right? It's the world of unfinished projects, unearned money, half-hearted attempts, forgotten promises, overextended schedules, lost opportunities, wasted time...
And I think--what if I stepped out of that space? What if I took that illusion and made it a reality? God has a Word for us: I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:13 NLT) Right? But it's not quite the same. God promises that I can do anything. Not that I can be anything.
There's a difference.
I have a contract I wrote with myself at a writer's conference in the years before my first novel was published. I wrote: "I want there to be such a thing as an Allison PIttman novel." Like, I want that to BE something. So, I write. Because that won't happen if I don't write. And I have to look at every sentence, go through every edit thinking: is that the best? I don't want to release a novel that falls in that gap between what I do and what I can do. I hold my stories like I guard that illusion. Close to me and tight.
That space between what I do and what I can do is so, so much work. But that's also where Christ lives within me. Propping me up, hi-lighting my purpose. He turns illusion into promise with his faithfulness.