I just attended the Festival of Faith & Writing at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan last week. It was AMAZING. I’m still processing everything, and I think it will take me 2 years to let it all sink in.
Eugene Peterson (the gentleman who wrote the Message Paraphrase) gave some fantastic talks. His spirit is so….deep and wise and deep. He said that the three most important things for a writer are humility, humility, humility. I say that there’s no one to keep you humble like your family. Especially if you add a 5-year-old to the mix.
Apparently, after 33 years of living, my body has decided to develop allergies. I don’t quite understand it. I lived in Florida for more than 5 years where the pollen is so thick that it will coat your car giving it the appearance of a giant, green, powdered doughnut. Yet, I had no trouble with allergies until I moved back to Michigan.
As a result, I’ve been spending a small fortune in co-payments at the eye doctor’s office. The allergies are also thwarting my attempts to re-join the contact-lens-wearing population. I woke up one day last week with a bright, red right eye that made me look like a freakish character out of the Twilight saga. Little Miss Sunshine asked, “Mama, why aren’t you wearing your contacts? You look so much prettier without your glasses, and why is your eye so RED?” Remember what I said about humility? Nothing like a 5-year-old to tell you the truth. “Honey, I have allergies, and I can’t wear my contacts when my eye looks like this.” She started to back away from me as if I might start to suck her blood.
I traipsed to the eye doctor once again, and she gave me a sample bottle of steroid eye drops to help shoo away the white blood cells that were causing my eyes to be so red and irritated. She also said ,unfortunately (but with a smile), that she’d have to do the final fitting for my contacts at a later date.
My right eye cleared up, just in time for my left eye to inflame. I spent the weekend walking around the writing conference, making all sorts of wonderful, new friends, while looking like a freak from Twilight. Every time I would go to the bathroom and look in the mirror, I nearly scared myself at how terrible my eye looked. Then I would think that I should be explaining to people as I meet them what is wrong with my eye. But since no one had mentioned it, I hoped that meant it wasn’t as noticeable as I feared.
When I showed up at my parents’ house to re-join my children, nearly the first thing out of everyone’s mouth was, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR EYE?” I went through the allergy spiel once again, and when I happily relayed that no one had mentioned my eye at the conference and hoped that meant no one had noticed my Dad replied, “Oh, they noticed alright.”
Like I said – there’s no one to keep you humble like family.
That night as we were getting ready for bed, Little Miss looked at me and said, “I think I’m going to ask Grandma for a sleeping bag and I’ll sleep on the floor.” I looked at her and said, “There’s plenty of room in the bed, honey, we can share it.” She started to back away again and said, “No, Mama, I don’t want my eye to get red like yours.”
Sigh. Humility, humility, humility.