We were driving from Virginia, through Pennsylvania, and across the Canadian border.
“Why don’t we run over to Vermont?” suggested a fellow-traveller. “I’d love to show the kids that place we visited a few years back.”
From the calm altitude of a map spread across the kitchen table, Vermont did indeed look like a nice little pleasure-jaunt to break up the monotony of our route. Unfortunately, on closer examination, “running through Vermont” turns a journey that should take 12 hours into slightly over 20 (depending on what part of the state you want to visit).
The journey to good and great books can be a lot like this suggested road trip. It looks short—and simple—when you see it on a map. It’s a lot more complex when every fraction of an inch is translated into multiple hundreds of miles—or pages—as you drive down the road.
Journeys Take Time
If there is one thing which I have learned while writing As the Heavens Are Higher, it has been that the journey to good and great books TAKES TIME!
A lot of time!
The really funny thing about this, of course, is that the key theme of As the Heavens Are Higher is resting in God’s plan. Resting patiently—believing that His timing is best. Have you ever noticed that generally—speaking broadly—our timelines are faster than God’s? It just looks like such a nice idea to whip over to Vermont, and whip back again—maybe quickly enough that we don’t need to think about buying lunch on the road??
And yet God was willing to take hundreds of years to write HIS Book—even though He didn’t need to revise, or edit, or revamp the plot along the way!
Journeys Take People
And a lot more people than just the frenzied author!
It takes the people who patiently—even cheerfully—read the frenzied author’s manuscript in all eight drafts.
It takes the people who suggested, and edited, and consoled, and believed even when the frenzied author wasn’t sure how much there was to believe in.
It takes the people—dozens of people, some of them people who barely even knew the frenzied author—but took the time to say, “I want to read it when it comes out!”
It takes the people who copyedited, and typeset, and cover-designed—and were enthusiastic, even when Vermont turned out to double the total length of the trip!
The journey to good and great books takes people. That’s the start and the end of the matter. And I am so grateful for all the energy which people have poured into my books—and into the books of countless authors who have influenced my life.
Journeys Take LIVING
This is the part of the journey that is the very hardest for some of us to accept. Journeys take the experience—the joys and the sufferings, the laughter and the tears—of real life.
“You couldn’t write this, if you hadn’t experienced it!”
There are times when that idea is so scary that I am almost tempted to doubt whether the journey to good and great books is really worth the emotional rollercoaster. Because if you can’t create good and great books without being able to identify with suffering as well as joy—then who is going to choose to write good and great books?
If good and great books were about nothing more than entertainment, obviously they wouldn’t be worth that kind of investment. But the journey to good and great books stands for something so much deeper than that. Good and great books are a tool, in God’s Hand, for molding eternal souls. And that is a goal that is worth any journey He could ever call you to take!
Am I Going to Run Through Vermont?
In the particular trip referenced at the beginning of this article, we didn’t end up taking our “run” through Vermont. Double the hours and double the mileage just didn’t end up feeling worthwhile for the sake of briefly touching a tourist attraction—at least that time.
And maybe that’s the balance we have to negotiate on the journey to good and great books, too. Not every Vermont excursion is worth double the hours—and yet some of them certainly are.
Maybe the real answer doesn’t lie in the hours—or on the map—but with the Saviour who is driving our lives. Where He leads, I want to follow! Because that is the road where His blessing is to be found.
If you are interested in a little more discussion of just what makes a book good and great, see our pillar post:
- Crossing the Bar: A FREE Poetry Download from SAW Publishing
- As the Heavens Are Higher: Fact or Fiction