Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . Neat and Tidy

Anyone who knows me knows this title is not about my house. ;-)

As I stood in front of my stove cooking dinner (mark it on your calendar!) the other night, with my head still in my novel (not rare enough to be noted, LOL), I got to thinking. I'd just written an out-of-the-blue line about my hero returning a borrowed fob. No big deal. Except that until that moment I didn't know he had borrowed the fob...though I mentioned his pocket watch and its attaching chain in chapter 2. So back I went to the beginning, did a little tweak to the line, and voila. He pulled out his borrowed fob.

See? Neat and tidy.

This is the sort of thing I take great care with in my books. I don't like any reference to be in vain, so I always make sure everything is woven all the way throughout. But, let's face it, these small details will probably go unnoticed more often than not. Right? The cynical side of me might say, in moments of exhaustion, that they go unappreciated. But when someone does catch these little carried-through threads, I hope it makes them go, "Aha! Nice!" Occasionally I'll get a note from a critique partner or editor or reader letting me know they noticed something like this, and it makes me grin.

Yes, in fiction, all loose ends must be tied. All dangling threads snapped and pulled out. All lines and scenes and plots neatly ordered.

But in life?

Maybe because I focus so much on this sort of thing in my stories, I find myself looking for it in the real world too. Looking for those "Aha!" moments. Those times when it becomes glaringly clear why that thing happened a month or year or decade ago. I daresay I'm not alone in that--we all like to find reason in the seemingly-random, right? I usually call it looking for God's hand. Which it is.

But as I stood there stirring my ground beef and thinking about watch fobs, it occurred to me that sometimes those threads are crucial...but so very small they really will likely go unnoticed. And if that happens in my books, which are crafted by small-visioned me, how often is that the case in life, where the omniscient God is the author? How many times do things never make sense to us, never even gain our notice...yet were crafted with such perfect care by Him?

Life, to our human eyes, is messy. Often ugly. Always beyond our total comprehension. But you know, I think if we could look at it through the Author's eyes, we'd see where every thread is pulled through. Where every loose end is tied off. Where every tear we shed, where every dream we dream matters in our life story. I think, if we could see it in the right light, life would look a lot neater.

The reality is, we're incapable of that. And that's okay too. Because just like most people will never pause to think, "Wow, she wove the watch fob back in two hundred pages later!", it's not necessary that we notice every time God makes sense of things. It's enough to know He does. To be able to see the big ones. It's okay to wonder about the ones we never see reemerge.

Because He's got it all under control. And sometimes I can just hear Him whisper, "Just hold on. You'll understand in another few chapters..."

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