As the calendar turned and 2014 began, I was desperately struggling to balance work, writing, farm life, and the everyday busyness of daily life. I had two articles I wanted to write due the end of January, my daughter’s wedding was getting closer, spring kidding season had begun so barn chores were (and still are) very time consuming, my sweet sister-in-law was in the hospital battling cancer, and in the midst of all of these things, I still had to earn a living. My heart was torn because while all these things took precedence in my life, I also longed to complete the final steps to prepare my book for publication, work on my new website, and share my thoughts in my blog.
In the midst of this struggle, my son and I were trying to squeeze in a few moments each evening to read the book Godonomics by Chad Hovind. In the context of government vs. individual, Chad states that the common belief that ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one’ is flawed and essentially the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many because the individual is eternal. He backed this up with a quote from C.S. Lewis which read, “Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live forever…if Christianity is true, the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of the state or civilization, compared with his, is only a moment.”
As I read, I found myself no longer thinking in terms of government vs. private individual, but applying it to my life and the many directions that I felt pulled. I found myself praying, “Lord, who is the one – what is the one thing – that is more important than the many and what are the many that are unimportant and temporary?
For the month of January, the ‘one’ was my precious sister-in-law, Shellie, whom I loved dearly. She was in the hospital battling cancer that had begun as breast cancer almost four years earlier and had moved to her spinal column last fall. Shellie was continually on my mind and in my prayers, but because it was a two hour drive to the hospital, I felt I could not go see her very often. However, whenever I had a day off and could leave everything except urgent responsibilities behind, my mother and I would make the drive and spend the day with my brother and at the hospital with his sweet wife. Twice I left after work and we passed the night at the hospital offering what little help and comfort we could. When the hospital moved Shellie to hospice and said she didn’t have much time left, I left work and mother and I joined my brother and his family at Shellie’s bedside. ‘The needs of the one’ – the thought crossed my mind often, but I felt helpless to attend to any of Shellie’s needs. All I could do was just be there, but I was thankful I could spend those last days with her and those who loved her. On February 1, Shellie left this earth for her eternal home. I miss her dearly and the knowledge that the soul is eternal sometimes offers little comfort, but I know that although I will still miss her, in time the grief will not feel so heavy.
After Shellie’s funeral, the needs of another ‘one’ began to outweigh everything else on my agenda as my daughter’s wedding day was quickly approaching. Those who have done a wedding on a budget know how time consuming it can become. My daughter and I spent every spare moment we were not at work or tending to animals on wedding preparations. It seemed there were dozens of details that needed our attention and the hours and days quickly passed as we labored to get everything ready. The big day finally arrived, and on March 8, Jennifer Campbell became Mrs. Joshua Ward. It was a beautiful wedding and my lovely daughter was a beautiful bride and I am thankful for the many hours we spent together working and planning her special day.
That first week of March was special to me too. Not only did I gain a son-in-law, but my first book was published. Back during the chaos that always accompanies December, I had finished the last edits on my book and it was finally ready for publication. After more than twenty years of dreaming about someday writing a book and two years of laboring over the story, My Journey with Justin was finally complete. Throughout Shellie’s long and heartbreaking battle and the hectic days before the wedding, I squeezed in precious moments to maintain communication with Christian Editing Services as they designed my cover, formatted the content and the e-book, helped me purchase ISBN numbers, and set up accounts with a publisher and Amazon. I had hoped to have my website finished and anticipate the publication of my book with blog posts announcing its impending arrival, but sometimes things don’t always happen as we imagine or plan.
My book made its début on Amazon two days before the wedding – no website, no blog post, not even a facebook announcement. During these past few months, I have felt as though I was treading water and have often wondered how long I could keep my head above the surface, but God is gracious to give us the strength we need for each new day and every season of our lives. Life is continually changing and in this busy season I have learned more about grief, I have witnessed new beginnings, I have seen dreams fulfilled, and in the midst of earning a living and living life, I pray my grip on those things that are temporal has loosened a little more as I continue to strive to put those things – the one thing – that is eternal first.