Most Friday mornings at 9:00 will find me in the back room of our local library. As I walk through the back door, the window to my right reveals anywhere from two to nearly a dozen people settling in for the next hour or so. Welcome to the Sinclairville Writer's Club, where genuine and wannabe authors meet for discussion, encouragement, and critique. We're a motley crew, mostly retired, but all with thoughts buzzing around in our heads like bees trapped inside a window, looking for a way out. Novels, devotionals, memoirs, children's stories, and what could be a magazine article fill this room in the form of men and women with stories to tell, each one of us trying to discern the difference between having to say something and having something to say.
The group has been meeting for quite a few years; my daughter tried for a number of them to get me to join, but work commitments made it all but impossible till I had retired. But retire I did, and I joined soon thereafter. I often feel a bit outclassed; the thought of trying to produce a full-length novel with interesting and cohesive plot, character development, action, and dialogue is quite daunting to me. Then there is the challenge of getting published and actually having people buy your stories. I can do short stories, and have occasionally thought of developing them into something longer, but so far, I don't have the patience for it. I stick with the short articles I post every night in my blog, entitled "Refrigerator Word Art." Like grandchildren's drawings that are proudly posted to the refrigerator, I write about things that are meaningful to me, but which to others are about as thrilling as being trapped in a corner with a family member armed with an iPad full of photos of last summer's trip to Iowa. It's hard to believe anyone else would be interested in what I write unless they were to see their name popping up in it.
So although I feel somewhat like a fish out of water (a cliché a bit too shopworn to believe I actually used it), I keep attending because of the people I have met there. I only have a few people I would consider close friends, but I have found in this group people I wish I had met years ago so we could have been lifelong friends. As it is, I am grateful tonight for whatever time we will yet be given and for how they are building into my life.
Last night, I wrote about one of them who recently published a book. I noted the determination that carried him in that project for nearly thirty years, and then made the comparison that I was also thankful for Christ's refusal to give up or take short cuts for our salvation. He said that was the first time he had ever been compared favorably with Jesus Christ. I told the group how I once compared Jesus to a can of Heineken's, so my friend shouldn't get too excited about it. The truth of the matter however, is that we see what we're looking for. Jesus once said of helping those in need that "inasmuch as you did it unto the least of these, you did it unto me." I see Jesus in my friend's integrity, humility, humor, and candor. I see Christ every time I sit down at that table with men and women who are pouring heart and soul into their work, simply for love of the words. I see Jesus in their kindness, their honesty with one another, in their willingness to withstand the scrutiny of others, and their determination to bare their souls for all to see. Indeed, I see Jesus in each of them, and am grateful for the friends I have found around that library table.