“I’m too tired. I won’t be writing tonight.” I have just left the Lovely Lady where she sits and works her magic with needles and thread. The evening was taken up with the challenge of assembling a basketball goal for the grandsons (and their dad, truth be told), a Christmas gift from the Lovely Lady and me. I shall pay the price tomorrow, as the old joints promise to mount their protest in their own good time. I think the prize will be worth the suffering, both mental and physical.
“No blog? That’s a disappointment.” The Lovely Lady was being kind, but she hit a nerve with her words. Like many creative minds, mine is partially driven by the response of my audience (or sometimes, the lack thereof). I have thought, more than once recently, that I might cease in my nightly ramblings until there was a clamor of voices demanding that I begin anew (and surely, that would be the case!) and it seemed that this might be the week for that to happen. No announcement, no mention of my intentions, just a sudden cessation of writing.
I sat before the computer screen, dark clouds firmly fixed over my head, and thought about how you’d miss me when I was gone. It was not long, however, before I was laughing at myself, as I recalled a paragraph from Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer”, in which the young hero plays out the same scenario. He had been punished by his Aunt Polly for something he didn’t do (for once) and determined that he would make her sorry that she had mistreated him so. Wandering across town to the beautiful Becky Thatcher’s home, he determined to die beneath her window, so that her eyes might be the first to alight sympathetically on his lifeless body in the light of day. Here is the scene, in the author’s own words:
“And thus he would die–out in the cold world, with no
shelter over his homeless head, no friendly hand to wipe the
death-damps from his brow, no loving face to bend pityingly over him
when the great agony came. And thus SHE would see him when she looked
out upon the glad morning, and oh! would she drop one little tear upon
his poor, lifeless form, would she heave one little sigh to see a bright
young life so rudely blighted, so untimely cut down?
The window went up, a maid-servant’s discordant voice profaned the
holy calm, and a deluge of water drenched the prone martyr’s remains!”
I’m reconsidering my moping resolution to lie here holding my flower to my chest until someone takes notice of it. I think that I shall continue to share my thoughts, even should there be complete silence from the other side of this large room we all live in. If you’d like to cry a single tear, that will be acceptable, but I don’t think that I need the entire pitcher-full dumped over my head to bring me to my senses. Time will tell.
Speaking of which, a thought hit me the other day (Hey! It does happen!) I’ve noticed that sometimes the vendors with whom I do business have some quaint ways of expressing things. One, which I noticed recently, seems to have some bearing on my thoughts tonight. I realized that a few items I had ordered were not included in the package which had been delivered, so I quickly checked the packing list. In the column beside those items, there were three letters printed. “WIP” was all it said. I cast about to think of any applicable acronyms, but couldn’t come up with any which made sense. “Wasn’t in package” seemed inappropriate and “waltz in place” simply wouldn’t do at all. Finally, I looked down near the bottom of the page and saw a glossary of the acronyms used in the document. Running my finger along the list of possibilities, I had it! WIP simply stands for “work in progress”.
What a great idea! It’s not back-ordered, not out-of-stock, not temporarily unavailable. It’s simply a work in progress! When we’re finished with the process, you’ll have the item. Don’t worry. Don’t fret. We’re busy making it happen for you. WIP!
I’d like to believe that those letters describe us–you and me. We are, individually and collectively, works in progress. The finished product will stand before you someday, but until then, enjoy the WIP. The tweaking, the molding, the shoving back into place…all of these are still happening and will eventually yield the desired result. Wait a little while. You’ll see.
But, unhappily, that does bring me to another acronym which I find frequently listed on our packing lists at the music store. It seems that this one should be a happy phrase, seeing the letters which are printed there. “POP” It sounds kind of exciting, doesn’t it? Reminds you of firecrackers in July or of bubbles being blown with gum. It might even be a little fizzy, like our soft drinks. But you would be wrong. POP is the acronym for “permanently out of print”. I guess you could say that it’s more like the sound of party balloons being instantly deflated after the gaiety and camaraderie is over and done. (“Turn out the lights…the party’s over…”) The company is saying, in effect, “This WIP never delivered on its promise and now it is POP. We’re tired of waiting for results, so have determined that we won’t ask you to have patience anymore. You may give up now.” What a sad conclusion to a hopeful and promising beginning.
Work in Progress…Permanently Out of Print. Both indicated by just three letters. Three letters which mean either hope and promise or disappointment and failure. Which is it going to be?
In large part, we determine the outcomes in this life. I will be quick to acknowledge that our faith plays a key role, as does our environment and our support system. But, in spite of the indisputable truth that our Creator has placed in each of us who are His children the ability to achieve and excel in the areas of our gifting and even gives His strength to enable us, He has also given us the choice. We decide whether to keep moving forward and remain a WIP, or to give up on our dreams and hopes, simply becoming another POP, never to reach our goals in this life.
I’m a work in progress! Sometimes, the progress is painfully slow; at other times, dizzyingly fast. Mostly, I remain a slow learner, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly. That said, progress is occurring. Even the snail gets where he’s going eventually. I trust that you’re going in the same direction, too…
Oh! Just a warning…I’m thinking that even my practice of writing won’t be POP anytime soon. Brace yourselves!
“The wisdom of the prudent is to think about his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.”
“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”
(Oliver Wendall Holmes~American writer/educator~1809-1894)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2012. All Rights Reserved.