The words are stubborn tonight—uncooperative. Somehow, I think it may be my own fault.
They—the all-knowing experts who are certain about such things—tell me I must write a first—rough—draft quickly, not stopping to correct misspellings and syntax errors. They don’t know me very well.
My drafts are never rough for long. I cannot abide uncorrected errors. I am barely into my third paragraph and already I have re-read the first two more than once.
As the red-headed lady who raised me would have said, this is like pulling teeth for me. No, not the painful part of having teeth removed from my mouth.
Writing a first draft is like the physical ordeal of pulling, of struggling, of wrestling a tooth out of the socket from which it never wanted to be unseated in the first place.
I look again over what I have written and a light bulb snaps on somewhere. That’s it! They call it a draft because it’s drawn from the paper (or is it drawn from my mind and heart?), stubborn words and reticent paragraphs, one after the other.
Draft. The word applies to many things and activities, but all go back to one thought. A draft is an article drawn out from something else.
A first draft is words on paper drawn from the mind of the author. A bank draft is something authorizing funds to be drawn from a bank account. Draft beer is beer drawn from a tap. The military draft is the act of filling out the ranks by drawing from a pool of civilians. A cold draft that makes us uncomfortable is frigid air drawn unexpectedly past our location.
The most famous of sales ads played during football games on American television is one for a beer company. I laugh at the pun, intended or not, every time I see it. The huge Clydesdale horses are harnessed to the loaded wagon as it spins down pleasant lanes. They are beautiful beasts, also known as draft horses because they draw a wagon behind them.
Draft horses drawing draft beer. What could be more clever?
So, I draft the words to the page. Many seem to have become conscientious objectors, unwilling to be drawn. The going is slow. Sometimes—many times—the wrong word shows up to report for duty and has to be thrown back—4F.
But tonight, as I sat staring at that word showing on the side of the page of my computer’s editor—Draft—and considered the difficulty of drawing something from one place to another, the light that flickered on earlier blazed into bright midday glare.
I remember words David wrote in a Psalm. Words about a God who drew him from a horrible pit—up out of the miry clay—setting his feet on the rock. (Psalm 40:2)
And again, I can’t help it. The pun, certainly unintended this time, is stuck in my head.
The original Artist, who once drew His greatest masterpiece from the dirt, from the mud, must once more draw us from the mud into which we choose to crawl back.
The first was an act of creation; the second, an act of love and mercy.
Both times, He drew us.
From Him. To Him.
We are His draft. First. Last.
Never rough, save by our own doing.
“Child,” said the Lion, “I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.”
(from The Horse and His Boy ~ C.S. Lewis)
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
(Romans 11:36 ~ ESV ~ The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2017. All Rights Reserved.