I broke a promise today.
A big one, to the most important in the whole wide world.
While we live in an age where words have little value and promises are meant to be broken, I pride myself in being a woman of my word. I mean what I say and say what I mean. I believe in truth and honesty, because without both any relationship is fragile and easily broken. My word is my bond and you can take it to the bank, unless . . .
I should probably pick up where I left off a while ago. Subscribers to my blog may have missed my posts (maybe not). I haven’t written much, or updated readers and that is by design. I don’t really know what is going on with my life right now other than I am in a season of change and loneliness. However, all is not lost, I have a bit of good news.
Readers who purchased my latest release, Walking in the Rain had no way of knowing they were helping me do something I’ve been wanting to do for two decades, take classes to finish my degree. They also were helping a literacy program in Georgia. If you haven’t purchased the short story you may download it here, even if you do not own a Kindle.
It’s not enough that I’m taking two classes, I also work full-time. Every day I get home at 5:45 wolf down food, study, read, highlight in the expensive book, and work on an essay. Everything must be done before the Sunday midnight deadline when all assignments and tests are due. I’m about seven weeks into this routine and so far so good. If you have traveled the route of an adult learned you know the challenges I face. You also know the reward of looking at a grade that you, and you alone, earned.
To everyone who helped me earn enough money to purchase those ridiculously expensive textbooks and pay for classes, I thank you, I am working very hard. In fact, my daughter comes into my room at eleven every night and makes me go to bed.
Sometimes I obey. . .
Now back to the broken promise.
During the last snap of winter a tree fell on the house. Structurally there was no damage, but the mess is, well let’s just say it’s a disaster. We knew the trees (plural) near the house needed to be taken down but there was little time and even less money, and yes, the other trees are still there. Dad offered to do the work, but at seventy-one-years old I really don’t want him dragging around a chain saw unless absolutely necessary.
When a tree falls on your house, absolutely necessary, happens.
I am left with a huge amount of cleanup which yesterday I tackled. With my assignments out of the way, at eight o clock yesterday morning I used mom’s electric chainsaw to cut things into manageable pieces then begin piling for the brush pile. By eleven in the morning I was lonely. I don’t mind the work, but I do mind being holed up with only Kit-Tay, our orange feral cat, for company. I called dad and asked if he would come keep me company. We lit the brush pile at one and he left at four in the evening.My muscles were cramping and my neck injury was really hurting. When Dad left he asked, “Do you want me to come tomorrow so we can finish this up?”
“No,” I answered. “I really need to do a better job of keeping the Sabbath holy. I want to start making myself rest on Sunday.”
This morning, however, found me at the brush pile, poking dry twigs into the still-glowing embers.
“I just need to work a little bit,” I said to God. “Just a couple hours then I’ll rest. Today is the perfect day to knock this out before the spring winds kick up.”
It is not lost on me that I expect God to keep his promises. I pray scripture to Him, quoting His words (like He could forget). I pray expecting Him to keep His word, which he does . . . always.
God never breaks His promises. Promise-breaking is my job.
As the twigs lit and flames began to rise God reminded me of my words yesterday. He reminded me of my promise but again I said, “Just a couple hours then I’ll rest.”
Then the clouds thickened and rain began to fall.
Did I stop? Did I say, “I know God, I know. I’ll stop now.”
Nope. I broke more twigs and fed the fire so it would grow hotter and burn faster. I willfully, purposely broke a promise to God, which is the same as lying. I reasoned that because of the high winds there were so many limbs I needed to pick them up and burn them . . . now.
I reasoned that I wasn’t really that sore from yesterday, so a little work wouldn’t hurt.
I reasoned that I am so stinking busy during the week that I only have time right now.
I reasoned that next weekend I’ll be at a book event and I won’t have time.
I reasoned, a lot.
But mainly what I did was lie. I lied to God, the one who created the universe (and little ole me). I expect Him to keep His word, and answer my prayer, but I can’t be trusted to do the same.
Shame on me.
I accept responsibility of my actions. I regret them, and sadly, I will probably have to go around this mountain again because I am so stinking busy, and hurried, and stressed and I want to get this mess cleaned up before spring comes and I am really busy . . . but God never called me to be busy did He?
God calls us to be set apart from the rest of the busy world, and He commands us to rest.
Let’s hope I can spend the rest of the day doing just that. I hope you can as well.
Renea Winchester is an award-winning author, and serves on the Georgia Writers Association Board. Her latest work, Walking in the Rain, debuted on Amazon in the top ten nature essays. Learn more about her here.