Lucy’s P is persist. I quote:
I can’t let go.
I must persist with this.
Some small part of me believes that in some small way it might be what I’m made for.
I never so much persisted with writing as it persisted with me. Every few years it would return and claim my attention, my time. For writing is s a very time consuming activity. It started when I was eight and I won’t bore you with attempts to identify how often it has returned in various guises over the years.
One summer I did persist for some months and finish the book I’d been playing at writing for several years. And I still write a monthly piece for our parish magazine. But, somehow that doesn’t feel like persistence so much as something which just happens.
Which brings me to my second P, providence; a word with a whole spectrum of meaning. Akin to fate, something that just happens to be, the way things are. Or people might give it a capital P, Providence, a personification of some sort of guiding power working for our good. A kind of guardian angel, perhaps?
I ponder how Lucy’s phrase, ‘it might be what I’m made for’ fits into this perspective of thinking. Of course, her phrase could be understood more literally taking us into the sphere of Divine purpose or even God’s will.
My preference is to think in terms of God’s providence which to me is more specific and less wishy washy or evasive than Divine purpose without being as arrogantly dogmatic God’s will. But I quite accept that any of these terms will speak differently to different people depending on the contexts in which they have previously been encountered.
When you mix ideas of persisting, of working to make our plan come about with ideas of providence, of understanding that we are part of some bigger plan, then you come to a point of negotiation; the point of prayer.
So forget, for a minute, the idea of prayer being something stuffy and boring that religious people do; forget it being a shopping list that you email to heaven rather than the supermarket and think instead along the lines of the currently popular concept of mindfulness.
Think of sitting in the crossroads of persistence and providence; how does my plan for a piece of writing, my plot for a story fit with God’s plan for the history of humankind, the plot for the story of life? Is it a vital clue subtly woven into the fabric of life, a red herring, a delightful bit of background, an ill-placed word that upsets the flow of the narrative?
There’s no doubt that to make a career of writing takes persistence but to persist with our own plans in the face of providence is not constructive. Better to stop for a while, bask in the face of providence and see where we are led.