If you caught me walking around town on one of my rare escapes from work or home, you might notice dark croissants shading my eyes and I didn’t have time to wash my hair. For most of the past year, I’ve been dragging myself out of bed before dawn to sit in front of my laptop and write a novel about three kids trying to keep the emerald ash borer from destroying all of them. ash trees of the world.
It is a story of loss and resilience. It’s also a story close to my heart because it involves the death of a child from complications from cerebral palsy – a loss my own family knows all too well. But despite waking up early and neglecting to wash my hair, I had been stuck about two-thirds of the way through writing the novel for most of the fall and winter. .
The plot came to a standstill shortly after a villainous villain showed up and attempted to pick up the story. As much as I wanted to get rid of him, I couldn’t. He presented an obstacle that the children had to overcome. Only instead of doing what I wanted, he tried to steal the show.
Then one morning, coming back to my writing workshop with a cup of tea, it hit me. Evil is always trying to steal the show. Easy or not, I had to put this character in its place. So I demoted him. Then I cut his scenes, giving him a minor role in the story, not a major role. And wallah! I have completed the book, which I am currently reviewing.
But those words – evil always tries to steal the show – stuck with me. In fact, I wrote them down on my calendar, where I jot down all the kinds of weird bits that I don’t want to lose sight of. Because, isn’t that right? Whether we’re talking about the news or our day or thinking about the future, evil – the darkness that plagues us all – is always trying to get the better of it. This causes us to focus on the negative. He predicts the worst. It fills us with fear and tries to steal the show.
Yet, like a character in a novel, evil only has the power we give it. So why not downgrade it? Instead of focusing on the negative, find something positive to share. Instead of fearing the future, face the challenges you face while making room for all the good things that might come. And instead of fear, pray and ask God to give you his peace.
“For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound spirit,” II Timothy 1: 7 (NKJV).
It is the peace that God promises to all who seek him. Invite him into your plot, and he will put evil in its place: an obstacle to overcome, not the whole story.
Meadow Street Merrill, author of the memoir “Redeeming Ruth,” writes from a small house in the great woods of Midcoast Maine. She is also the author of the children’s picture book “The Backward Easter Egg Hunt” and four other books celebrating the holidays in a way that strengthens children’s faith. Log on to meadowrue.com.
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