I couldn't stop staring at it. I knew the real story behind it. A friend of mine held her sweet baby boy, happy to be a mother again. Looking forward to getting back into running and to finishing nursing school.
But my imagination set that aside to picture my characters and their longings, their disappointments, the depth of their pain, some of it related to the children they held and the secrets they suppressed.
Their futures–that bleached light beyond the window in the picture–were filled with uncertainty and more longing.
They, like me, were overwhelmed…but for far different reasons.
A writer's heart is often overwhelmed. He or she dives deep into characters' emotional upheavals, experiencing them in a way, in order to write about them authentically.
We're overwhelmed with joy when a book contract arrives. We're completely swept off our feet by a stellar review. Our knees buckle with gratitude when a reader connects with our story and says so, or tells the world.
But most of us who take our writing seriously find our hearts overwhelmed in an "I'm drowning" way by the workload, the press of deadlines, the constant call of one more blog to write, one more interview to give, one more proposal that needed to be completed two months ago.
A writer said that. I don't think that's coincidence.
The writer/worshiper/warrior King David knew what it felt like to be completely overwhelmed by what was required of him. Do you? That was a rhetorical question. Of course you know. It may have happened to you already today. Or you may not have yet shaken off the overwhelmed feeling from yesterday.
We're easily overwhelmed by the seeming fickleness of the industry. We're inundated with the enormity of the task of making words sing and the smallness of our voice. Our to-do lists snarl at us. When book contracts start coming in, elation is soon flooded by stubborn plots and ornery characters or by the endless list of books just releasing that seem scarily close to the theme of our own. Will ours keep its nose above water? Will we?
Some writer hearts suffocate under the smothering hand of a family that doesn't understand how writing can be a legitimate calling.
Others are overwhelmed by the reality of the large role waiting plays in the life of a writer.
But it was the heart of a writer speaking to our writer hearts that said, "When my heart is overwhelmed, Lord lead me to the Rock that is higher than I."
The same truth that resonated with King David resonates with us. Our hope when overwhelmed is the hope to which he turned.
Will we be overwhelmed in our careers as writers? Likely. It's a good thing provision was made for those moments, days, or seasons millenia ago.
Lord, we want to be overwhelmed by You, by Your beauty, Your elegance, Your genius. We want to be swept away by the joy moments in this remarkable career You've given us, by the photos that link us to characters we thought only lived in our imaginations, by readers who reconnected with You because of something we wrote…with Your help. And when our hearts are overwhelmed by the rest of it, we'll turn to You.
Reader, what verse of Scripture means the most to you when your heart is overwhelmed? Please leave your comment here.
Author and speaker Cynthia Ruchti clings to the Rock that is higher than the things that threaten to overwhelm. She's currently enjoying the flurry of activity following the release of her lastest novel–When the Morning Glory Blooms. You can connect with her at www.cynthiaruchti.com or www.facebook.com/CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage.