This morning I picked up a book from a shelf in the living room that I dedicate to writing books. A year ago or so I went into an area at the library where they sell used books as a fund raiser. I bought The Writing Life by Annie Dillard, published by Harper & Row, Publishers; New York, NY. Annie Dillard copyrighted it in 1989. I bought it because it looked interesting. Later, it was listed in another writing book as a book writers should read. So, I was glad I bought it. It’s a fun, serious book. Her wordplay delights the wordsmith in me. 🙂
Inside the front book cover on the leaf it starts out, “In a surprising narrative, Annie Dillard describes the working life of a writer. These are vivid and ironic encounters at a desk.”
Those sentences made me want to look inside. The day before Thanksgiving, I had pies to bake and beds to make. My husband sat in his recliner chair eating brunch and watching a comedy sitcom. So, I joined him in the living room, eating my brunch, reading this book and watching television. I felt so relieved when he turned it off. I told him it was sucking me in and I had stuff I needed to get to.
My pie crusts are like puzzle pieces straining to connect. My youngest daughter said, “Mom, they always look like that. The insides taste great though, and that’s what counts.”
I smiled and then as my husband turned to YouTube for yet another kitchen appliance tip, I got reminded by him that if I wanted to improve my pie crusts, I could always find a demonstration on YouTube. His turkey is prepped for the morning, with all the fresh spices and a lemon and onions in the interior. Butter everywhere. We’ll see if we like it.
I listened to the Bible while preparing the pies since I didn’t get an early start to my day, as I mentioned above. 1 Thessalonians is where I started, and I might have finished at Hebrews. I listened to Paul admonishing believers to work or they shouldn’t eat. He made mention of refraining from arguments. Then he talked about being hospitable. A lot of points got mentioned, but I thought the few that got highlighted to me really hit home on the eve of a holiday. My daughter invited a single mom and her two young boys to our full house tomorrow. Then she said something about inviting another single mom and her little toddler boy.
She said, “It’s funny, when I lived here, I didn’t feel so free to have people over. Now, I just tell them that we’re eating at mom and dad’s, come on over.”
When we talked about the difference, part of it is because God has changed me, I told her. If things weren’t completely tidy, I was embarrassed. One afternoon listening to Dr. James Dobson on Focus on the Family some years back, he said the reason people don’t open their homes to their neighbors and friends is because of pride. That resonated with me. Pride is a downfall. I’m not perfect by any means, but when she told me she’d already invited the families, I checked with my husband, and he was okay with it, and then I gave my okay. Avoiding having people over because my furniture is getting old or I have some clutter on the kitchen table made for some lonely days in my younger years.
If you’re alone for the holidays, maybe you can bless someone else who is alone or participate at a food center. One year in the city, our young family helped the church we attended provide Thanksgiving meals for hundreds of people. My kids said that was the best Thanksgiving they’d ever had. Our church does a Christmas meal for anyone who wants to show up. If the attendees can bring a side dish, that’s great. If not, come along anyway.
May God bless you this November day.