Thursday, July 8, 2010

Because Living in Hope Beats Living in Fear

After thirty months, I have come to the end of the biggest writing project of my life: a 200-year-history of Massachusetts General Hospital (left, in its original form, the Bulfinch Building). Tuesday, I brought the manuscript to the copy editor, all 213,000 words of it. While I have a thousand loose ends to tie up (epilogue writing, photo editing, caption writing, etc.), I have begun to scan the horizon and ask: What's next?

I have nothing in prospect, nothing definite anyway, certainly nothing with the heft of the MGH book. Where that project has provided a large portion of my income since the beginning of 2008, the bits and pieces of work that I know are in front of me for the rest of this year and next will provide relatively little. Twenty years ago, the situation would have worried me, terrified me. Today not.

There are rational reasons for fearlessness: I have been a writer of private memoirs and organizational histories off and on for these twenty-plus years. My name is “out there.” The phone will ring. And probably, when I get the office cleaned and the loose ends tied, I’ll do some networking too, and that will “pay off.” But meanwhile, I haven’t even a twinge of worry, not even when I wake up in the middle of the night.

Why do I experience hope instead of fear? Because I really, truly believe (I must, I wouldn’t feel as I do if I didn’t) that the Lord will provide. Give us this day our daily bread, we ask, and He does. While I clean the office and put out feelers for other work, the real effort I can and wish to make is to put Christ at the center of my mind, my heart, life. Then everything will take care of itself, or rather He will take care of it. Not because I deserve it or because I am somehow special, but because that’s what He does.