Is Your Life One Big, Rough Draft?
By Billie Buckley
She was a new student, and I had, obviously, failed to make the writing assignment clear.
"Mrs. Buckley, just what is a rough draft?"
"What is a rough draft? You have one in your hand; we've been working on it for over a week."
"What you need to do is take your rough draft, with all its corrections and improvements, and rewrite it before you leave."
At the end of the period the new student hurried up to me and announced with pride, "I've done it. Here's my smooth draft."
She may have been confused about the wording, but her choice of words could help us understand the need for closures in our lives.
Do you ever feel as though your entire life is one big, rough draft? Absolutely nothing has any closures. No gate to shut. No "Finished" sign to post. No smooth, completed draft to turn in.
I write, knowing that in another country the sounds of bombs are exploding. Our country is at war. Times of adversity are leaving ugly marks on the drafts of so many peoples' lives. War is no respecter of persons. It affects us all: mothers, fathers, lovers and children. I know this first hand. Because of a World War, I grew up never having an opportunity to say the word "Daddy."
How can we become part of the answers to our prayers for peace and protection for those on the front lines and their families? Those front lines may include other areas of living besides war--business failure, family feuding, health issues or the functioning of our faith.
There is a book called the Bible that reminds me, "If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls down and has no one to help him up."¹
May I paraphrase this to read, "If one gets bogged down in his rough draft, friends can help smooth it out. But pity the man who gets bogged down and has no one to smooth the way for him."
What are some practical ways we can help to smooth the rough times for those who lack closure in their lives? We can listen--listen to their fears; listen to their questions; listen to their confusion. We can listen, even though we have no pat answers.
Don't judge. Don't preach. Just listen. You don't have to be an expert to listen.
Then haul off and do something unexpected. Invite them and their anxiety over for a cup of coffee and a hug. Send a card. Write a personal note. Use the phone. Be a source of encouragement.
Next, go and find an eraser. Erase all hard feelings between you and your anxious friends. Keep in mind, they may be more argumentative and hard to get along with because of their frustration and helplessness.
On one hand, getting involved in a cause you think is noble might lead to a protest march or a rally to show support. On the other hand, getting involved with the hurts of those around you, on a one-to-one basis, may cost even more.
Dare we think of someone right now who is experiencing a bad time? Let them know you care about their "rough draft days." This might enable you to turn in a smooth draft of caring. I think you would receive an "A" on your paper for sure.
¹ Ecclesiastes 4:10 (New International Version)
Billie Buckley is a freelance writer and writing teacher. She has written a column for a newspaper for 12 years, as well as Sunday School lesson reviews for The Baptist Record. You can contact Billie through her website, http://www.billiebuckley.com