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The airplane in my garage

A man down the street from me seems to be building a small plane in his garage, or maybe he’s refurbishing an old one. I can’t tell from a quick drive-by. It’s just the skeleton of a fuselage. No skin, no wings. I catch a glimpse of it every couple of weeks when the garage door is open. Once in a while, it’s outside on the driveway. It never looks like much has changed, but I suppose he’s making progress and learning a lot about plane-building.

I’ve never actually seen him working on it, though. Maybe it’s not a man. Maybe it’s a woman or a couple of bored kids. (Have you read Bored, Nothing To Do by Peter Spiers? Great picture book about a homemade airplane. But I digress.)

My neighbor must field a lot of questions. “Why are you building an airplane? How long have you been working on that thing? You really think it’s gonna fly one day?” Some of his friends and neighbors probably laugh at him, but I won’t because it hits a little too close to home. I’m building my own flying machine. Not in my garage, but at my computer.

My friends and family ask me about my writing, often. Most of them ask encouraging questions. Some are more skeptical: “How long have you been working on that thing? You really think you’ll sell a book someday?” Yes, I do. I’ve had some successes (see my earlier posts about the ACFW conference if you want details) and I’ve learned a lot about book-building.

I’ve also learned to ask “why” of myself. Why am I writing this particular book? Why am I the one who should write it? Why am I writing at all? Why fiction? Can’t I do something more practical than telling stories? Can’t I at least bury worthwhile sermons in them?

Well, no. Sorry. Because God gives me stories, not sermons. It’s kind of like the Olympic runner Eric Liddell, who felt God’s pleasure when he ran. I feel God’s pleasure when I write stories. I love to write them, love to read them.

Why is my neighbor building a plane? I bet it’s because he loves to fly. When he gets his flying machine in the air one day and buzzes the neighborhood, I’ll wave and cheer for God-given dreams and perseverance. Then I’ll go back to the airplane God gave me. One day, it’ll fly.

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