Monday, 18 May 2020

SHOULD I BE A PACHYDERM?


I had thought the boy was abusing his elephant by calling him a pachyderm, but no. An elephant is a pachyderm. So is a rhino and hippopotamus. It refers to an animal who is thick skinned.
So why should I wonder if I should become a pachyderm? Because I am tender hearted and much too vulnerable. If ever I sense rejection I seem to end up in the Slough of Despond.
But I am a writer. A writer is going to have to face rejection. Someone  implied that it was pride that moved people to send their poems into the Seaside News. Little did they realise how much courage it took, for you are putting your head above the parapet and likely to get shot at.
We writers are a little like parents sending their children to school for the first time. I loved teaching the reception class but sometimes it wasn’t just the children shedding tears. But soon enough tears were forgotten for the joy of new adventures in their lives.
And as authors, yes, there may be disappointments, but encouragements too and if our gift and calling is truly from God, we must press on and share it.
I have never forgotten the joy of my first short story being published, eventually leading on to the first novel. I was confident this too would be accepted, but no. I was wallowing in  a pit of self pity until my husband came along to rescue me, not with more pity but a reprimand. ‘You had better give up writing if you are going to behave  like this.’
So, was I going to write, even if I was never published? Would it be enough that it gave me (and my husband) and God too pleasure? Yes!
A few weeks later this same book became the first of others to be accepted and published. Yet here I am, almost forty years on, to find myself yet again, rejected and  in the Slough of Despond.
And so yet again I need to remind  myself that I will write, if is only for my and God’s pleasure. Indeed, God is keeping me well content in this great ‘lock-down’ as I continue to write, with and for him, and I am reminded that  some of the best sellers received many rejections before they were finally accepted.
So, do I need to become a pachyderm? Should I become more thick skinned? I don’t think so. While I envy those who easily shake off any rejection or hurt, I think God  has given us a special ministry to the sensitive and hurting because we can feel their pain.

We don’t need to be thick-skinned to be protected, for like Christian, in Pilgrim’s Progress, we have been given armour; not just our shield of faith and sword of the spirit, but our helmet of salvation, belt of truth and of course our wonderful gospel shoes. We all need to make sure there are no chinks in my armour, and that we keep out of the Slough of Despair.
 And, whatever our gifts, may we all share God’s pleasure as we follow his individual calling in our lives.



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