A black and white cartoon my mother cut out of a magazine twenty-some years ago is still etched in my memory. A seemingly apprehensive young woman was about to step onto the scale. The caption read, “Please God, please! Let me weigh 110 and then everything in my life will be perfect. ” I can still hear my mother giggling.
While there is no working scale in my home, and I haven’t frequented church since high school, the cartoon stays with me. Throughout my life, I too have found myself pleading, “Please God, just let this happen, and then everything will be all right.”
On the elementary school playground it was, “Please God, please, don’t let me be the last one picked for kickball.” In high school, “Please let Dave Matherson fall in love with me,” which ultimately was adjusted to a more attainable goal, “Please just let him see me,” because THEN, like that woman, my life would be complete. The pleading continued into adulthood--considerably fewer requests made with more maturity. I have called in a few on behalf of my children. “Please God, please, just this once, let her score the winning goal.” If that one little thing happened, well…then everything else in her life might fall into place.
Most recently, I called in a big favor. “Please God, help me find an agent for my children’s picture book.” After two years of promoting myself at conferences, through email, and by snail mail to no avail, I decided I needed to call in the big guns. (is it inappropriate to refer to God in this manner?) In August of this year, my wish was granted--I signed with an agent. Now that I had an agent, I reasoned, my book will be published and life will be very good.
My expectations have been adjusted because my book hasn’t yet found a home. There have been many new opportunities, along with some more waiting, some very good feedback, and a few rejections. Close to Christmas, an editor at one of the publishers on our list expressed excitement about my manuscript--enough to pitch it to her staff. The pitch went extremely well, she said. And then, days went by and… nothing. That familiar feeling crept up, a nagging that couldn’t be squelched. “Please God, let this be the publisher for my book.” I tried reasoning with this impulse. How many favors can I safely call in? Is this really the last one? Maybe because of the large handful of trite requests, I am all out of favors. Or maybe God didn’t plan on responding because my well had run dry--the big one was GETTING the agent.
The publisher didn’t take on my book. But I hadn’t called in the favor either. I decided to save it. Because I know the right publisher will come along. And when that happens, EVERYTHING in my life will be perfect.
*Image via Creative Commons License
Leslie Martini is a freelance writer, newspaper columnist, and blogger. She holds a Masters in English Literature and works with students from 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills. In addition to weekly columns in the Marblehead Reporter and Patch, her work has appeared in Northshore Magazine, Boston Globe’s Lola Magazine, Motherwords Magazine, and a book entitled Thin Threads. She is currently working on her first children’s book entitled That Cat at the Algonquin Hotel.
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