Gleanings: Time, Dirt, and Money, and Writing

Time, Dirt, and Money was the working title of the book writer Olive Ann Burns was working on when she died. The title came from a sentiment her mother often put forth that life came down to a struggle with three things: time, dirt, and money.  I have over the years come to see the clear truth of that statement.

This morning I was up at my usual 5:30 am, going through all my routine of tea, reading, prayer, and then, 6:30 arrives along with my 8 year old grandson, and it is as if I get shot out of a cannon. I fly around to get myself dressed, cook grandson a hot meal, clear the table, and get us out the door and off to school. “Put that Kindle down…don’t let the dog out…hurry, hurry…keep your feet off the seat.” I grip the steering wheel and sort of lean forward, because we are, as usual, running late.

We come flying up to the school. There’s no Sheriff’s deputy directing traffic, and there is no traffic at all. We must be really late! “Hurry, hurry, give me a kiss and off you go.”

He pops out, and I watch him go to the door, and in it, as I always do, because somehow I think something quite vague that amounts to the fear that someone lurking in the bushes could grab him. But in he goes, and I start to drive away, when– there’s a woman at the glass waving frantically. Good thing I watched him go in. See, I tell the one who makes fun of my fears.

“There’s no school today!” the woman calls to me.

So here I am with a small boy to mind today, and errands that must be run, and bills that have to be paid, and all of it today.

Olive Ann Burns’ life wisdom pops to mind. In just the space of an hour, I have dealt with time, dirt, and money. What I do with each, how I handle them, whether I face them or run away, it’s all up to me. (I’m leaning toward running away at this minute, with grandson having a hissy fit about ‘nothing to do’.) I think it’s helpful to know I don’t have to do any of it perfectly. In fact, accept that I won’t, and get on with it. I find it great progress to see that I carved out an hour to write.

Time, Dirt, and Money, was published as Leaving Cold Sassy, an unfinished sequel to Cold Sassy Tree after Burns’ death. Thinking of it this morning, I pulled the book off the shelf and of course had to start reading. As I read of Olive Ann Burns’ courage in facing her illness and life, I find myself grateful for the time, dirt, and money countless writers have slogged through and produced wonderful works that benefit my own slogging.

God bless your valiant slogging today.



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