Good resolves and productive envy

by MW Cook

You’d probably never be able to guess what my favorite book is. Knowing me, you might assume it would be one of the sci-fi masterpieces like Ender’s Game or Dune (both of which were great, especially the latter). Or maybe you’d think I’d go for a fantasy epic like Wheel of Time. Then again, maybe you’d think I’d be down with the modern literary fictions like Kite Runner (which, yes, blew my mind). Or maybe you’d assume I’d give the godly answer and cite a theological work or something by the puritans or CS Lewis. Those would all be good guesses, but you’ll never guess what book I name the favorite.

So I guess I’ll tell you…

Actually, I think I won’t. I’ll make you guess. First one to guess my favorite book wins a smiley face. And if you guess the second-favorite you might get a prize as well.

Now, I read this favorite book of mine about two years ago. And when I put it down I had seriously conflicting emotions. The first was a thrill at reading something so beautifully crafted. It was exhilarating to finally sink my teeth into such a juicy, thick piece of literary meat. But it was also depressing. You see, at that time I was halfway through a pretty hefty writing project and I was just feeling like it was coming together. But when I read this book I realized that, next to it, my work was a piece of donkey dung: very common and worth almost nothing. I stopped writing for a while.

I eventually picked myself up, though. I got back on the horse. You know why? I wanted to be like the one who wrote that book. No. I wanted to be better, in my own way. I wanted to present something to the world that would showcase my worldview in a form that was oozing with skill. And I think I wanted it for Christ’s sake (and my own, too).

So I resolved. I finished my project. It’s still nothing compared to my favorite book, but it’s a step in the right direction. My next work also won’t be worthy of sitting on the same shelf as my favorite, but it’s another step. And one day, who knows? Maybe some dumb kid like me will hold something that’s flown off of my fingers and invent a good resolve with it. And maybe someone will know Jesus a bit better. Who knows?

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