Growing up, I heard the line, “The Lord hates a coward,” regularly from my Scottish grandmother and my parents. I’ve seen it attributed to the Bible (there are similar quotes there) but the exact wording was likely some alteration of that from some now-anonymous army commander exhorting troops.
But the origin isn’t important in this context. And it really isn’t important whether the Lord (however you conceive this entity) hates (not likely given the avowed record of love) cowardice.
What is important for me is what the line signified growing up.
My grandfather came to Canada as an immigrant, got a job, saved up the boat passage and brought the family over from Aberdeen, Scotland in the early 1930’s. It was a leap of faith and from their Church of Scotland upbringing, it was the perfect demonstration of taking your heart in your hands, jumping off into the unknown and trusting in yourself (and maybe the Lord as well.)
I grew up with that phrase and my grandparents and then my parents would say it whenever anybody in the family worried about an impending decision or change in their lives. The Lord hates a coward could be translated as “Just get on with it,” or “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” or in today’s language, “Follow your dream.”
I remember starting my online garden writing career and the sense of jumping off into an abyss of unknowns. And I wrote (writer’s notes – very valuable things for memory checking) those lines as a summary position on the go or no-go decision.
“The Lord Hates A Coward” was clearly written in those notes and in my memory
Well, Here We Go Again
I find myself in a similar creative bind again. And the similarities are eerie. I spent two years sorting out the online world while I worked as a plant salesman. And then I launched.
I’m coming up to the second anniversary of deciding to learn to write fiction and I’m moving slowly and determinedly towards that goal.
I thought I’d be able to support myself as an online garden writer within six months of starting. Wrong. In the first six months, I probably made about $2k and wound up the year at $5,000. But by the end of the second year, I was almost breaking even and paying taxes again by year four.
So two years to figure stuff out and four years to make it pay is what the real numbers were for me.
That six month review is as clear in my head as if it were yesterday. I sat staring at the spreadsheet, the projections and the actual numbers and trying to decide whether I needed to go back to work. Or, whether I could tough it out, spend a bit of the money I had made as my share of selling the nursery and survive for another year or so until my plans really worked the way I thought they “should.”
I’m working through some creative exercises every morning now using the workbook, Do More Great Work and sorting this decision out. I used this book a few years ago when I was making similar decisions about the where and how to take the gardening information websites. Found it helpful then as a guide and it’s equally helpful now.
Where I’m Going With All This
I’m jumping again. I’m not leaving garden writing entirely though – I’ve budgeted roughly one day a week for this – but it’s time to take another leap of faith and trust in that creative process that all will work out in the end.
When will I publish? Not before stuff is ready.
My Grandmother Also Said
This amazing woman also said, “Douglas could fall into an outhouse and come out smelling like a rose.” I don’t remember why she originally said this but I’m willing to go with it again.
There’s a time to stand firm and a time to jump. And this is a time for jumping off into creative adventures.
The Lord hates a coward indeed.