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Irony, Solitude, Vocation, and Bob White Quails

The Week that Was

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It was more than ironic.

I spent two days in the culinary capital of the United States: New Orleans.

And I have no appetite for their wonderful seafood, soul food, po-boys, and beignets.

We saw our doctor(s) at Tulane Medical.  They had “good news and bad news.”

Good news: none of the tests show any conclusive evidence of any disease or condition.

Bad news:  they have no specific diagnosis of why my illness has lingered.  The plan is to follow a strict diet for the next month and then go from there.

Because I continue to be sick (chronic diahrrea, weight loss, diminished appetite) I’m a little discouraged with the situation.

But DeDe and I know God is in control and this will work together for good.  We have the twin promises of Romans 8:28 and Genesis 50:20.

Keep holding the rope in prayer for us.

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I’m reading a fascinating book,  The Art of Work by Jeff.  It’s about finding one’s calling.

We normally think of vocation as our job but the quote above refers to the deep calling we feel in our soul. It may include our job and it may be separate.

I often ask myself two questions:

1. When do I most feel the joy of God?

2. What must I do or die?

I answer those questions with one word:  writing.

I think I understand God’s calling for this season of my life:  write.

Write and tell stories that encourage.

Share tales that challenge and connect.

This transition time from Africa to the US is a part of the journey where I’m trying to figure out how best to use my call of writing for the Kingdom of God and to connect with the hearts of readers.

My biggest challenge is determining whether this involves fiction, non-fiction, or both.

 

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Another challenge is how to approach my writing.

I’m a Southern rural writer.  It’s who I am.

Also my personal faith is in my writing.

Am I a Christian writer who writes book

or a writer who writes Christian books?

Let me be clear:  my reason to write (and live) is for the Kingdom of God.  My life verse, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God . . .” is more than just words.

I cannot write without including my personal faith in Jesus Christ as God’s Son.

It’s who I am.

At the same time, God has granted my writing favor among the secular world.  For some reason, my words don’t come across as preachy but helpful.

One of the highlights of my week was a visit from Trinity Ritchie. She presented me a copy of her new book.
One of the highlights of my week was a visit from Trinity Ritchie. She presented me a copy of her new book.

 

 

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I’ve enjoyed being in the silence and solitude of my native Dry Creek.

The birds, pines, crickets at night, long walks alone, lightning bugs, a Great Horned Owl’s call at dusk.

I’ve been reminded of the difference between silence and solitude.

Solitude involves being alone.  

You’re by yourself.

Silence is the art of being quiet.

Being in a quiet environment.

Something that never happened in Africa.

Whether in the city or bush, you are never away from people in Africa.    PA systems everywhere: the Muslim prayer call, amplified all night Friday night prayer meetings, community announcement PA at 7 am,  all night woofers from the nearby nightclub.

Africa. So surprising.

No solitude.

Little silence.

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You can have solitude without silence.

I walked Clayton Iles Road yesterday (1 mile each way).

It was a walk of solitude.

I grabbed my headphones to listen to music as I walked.  Then my heart caught and I put them away.  I needed silence to go with my solitude.

I was rewarded for this.

A male quail called out,  “Bob White.”

I stopped.  It came from the field near Tommy and Gail Miller’s house at the corner of Iles Road.  My friend Tommy died of a sudden heart attack while I was away in Africa.

That quail made me smile and I surmised Tommy did too.

Soon another quail answered from the L.D. Spears melon patch.

I knew I was home.

It’d been years since I heard a quail.  They are a rare sight now in the piney woods.

But in my solitude and silence, two quail welcomed me home.

 

"Louisiana Birds" by Dr. George Lowery, is the classic work on the birds of our state.
“Louisiana Birds” by Dr. George Lowery, is the classic work on the birds of our state.

 

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About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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