Whispers of Guidance

Cover of May/June 1987 Alive Now
Cover of May/June 1987 Alive Now -- the first issue I worked on as Assistant Editor

This week I paged the January/February 2011 issue of Alive Now. “Paging an issue” is when the editor sits down with all the potential copy (poems, quotes, scripture, stories, etc.) and the theme (“Living in the Present” — in this case) and decides what goes on what page.

I was trying to get this task finished all of last week and, instead, ended up doing quite a bit of “housekeeping.” I put up pictures in my office, cleaned out files, and alphabetized all the Upper Room books on my shelves. Then on Monday morning of this week, all the chores completed, I faced the task of paging the issue.

I had a bad case of “Editor’s Block.” After working on the web for 14 years, paging a printed copy of a magazine seemed so — permanent. On the web, it’s easy to take something down or change it if you don’t like it. Not in print. What gets published is ink on paper.

I started thinking about wandering around the building and visiting with people. That’s when I remembered Mary Ruth — my boss, mentor,  and editor of Alive Now when I worked there in the 80’s. She must have faced the same thing. When it was time for an issue to be paged, Deen (the Editorial Assistant) and I waited with expectation. Once Mary Ruth completed her task, we had a whole bunch of work to do — picking out photos, typing copy, sending permissions requests, etc. But until she paged the issue, we sat around watching the deadline approach … watching the deadline pass. And where was Mary Ruth?! She was not at her desk! She was off wandering around the building again.

So, now I know … I’ve got a new understanding of Mary Ruth’s “wanderings.” It’s a daunting task to pick what goes into the magazine and on what page it will be seen. It’s a holy moment; a time to be open to the Spirit — listening hard to the whispers of guidance — even as we wander the building, stare out the window, or compete a few housekeeping tasks.

Creating God, guide this task, these choices, that these ideas and words and paragraphs would become instruments of your grace in the form of a magazine. Amen.

4 thoughts on “Whispers of Guidance”

  1. I know a lot about those kinds of wanderings when I’ve been faced with deadlines the past two years as I work toward my licensure in special education, and eventually another master’s degree. While to some the wanderings may seem like procrastination or avoidance, I know your “wheels are still spinning” as you turn each page over in your mind. My prayers are with you as you make your final decisions and I look forward with much anticipation to the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Alive Now:) Blessings and Peace be with you!

  2. Hi, Lynn,

    Thanks so much for the prayers. It is true, isn’t it, that wanderings and ponderings can seem off topic. But they are a part of the process. I often refer to it as “percolating.” I get so far into something and then I have to let it set for a while.


  3. Beth – I remember when Mary Ruth was “wandering” and you and Deen were “wondering” how the issue was going to make deadline – but all good things are in God’s time!! and always inspired! You will do the same inspired issues – so percolate on.


  4. Charlene — Thanks for remembering with me. Percolating is definitely a “God’s Time” activity. Thanks for your good thoughts.


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