1/30/2012

Have I Done My Best?


I never finish a book. Not even if I had all the time in the world. 

Whenever I re-read any of my published books, there is always a turn of phrase or a group of words that I wish I had written differently—to express the idea better.

My new book on retirement (13 chapters in all) is due tomorrow.

October was my first deadline so I completed the manuscript then.  But for some reason or another—editor's schedules, for one—it was postponed to the first week of January. Between October and the new deadline, I revised and re-wrote it for the nth time. 

Then came another postponement: last day of January—tomorrow.  

Guess what I have been doing? Tweaking and twisting again and again, and printing every revised chapter over and over, in case I missed some errors on the monitor. I have so far used up two reams of bond paper and two black-and-white printing ink. 

But I keep celebrating, too. There has not been a day that I didn't thank God for the grace of guidance in choosing my words. Every other day I treat myself to either roasted chestnuts (they'd be gone anytime now that Chinese New Year is over), or a saucer of pomegranate seeds covered with dark chocolate (a gift from my cousin Minna), or a cup of Earl Grey tea (a gift from Beng, my editor).

When do I say, “Enough!”?  When my editor says, “Please send the manuscript NOW.” 

In the workplace, my former boss used to stress, “The work is never done.” One must always find ways to improve it.

In my own workplace, the work is really never done.  I believe that those who have committed themselves to a ministry must always ask themselves, “Have I done My Best?” 

As I now fiddle with my manuscript some more before tomorrow's deadline, I sing the hymn “Have I done My Best for Jesus?” that asks the same questions I ask myself when I write:

“I wonder, have I giv'n my best to Jesus
Who died upon the cruel tree?
To think of His great sacrifice at Calv'ry
I know the Lord expects the best from me.


Chorus:

How many are the lost that I have lifted?
How many are the chained I helped to free?
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
when He has done so much for me?  


2 comments:

Yay Padua-Olmedo said...

It's a relief that we have the Holy Spirit to teach and give wisdom. Writing a book is like being in a constant state of labor, until your editor says, "We're going to press." Thank God for grace to keep going.

Grace D. Chong said...

Sometimes a book hits a snag even after going to press. We really have to depend on the Holy Spirit to guide us.