I’m reading The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey. It’s a zombie apocalypse story with a twist. As I read, I’m highlighting clever phrases that strike my fancy, motivated by the vague notion that one day I’ll turn to them for inspiration when I write that book I keep thinking I’ll write.
As with most everything I do for pleasure, I’m reading the book on my phone. It makes highlighting, note taking, and perusing the markups I make super easy.
What struck me about the quote above is how the author was able to capture urgency, priority, clarity, and purpose all in one sentence fragment, rules for writing be damned. The words say to me, “If I am not successful in accomplishing this one thing right now, nothing that follows will matter.”
That’s a powerful idea. Are there now-or-never moments that require decisive action? I believe there are. Some are obvious. I think of swerving a vehicle to avoid a collision, or taking a cake out of the oven when the timer expires.
Other crucial instances are much more enigmatic. If I say something, what will be the response? More often than not, there are too many variables to make a prediction. Frequently, I think I know without a doubt the way things will go, only to be surprised by an unimagined conclusion.
If I leave something unsaid, what possibilities will be forever out of reach? Hesitancy, silence, or inaction at just the wrong moment can say more than an entire book of words. How are we to know, all at the same time, all of the time, the where, the when, and the what required to meet the if-this-then-that order on which our existence is built?
If not for forgiveness, grace, and a higher power [I call that power “God”] who is working constantly for the best of possibilities, I would freeze in a perpetual state of indecision, which itself carries an admitted outcome, and is not a rewarding way to live.
May I have the wisdom to act decisively when living requires action, and may I give and receive grace when actions fail me.