by E. Claudette Freeman
The day had been exhausting. There was one client’s psychic character; another client’s character battling (and losing) his mid-life crisis; trouble with books in production and I was pondering the start of my next book. Let’s not even mention the single mother and household duties that included chasing the dog that believes it is her responsibility to run out of the door every time someone opens it. By the time I snuggled up to the warmth and comfort my three pillows provide, all I wanted to do was dump everything in the divine locker assigned to me and dive into the sweet manna that slumber provides. Why was that not the case? My head was literally hosting a conference for the array of literary projects that compromise my work day and I needed them all to go home or at least get out of my head. I wanted to have a mindless moment so that my dreams would not be intensely interactive. The conference merely temporarily adjourned so that Ole Maker (as Zora Neale Hurston calls God) could have a little chat with me.
I rested my head on the pillow, wrapping my rather robust pecan-tan arms around it and closed my eyes. No sooner than I felt my eyelashes tickle my face I heard a voice say, “It’s 1140.” I thought nothing of it. It could have been 11:40; I had been watching a repeat episode of Frasier. The voice said again, “It’s 1140 time.” Okay, I returned my eyes to the open position and grabbed my cell phone from the book case next to the bed. 11:08pm. It was not 11:40. The voice spoke again, “It’s 1140 time. Will you push through the 11 or turn around and relapse towards 40?” Instantly, I recalled Televangelist Joyce Meyers’ biblical message that morning. She emphasized that it took the people that Moses was leading 40 years to make an 11 day journey.
Why was that important? Why was I being drawn to this obvious truth in my life – was is time to make an 11/40 decision? Of course it was, because the interrogation was the invitation to a tremendously trying few weeks for me professionally and personally. Would I be faithful enough to stay the 11 day course or would I let the tears and the pain of the process prolong my intended blessings. I remembered the first time this question was posed to me in a real life occurrence.
I was heading to an appointment when the strangest thing happened. I pointed my Mazda north and about a quarter of a mile from my apartment the car made a strange noise. I was startled (car troubles freak me out.) I turned around and went back to the apartment complex. Like a dutiful driver, I checked the tires, looked under the hood and even got on the ground and looked under the car. Nothing looked wrong or out of place. I headed north towards my destination again, at the same spot the car made the same noise. I turned around yet again. On the fourth time (yep I was on a merry-go-round), I said, ‘let me just keep driving if something happens, I’m on a local road and I’ll be okay.’ When I kept driving on the fourth cycle, something said, “Look back.” The sound was not the car, but a small pile of gravel in the road. That’s why the noise occurred in the same place each time. I ended up being an hour late to an appointment that was 20 minutes away from my home. 11/40!
Isn’t it funny how we inadvertently, or as I like to say with eyes wide closed, choose to take the journey that will take 40 years as opposed to 11 days? We do it because we get stuck at that one spot on the road. We do it because we fear moving forward will be detrimental. We do it because perhaps going back seems to be the safe or comfortable thing to do. We do it because we hear the sound of potential trouble resounding in our life. We do it because we never consider that the process of the journey may present some challenges. Thus when the challenges arise, we turn around and look for some reason or excuse that is not there, when we should continue in a progressive fashion.
Don’t misunderstand me - the 11 days can be just as difficult, challenging, harrowing and even as filled with traumatic events as the 40 years. The difference is how you process, press and pursue through of all of that to your purposed promise distinguishes whether the storm will blow for 11 days or 40 years. Think about it – is the thing you have sought only delayed by your fear, distractions, disobedience, or unfaithful commitment to self? I encourage you to do something that may seem very elementary, but try it for the sake of you. Draw a clock and make the time 11:40. That means the little hand is on the 11 and the big hand is on the 8. On the face of this clock truthfully explore which timetable you are on, the one that moves you to the top of the hour; or the one that leads you back to the bottom of the hour. On the face of this clock write out the things that represent gravel on the road, the safe or comfortable places for you to run back to, the things that you have not done or are procrastinating about.
In your 11/40 decision are you moving counterclockwise? With each thing you write, look for its intrinsic cause. For instance if your timetable is moving counterclockwise because of fear – what is the thing that triggers the fear? Is it past failure? Is it unworthiness? Is it finances? Is it your relational environment? What is it? Once you identify the intrinsic cause, determine what and how you can break away from it and move forward. Perhaps it is through prayer, or connecting to a mastermind group or counseling – whatever works for you. But do it! What time is it? It’s 11:40? How much more will you prolong the journey?
Word Stylist E. Claudette Freeman is an award-winning playwright and novelist. As the creative force behind E. Claudette Freeman Literary Services she works with aspiring authors in a coaching, editing and ghostwriting capacity; while facilitating literary empowerment workshops in different venues across the country. She is the author of the novels Sheltered Deliverance (available on Kindle and Nook) and When I Danced with God (in progress); and the journals: The Morning Hour, Fabulous You Power Nuggets and If I Write It, It Can Heal. Visit her website at: www.eclaudetteliterary.com