Soon it will be a national day of Thanksgiving, but for Christians every day is such a day.
It’s lovely to say Morning Prayer watching the waves of the Pacific Ocean wash against the rocky shores of this coast. And I always include the Te Deum, that powerful prayer of praise and thanksgiving attributed to fourth-century Saint Ambrose when he baptized Saint Augustine of Hippo in the Milan cathedral.
It’s been a productive week, in spite of the tendency to gaze out to sea and be mesmerized by the undulating waters off the coast of Maui. My husband and I are in our gentle years, as they say, and our activities are somewhat circumscribed by age, fatigue, and illness, but we’ve taken slow walks along the coast in our thick-soled trainers and felt the heat of the sun burning through our shirts and hats. It’s been warm here, surprisingly warm for November in this region of Hawaii, and there has been little rain. We look for shady places and read and write and ponder this brief passage of time in our lives.
My fourth novel, Hana-lani, is in its final editing stages with my publisher, OakTara, and I have hopes to see a copy by Christmas, and further hopes to have the book available to the public in January. Hana-lani is set on Maui, in the village of Hana. It is a love story and deals with themes of American culture, particularly the definition of love, the role of tradition, the importance of family in society.
Also in very early progress is my fifth novel, The Magdalene Mystery, set in Rome and Provence. Just finished the first draft, and now for the fleshing out, the deleting, the next fifteen-plus drafts reworking these sixty-four thousand words. It is a carving process in many ways, a whittling down but also a building up. And, as in my trilogy of Western Europe, there are Chapter Notes and facts to be hunted down and verified. Sometimes I think writing a novel is like a great puzzle, and since I love words, it is also a great deal of plain old fun, figuring out where to put them. I also love ideas, and the perplexing nature of faith, and novel writing gives me the chance to swim in these seas as well, these pools of theology and history and art, considering the nature and purpose of man. In short, the meaning of life. No small task I suppose, but nevertheless riveting.
So we walk and we read and we write, watching a few puffy clouds move over the vast expanse of ocean, hearing the distant roar of the waves as they crash on the beach and onto the black rocks of porous lava, spewing foam into the moist air.
And I say my prayers of petition, intercession, confession, thanksgiving, and praise, listening to the sound of the surf.