What Am I Here After?

by | Aug 20, 2018 | Faith, Writing and Reading | 2 comments |

Last week, I had an opportunity to look back at an essay I’d written three years ago. I had been so proud of it, otherwise I wouldn’t have submitted it for publication. It got rejected and for good reason. Yikes. Reading that essay was like wandering into a Bed Bath & Beyond store with no idea why I was there.

I meandered into bedding and fingered the high thread-count sheets. Then I zoomed by curtains to the kitchen department where I hefted an anodized skillet. On my way to check-out, I sighted hair products, sniffed scented candles, admired geegaws, and snagged a candy bar. Was that what I was there after? A feel-good candy bar?

Perhaps you know the old joke about people my age. A pastor asks his mid-life parishioner, “Do you think about the hereafter?” and she replies, “All the time. I walk into a room and ask myself, ‘What am I here after?’”

Apparently, my essay was after everything in Bed Bath & Beyond but the kitchen sink.

A popular expression when I grew up in mid-century United States, this cliché often referred to packing one’s suitcase with everything, a Soup-to-Nuts everything meal, or bombarding the enemy with everything you’ve got, including the kitchen sink.

At least in my essay, I had shown that bit of restraint—no sink. But in truth, I cooked up everything I could get my hands on then bombarded my reader with everything I had to say, as if there’d never be another opportunity to get stuff off my chest.


Yesterday morning, God sent this timely message from one of my online subscriptions:

Self-awareness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of our life in God, and self-awareness continually produces a sense of struggling and turmoil in our lives. Self-awareness is not sin, and it can be produced by nervous emotions or by suddenly being dropped into a totally new set of circumstances. Yet it is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him.


That’s what I’m here after. So. I’ve declared a cease fire. When I get back to that essay, I’ll unpack the bulging suitcase and cut the multi-course menu down to one central dish with a few sides. It’s okay for me to wander around in self-awareness while writing a first draft—God expects that. But in order to write something worthwhile, I must ask Him to put His awareness in me.

That’s what I’m here after. Completeness in Him.


GardenProduceAug2018P.S. This week’s picture shows our square foot garden’s harvest. More to come. God is good all the time.


  1. Emily Vickery

    This is such a good thought. I love how God speaks to us through all sorts of means – online subscriptions and all.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you for our comment, Emily. Yes indeed, we get answers even when we aren’t looking or listening for them. -C.D.


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