Living in the shadow of a giant
is not easy. It makes one feel small, insignificant, and those feelings
can breed a sense of futility and resentment. A giant’s shadow is hard
to get away from; a giant’s footprints are huge and deep. As a writer
living north of the United States, I know what those feelings are like.
I have to battle with them regularly.
I am told the only way to
success is to break in to the mammoth U.S. market. And if I want to
sell my work there, I must use American spelling and avoid referring to
any “local” idiosyncrasies or even cities in my own country. A plethora
of books from the U.S. flood into my country, and I wonder if any room
exists at all for an indigenous voice.
Writer Don Marquis once said,
“Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the
Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.” Sometimes it seems that trying
to publish in the United States is just as futile. Yet, I am called to
write and therefore to publish, and publish broadly. I can only assume
that God wants what I write to be read. For some reason He thinks my
voice and the voices of thousands of others in this wide world are
They are significant not just
because we have done our apprenticeship and reached a level of skill
and expertise, but because God wants to use them. We are His children,
unique in the universe and He has a purpose for us—for every part of
us, including the words in our minds and hearts, those unique words
that we put into a computer and send out, with fear and trembling, to a
The expression of that
uniqueness, when done with pure motive, honors our Creator; therefore,
it is not only fitting that we do it, but also it is commanded.
1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each one
should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully
administering God’s grace in
its various forms” (NIV). What
a form of God’s grace to be extended to others, no matter how
insignificant we feel under the shadow of the giant, no matter how
small the audience may be.
Don Marquis’s quote could leave
those of us living in the giant’s shadow with a sense of futility
unless we know there is an echo, even if it is the infinitely small
sound of a rose petal falling in the Grand Canyon. The smallest of
echoes has meaning when it is an echo of our Creator’s purpose.
So we in the giant’s shadow must
toss our rose petals to the winds, scatter them with prayer and
thanksgiving both on home and on foreign soil. We must believe that one
day they will take root, for they are significant in God’s economy.
Through His Spirit and by His grace, they may even change a life.