Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Promises to Keep

by Nicole Seitz (

I just dropped my kids off at a creative play summer camp. No big deal. Three hours in the morning to draw, pretend to be sharks and superheros...three hours for Mommy to get some work done. But alas, today, my three-and-a-half-year-old son was glued to my leg. I could not pry him off and walked around, stumbling, teetering like a weeble-wobble. Not only that, but I was parked in a spot that, say, maybe I shouldn't have parked in. I needed to drop the kids off and exit. Quickly. But this was not in the cards today.

After ten minutes or so, I resorted to what many parents lovingly refer to as "bribery". This word has such a negative connotation, so I prefer to think of it as "promises". A promise of something better. A reward. Sounds much more positive, more hopeful, less seedy.

It is HOPE that keeps us going when we feel like clinging to our mother's thigh.

Last night, I attended a talk and slide show by the amazing Brett Lott whose new book, Ancient Highway, has just been released. At the point for questions, I asked him how his faith plays into his storytelling. Lott said that as a Christian, his faith is all about hope, the promise of something better, and as such, his novels happen to be about hope. Not that they are all roses and happy endings, because life is not that way. But hope is a common thread in his writing.

I think people like to read books that have hope in them. We search for things to hope for. We like to believe there is HOPE at the end of the day. I think hope for something better, to be able to get through trials, is what makes life worth living.

Have you ever known someone without hope? Can you think of anything worse?

To lose hope, there is no use going on. Ah, but with hope, we can do almost anything. With the hope of finishing, feeling that satisfaction of having done it, I can and will meet my challenging next deadline for my fourth novel. Though some days are teeth-pulling, hair-graying, days of distraction and nothing on the page, I will persevere. The promise of what's waiting at the end is what keeps me going when my well seems dry.

I just hope my son has stopped crying by now and started enjoying his morning at camp. Sheesh, I'll pick him up in two hours now. Which means I only have an hour and a half to finish this post, write book four and paint a new cover for book three before I must leave for the store and get promised treats for my kids. Promises, I tell you. Not bribery, but Hope. I'm sure any good parent would do the same.

Hope is a lot like faith for me. My faith in God keeps me going when I'm low on gas. I know there's something better, something after, just around the corner. Sort of like a lollipop and the promise of the Aquarium. My son knows Mommy will keep her promises to him. He'll soon learn he can get through anything because there is someone out there who loves him unconditionally and will give him hope for something better.

So what are you hoping for today? Find something to hope for. Hold onto that hope. It'll keep you going through anything.

Nicole Seitz is the author of TROUBLE THE WATER and THE SPIRIT OF SWEETGRASS. Her next book, A HUNDRED YEARS OF HAPPINESS, is due out in March 2009. Today, she is busy writing her fourth novel and painting the cover for book number three. Contact her through her website:

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