The story held me captive as I wrote it. No, really. It happened with None So Blind, and it happened again with Will Not See.
But while I found myself relating to Ella in None So Blind, I couldn’t comprehend the kinds of discoveries the main character of Will Not See made about her life. Add to that a life so very different from mine, and of course, I’d be drawn to try to understand what Vikki went through.
And as I did, three things stood out to me—3 unexpected lessons I loved learning as I wrote Will Not See.
1. We were designed for community.
I’ve never “met” anyone more alone than Vikki. Even Annie from HearthLand chose her lonely life. Vikki didn’t. She has no family to help her navigate these unfamiliar and uncomfortable waters.
And I just don’t think we were designed for that. We were designed for family—for community. Even David said that the Lord sets the solitary in families. God gives us community when we otherwise would have none. And that’s rather lovely.
Can you imagine it? No family, no friends, no church to help hold her up. There’s really nothing to make her want to keep going. But the Lord did that for her in my book. He set solitary Vikki in a family before she even knew Him.
Because you see, she doesn’t even have Jesus.
And that brought out a whole ‘nother thought that nearly shook me to the core. I couldn’t have planned this if I’d tried, but Ella forgot her husband, her parents, her children. Every relationship in her life—gone. Except for Jesus. Whoa. And that brings me to the second lesson I loved learning from it.
2. With Jesus, you get a fresh start.
He says we’re new creatures—old passed AWAY. But there’s a bit more… Hebrews 8 says:
For finding fault with them, He says,
“BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD,
WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT
WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH;
NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS
ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND
TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT;
FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT,
AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD.
“FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL
AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:
I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS,
AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS.
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD,
AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
“AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN,
AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’
FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME,
FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM.
“FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES,
AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE.”
When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
My favorite lines…
“I will remember their sins no more.” But isn’t that the one beauty in all of this horrible memory destruction? Though the Lord forgives—washes clean. We’re really good about getting historical with our sins. We pull them out of the grave the Lord buries them in and dust them off. We let them jab us, stab us, wound us deeply all over again as if Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t quite enough. We need to suffer just a bit more.
But these ladies don’t have that problem. THEY remember their own sins no more. How beautiful is that? Sure, they’ll blow it again. They’ll sin. But they have a week’s—a month’s—a year’s baggage to rebury each time instead of a lifetime’s.
3. Ignorance is not bliss—not always
As I wrote Ella’s story in None So Blind, I recall feeling a bit envious about not remembering my own faults—the idea that I could start over. You know, a new life Anne Shirley style—fresh with no mistakes in it.
But Ella didn’t have a seriously difficult life. She’d been a rather self-absorbed person, a flawed person. Aren’t we all?
Still, when I started writing Vikki’s story, I saw differences that made me so grateful I didn’t have her experience. Because you see, Vikki’s ignorance could have life-altering consequences. Add to that the terror that comes with knowing that you don’t know what you need to know (how convoluted is THAT?) and not having Jesus, I feel like I’d have given up on life.
Memories can hurt.
There’s no doubt about it. The mistakes, losses, failures, missed opportunities… the past can wound. And when I’ve seen people going through horrible pain due to the ugliness in their pasts, it makes sense that they could long for something to wipe it out.
But as I wrote Will Not See, I saw the other side of the loss coin. As I wrote None So Blind, I grew thankful that I hadn’t lost my memories because I wouldn’t want not to know my children—my husband. I wouldn’t want to forget friends and families.
Even if I’d had a difficult childhood, I wouldn’t want to forget ALL those memories. But that fresh start—yes. I envied it. If I could choose, I wouldn’t ask the Lord for a similar experience, no matter how much that fresh start tempted me. And it would.
Writing Will Not See did something entirely different, however. It showed me the danger that comes when you can’t remember what you shouldn’t even know. When you have no one who knows anything about you. When you wouldn’t even know how to find them if you tried.
They were unexpected lessons, and one of them was rather a hard one, but I loved them. They taught me so much.