Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Dipping the Quill Deeper: Figuring Out the Days of Our Lives

by Eva Marie Everson

Like sands through the hourglass . . . so are the days of our lives. 

Do you remember those words? If you grew up in a certain era and your mother was a homemaker, you probably do. They were spoken at the beginning of the daytime soap opera, Days of Our Lives, by actor Macdonald Carey. They quoted Socrates who said, “Our lives are but specks of dust falling through the fingers of time. Like sands of the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”


Finding this quote caused me to sit up straighter than usual. Our lives are but specs of dust . . . Doesn’t my latest book, Dustaddress this notion: are we just dust? 


I remember slowly waking in my childhood bedroom, the sun streaming through the cotton curtains with yellow and white flowers splattered across the fabric. There could be no sleeping late in a room of such brilliant light. But I laid there, sometimes for long minutes, watching the dust skip and dance through the rays and prisms, wondering where the tiny specs had begun and where they would end, trying to follow just one.


If Socrates was correct, then there is no beginning and no end and no purpose. I don’t believe that. While I may not know where those specs of dust began, I do know where they ended: on a dust cloth wet with lemon-scented Pledge. I so don’t agree with Socrates that I spent two and a half years writing a saga to prove it. We all have value. We all have worth. What we do with that, consciously or unconsciously, is up to us.


And God.


Recently, a trip to St. Louis was interrupted by an old friend of mine, Epstein Barr Virus. I’ve pretty much kept this rascal under control for thirty years, but it dropped by to say hello just before the trip and decided to wear out its welcome. I cancelled the trip to entertain Mr. EBV. Alerting friends and colleagues that I wouldn’t attend the much-anticipated conference resulted in one of the colleagues (who also knows Mr. EBV) to contact me. She asked if she could possibly interview me for her show, Reach to Touch with MJ. I told her she could. And she did.


And it got me to thinking (a sometimes-dangerous thing). As I recalled my story, I told the host that my EBV had begun as mono right about my 16th birthday. On a Sunday (my birthday was on Tuesday). The night before, my parents had thrown a party for me and then, on Sunday morning, I woke with a headache. But, like all good Christian Southern girls in 1973, I got up, got dressed, and went to church where I continued to nurse this bugger. I made it home where I took my temp (102) and then downed a couple of aspirins (because my friends were coming over and we were going to go motorcycle riding). And, yes, I went for the ride. Came home and collapsed into bed. The next morning was the first day of school and, although miserable, I attended. But by Tuesday—happy birthday to me—I couldn’t get out of bed. Within a week, I was in the hospital. I was one sick puppy.


A year or so later, I became sick again, but my doctor ruled out mono. He couldn’t say what the virus was, he could only say that I was sick. After a week in the hospital, I returned home. Then, about two years later, I wound up in the hospital again, this time sicker than sick. My parents were called in and told to prepare to say goodbye. Fortunately, we didn’t have to have that conversation.


A full decade passed plus a few years on top of that. By now I’m a wife and mother. I worked full time and had an active social and church life. I came home one afternoon and said to my husband, “I don’t feel well.” I decided to take a short nap and, as I say to wrap this story up with a bow, “I didn’t get up for five years.”


Naturally, I did get up, but the next six months were spent in doctors’ offices and labs. I grew sicker and sicker. More and more tired. My symptoms were a conglomerated mess that seemed to have no rhyme or reason. Finally, I was diagnosed with EBV—incurable but treatable. 


In the interim, I returned to an old love of mine—reading. And with each completed book, I humbly declared, “I believe I could have written that.” You see, I had another old love, one that I’d basically kept hidden for years: writing. I wrote short story after short story but, other than the hubby, few knew. 


I started writing again. And I got involved with this small group of five who were determined to help each other with their writing and with publication. That number grew and, in time, became Word Weavers International of which I am the president. We now top 1,000 members and my days are spent predominately helping writers at various levels. 


So the interview made me think back to that Sunday morning in 1973 when I woke up with a headache that wouldn’t go away and a fever I refused to confess to. You see, Mr. Socrates, I believe God was at work, even then. He knew that one day I’d need a reason and a way to stop what I was doing in my Type-A-Personality life. A reason to stop long enough to rest and read and pick up the pen again. Long enough to get better and find a writers group. And then, He opened a door to the world of publication . . . knowing that I wouldn’t go alone. That my heart would yearn to help others. That Word Weavers would be born and that my role would be what my role is. Even as I lay in one hospital bed after the other, God saw what would be when the right time came. 


Specs of dust? I don’t think so, although it makes a great title for a novel. Sands through the hourglass? They are fleeting, for sure, but in God’s hand and in His timing, they do more than count the hours.


Eva Marie Everson is the president of Word Weavers International and the director of its two conferences. She is the multiple award-winning author of nearly 40 works and has received awards as a speaker and Bible teacher. Eva Marie is often seen at writers conferences across the States. She served as a mentor for Jerry B. Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild for several years, and taught as a guest professor at Taylor University in 2011. She and her husband make their home in Central Florida where they enjoy their grandchildren. They are owned by one small dog and a princess cat.


  1. Eva Marie, even in your struggles, you are a warrior. You are an inspiration and a blessing!

    I understand the shadow of living with an illness. My seizure disorder has been my constant companion since I was in my teens. Most recently, the doctors found a lesion in my brain that affects me physically and cognitively.

    You are so right! God is in control and is by my side. He uses my situation to minister to others with similar issues. I would vote for this to disappear, but God knows what I need to shape my witness for Him.

  2. Loved this post, Eva Marie. Sometimes I wonder why God didn't have me writing sooner; I didn't start in earnest until finishing out 20 years in the elementary classroom. But then I remember: God doesn't waste a minute. All we experience and learn will become a part of our writing. Your life is an example of that. Depth comes from suffering. Thanks for this timely reminder! Thank God that He is at work in us constantly, with the intent of us bearing fruit. Even when we are flat on our backs!

  3. I really needed this today. Being reminded that God is involved in every aspect of our lives, even the painful ones, is a message straight from Him. Thanks for being the messenger.

  4. Eva Marie, thanks for this message straight from your heart to ours.

  5. You continue to inspire me every day. Hugs.

  6. Thank you so much, Eva Marie Everson. I needed the reminder this week when arthritis pain made another unwelcome visit.