Wednesday, March 31, 2010


By: Tessa Afshar, author of the upcoming novel, Pearl in the Sand, released in September 2010

I have an impressive talent. I can lose anything. Sometimes, it’s unimportant things like the shopping list I spent twenty minutes getting exactly right, disappearing just before I go shopping. Other times, I manage to lose precious things, like the gorgeous, wafer-thin watch my brother gave me for graduation. I am capable of making things vanish with more alacrity than a bar of dark chocolate would disappear in the hands of a jilted woman. My latest work of genius involves losing my favorite FILA workout clothes. I have no clue where they could be. It’s not as if I have the kind of life style that could remotely explain losing one’s clothes. If misplacing things was a talent the world appreciated, I could make a decent living out of it.

Once Os Guinness was speaking at our church and I was assigned to act as his hostess. After seeing me in action for a couple of days, he told me the story of his Oxford professor who one day, standing in the middle of a rotunda, looked with puzzlement at Os. “From which door did I just exit?” he asked.

Os pointed behind him. “That one, Sir.”

The Oxford don nodded sagely. “That means I’ve already eaten lunch.”

Os told me that professor reminded him of me. I smiled in agreement. No use getting defensive when faced with truth.

So when I was working on my novel Pearl in the Sand and the pages started mounting, I realized that my thumb drive was in clear and present danger. Where could I put this more-precious-than-gold item of technology housing every word of (to me) irreplaceable manuscript? I knew this was too important to handle alone. I had to ask a friend for help. Fortunately Jane was very willing to humbly stoop from the heights of genius and give me a hand. The fact that she is an action figure is beside the point. Nobody’s perfect.

Part of this forgetfulness is essentially the way I am made. It’s in my genes. My mom, for example, lost her children in public places. Fortunately someone honest always found and returned us safely. But it’s not merely a matter of heredity. It’s also my life. There’s simply too much in it. Work, family, friends, chores, bills, housework: it all adds up to a monumental pile – a veritable mountain. My brain cannot hold it all in. I make lists to make myself remember, only to misplace the list. And lose my workout clothes.

I don’t think I was designed for this pace, even though our culture venerates this unreasonable rhythm and calls it a good work ethic. So this Lent I decided to take God seriously about a Sabbath. I have committed to taking one Sabbath day off each week. I use the day to be still before God, to meditate and pray and rest. I do nothing that feels to my heart like work. I fulfill no expectations. I write no lists. I chase after no chores. And it’s amazing how good my memory becomes on those days. Sort of like the thumb drive of Pearl in the Sand sitting so securely in Jane’s hands, once a week, my memory rests in the hands of a God who covers my gaps and rests my soul.

Photo by: 
Christine Richenburg
Dovetail Design


  1. So glad I am not the only one! Just yesterday I was searching frantically one-handed through pockets and purse for my car keys, balancing the takeout order in the other. I decided to put the bags and drinks on the trunk to devote both hands to the search when I heard that familiar metallic clink. Oh yeah. I took them out before I grabbed the food. This was to avoid the frantic, hands-full at the car door search. (sigh)

  2. loved this - so wise and funny. Just what we've come to expect from the fabulous Tessa Afshar.

    More please!

  3. You are definitely not the only one, Denise. For that matter, I should probably count as two!

  4. Atessa jan. You still look as beautiful as always and remain a woman of substance, intellect, and faith. Good luck on your new book.


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