“It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” – James Thurber
Isn’t that a great quote?
As a reader and a writer, I understand the need to have questions answered.
So Many Questions, so Few Answers!
We all begin reading a book with many questions. What is this about? Who are the characters? What will happen to them? What obstacles will they face and overcome? How will this end? At the end of the book, if it’s a book worth reading, those questions are all answered to a satisfying degree. Unless the story ends on a cliffhanger to be picked up in the next book, we are unsatisfied if we don’t have answers. We want and need more. We need all the answers.
Life is a journey on which we grow, learn, discover, and become. We begin that journey with many questions. Who am I? What is my purpose? What should I do? Where should I go? Where will I end up? The questions are large, small, simple, and complex; and often, the answers we discover lead to more questions. We long for answers and tidy endings, but life is not a book!
It’s good to go through life asking questions, but we don’t always need answers. In fact, we should have more questions than answers. For once an answer is known, the journey is over. The search for answers is what keeps us moving forward.
All my characters are searching for answers. I believe that’s one of the things that makes them real to my readers. They are often on the same life’s journey that many of us are on–a constant search to discover who we are and what we are meant to be doing.
Where Can Answers Be Found?
Think about how many self-help books there are out there. How many articles and podcasts and Ted Talks about finding yourself, knowing your purpose, or discovering the meaning to life. We are surrounded by authors, psychologists, doctors, talk show hosts, podcasters, journalists, and more who purport to know what we’re seeking and where we should look to find it. They all claim to have the answers!
I’d like to propose that many of those books should be tossed out, articles ripped from the seams of the magazines, and recordings silenced! We all have inside of us the one thing we need to discover the meanings of our lives and the directions in which we should be heading. All we have to do to find the answers we are asking is to have faith and learn to pray. Through faith and prayer, we can discover our paths and find the answers.
We need to open our eyes to the gifts and talents God has given us and learn to use them, and use them well. We need to seek deep inside and find what we are good at, what we are passionate about, and pray about what we are to do with that knowledge, those skills. We need to keep asking questions and keep looking for God to answer them.
I will admit, this isn’t easy. It’s taken me all my life–over fifty years– to find my path and discover answers to my questions. And I’m not alone. In fact, it’s the number one most requested retreat topic I offer. We live in a world in which we are so surrounded by so much noise that we can’t hear God calling our name and don’t know which way to turn to find the right answers and the right path.
There All Along?
The truth is, we all have a calling, and we all have a path that has been laid out for us. It has always been there, waiting for us to find it, to ask the right questions. It’s up to us to discover the path and up to us to choose to follow it. God will not force us to do anything we don’t want to, but He will lay the path and give us clue after clue, prompting upon prompting, and sign after sign. We can look for and acknowledge them or pretend they don’t exist. There is always an answer to our question. We may not like the answer, or we may not be prepared to accept it, but it’s always there.
Don’t get me wrong. Even when you find the path, you will still have questions. But the longer you follow your path, the more answers you will receive. It’s won’t always be easy. Sometimes the path will be clear and obvious, paved and lighted. Other times, the path will disappear around a bend into the darkness, and we must find our way to the light. Those are the times the answers aren’t readily apparent. Those are also the times when staying to the path, is the most rewarding. Those are the aha moments we have when we look back and see the answers so clearly, we can’t figure out how we missed them along the way.
Called by Name
This weekend, I will be attending and selling my books at the WINE Conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with my youngest daughter, Morgan, and my best friend, Tammi. I’m looking forward to being inspired, to meeting other women hoping to discover their paths and have their questions answered, and to talking to women about how I can help them along their journey. The theme of the conference is, Called by Name.
So many throughout the Bible were called, some by name. God called out to Abraham, Jacob, and Moses, using their names twice to get their attention, and I wonder how many times He has to call my name because I’m too busy to pay attention (Genesis 22:11-13; 46;1-4; Exodus 3:1-10). I think of Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:4 who was called by God but didn’t recognize that it was God calling him. How often do we hear the call but don’t realize it’s the voice of God? I lovingly recall Mary Magdalene weeping at the tomb, asking the “gardener” where Jesus’s body was. It was only when the man addressed her by name that she recognized it was the Lord (John 20:11-16). How often have I stood and looked at something without understanding that it was God trying to get me to see Him? I remember with tears and elation when was I knocked down and blinded by God’s call as St. Paul was in Acts 9:1-9, shaken to the core when it dawned on me what God’s plan for me is.
You see, at some point, each of us is called by name. If we listen and turn toward the voice calling our names with an openness and readiness, we will see our paths illuminated before us, littered with the answers to our questions. Yes, there will be twists and turns and many crossroads as we continue to question the way, but the path is there, and so are the answers. All we have to do is be willing to follow the path wherever it leads us and continue asking for answers.
Meet Amy in Person!
January 28, 2023 7:30am-3:00pm – Our Lady of Mercy Church, Baton Rouge, LA
Amy will be a vendor at WINE: Baton Rouge. Women In the New Evangelization and the Diocese of Baton Rouge invite women of all ages and stages to refresh their hearts at the WINE: Catholic Women’s Conference on January 28, 2023. The theme of this year’s conference, inspired by Hebrews 6:19, is Anchor of Hope.
Join women from across the Diocese of Baton Rouge (and all around the country) for a conference filled with inspiration, faith, fellowship, and fun!
Be a Martha and a Mary!
January 30, 2023 9:00am-11:00am – Jesus the Good Shepherd Church, Owings, MD
Amy will be speaking to the Walking With Purpose study group about how we are meant to be both a Martha and a Mary. She will have books for sale at the end of the talk. Contact Amy for more info.
Setting the World Ablaze – a women’s retreat
February 25, 2023 9:30am-5:00pm – Mary, Mother of God Parish, Harrison, AR
Amy will be giving a retreat for the women of the parish. She will have books for sale at the end of the day. Contact Amy for more info.
March 4, 2023 8am-4pm – Chesapeake College, Wye Mills, MD
Amy will be presenting a workshop titled Write What You Know. the workshop will focus on\ how to write a more authentic and readable novel by writing about what you know – the people, places, and events that have shaped your own life.
The 26th annual Bay to Ocean Writers Conference will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2023 at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, MD. Organized and sponsored by the nonprofit Eastern Shore Writers Association, BTO is dedicated to helping writers improve their craft by providing first-rate educational sessions and inspirational tips across a variety of writing genres. Registration cominig soon!
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. The Good Wine, the sequel to Whispering Vines was released in June of 2021. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s chapter book is The Greatest Gift, and her most recent suspense novel is Summer’s Squall.
Amy’s second book in the Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, was awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019. Amy’s book, Desert Fire, Mountain Rain begins her new Buffalo Springs series. Book two, Under the Summer Moon, was released in December of 2021.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020), The Good Wine (2021), Under the Summer Moon (2021), Meet the Saints From A-Z, A Child’s Introduction to the Saints (2022), Seeking Tranquility (2022), Sapphires in Snow (2022).