God Work (by Billy Coffey)

Hey y’all! For those of you coming here expecting to read a post by Billy Coffey, I won’t disappoint you. Below you will find Billy’s first “official” regular Monday guest spot for Hey Look a Chicken originally posted on May 4, 2009. Much has happened with Billy’s writing career since I first stumbled on his blog almost a year ago. To read more about that, check out Part One of Billy’s interview with Linda Yezak today over at Author Culture In the meantime, here’s Billy Coffey circa May 2009:

I’m sitting at work, keys in hand, watching the clock. In nine minutes and thirty-seven seconds, I can go home and call it a day. Though what sort of day remains in question.

My life is no longer defined solely by job and spouse. Other things have been added to the mix over the years, things like children and blogs and columns, query letters and book proposals and deadlines. And as I was recently ambushed by a few college students who bound, gagged, and drug me into the modern world of Facebook, I now have something new to add to the list of What I Need To Keep Up With.

Keeps me busy, yes. But busy in a good way. Because I am doing what God wants me to do. God Work, I call it.

My job affords me the luxury of letting me roam about in relative freedom over fifty acres of a college campus and putting me in touch with a constant stream of people who are more than happy to share what’s going on in their lives. God has blessed me with three wonderful things: a loving family, the ability to hit a curveball, and a bartender’s ear. That middle one isn’t really relevant anymore, but the first and the last come in pretty handy. Writer’s block is something I’ve fought before, but rarely now. If I’m starving for something to write, I just stop what I’m doing and look around. Something or someone is bound to happen along.

Today that someone was katdish, who emailed me and said, “Hey, since you’re so lawesome and frigintastic, could you fill in on my blog occasionally so I can go live my life? Monkey sex pornographic cheese butler.”

Well, maybe she didn’t say that. I don’t remember.

But I do remember giving her an unqualified yes. Because katdish is pretty frigintastic herself.

Even more than that, though, was the fact that I saw this as more God Work. I want to write books, you see. And these days a publisher will pooh-pooh you away with a snorty guffaw if you don’t already have a pretty substantial audience. And since my own blog traffic is just a couple steps above sucktacular, I was looking for a way to attract more readers. To me, this was God saying Alrighty then, here you go. Don’t screw this one up.

The problem was that I had to sit down today and write something semi-coherent and quasi-brilliant. Which meant I didn’t have time to mess around with anyone. No talking, no visiting. I had more important things to take care of.

I had God Work to do.

So when the nice lady on the other side of campus began talking about what it was like cleaning out the closet of her recently deceased husband, I rushed through the conversation as politely as I could and said I’d pray for her.

And when one of the groundskeepers confessed that he was feeling terrible about a fight with his wife this morning over how much milk to put in his cereal, I said a quick it’ll-be-alright and left.

And when the phone rang and a friend began talking about his wife’s pregnancy, I said I’d call him back later.

Because I was busy.

Doing God Work.

Another quick glance at the clock. Four minutes and ten seconds to go.

My post is all typed up and ready to go. Mission accomplished. And it’s decent, if not good. I should feel great about getting all of that done. But I don’t. Not even a little.

Because I’ve just realized that I haven’t accomplished anything. Not the things that mattered, at least. Living a day isn’t simply a matter of crossing things off a To Do list. It’s more than that. I’ve bumbled my day by doing the thing I thought God wanted me to do rather than the things I knew He wanted me to do.

Those lofty ambitions we have, those dreams of things we believe will make us more suitable for God’s use than we are now, really don’t matter as much to Him as they do to us. Because while we’re busying ourselves by getting ready to do some good eventually, God’s tapping his foot because He knows we can do some good now. And it doesn’t have to be as moving as writing a bestseller or speaking to thousands. God’s more into little movements: bending an ear or lending a hand or lifting a burden.

That’s what He wanted me to do today. Pounding away on a keyboard wasn’t as important to Him as listening and helping and encouraging.

That’s God Work.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have to say, I think reading my blog has richly enhanced Mr. Coffey’s vocabulary. So I just wanted to say, “You’re welcome.”

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10 Responses to “God Work (by Billy Coffey)”

  1. L.T. Elliot March 15, 2010 at 3:25 am #

    >As poignant and beautiful then as he is now. Thank you Katdish & Billy.

  2. Glynn March 15, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    >What she probably said was "monkey sex pornographic cheese butler clown." And two more words for the katdishionary – lawesome and frigintastic!

    And yes we often miss the important stuff — the real stuff — because we doing what we think is the important stuff.

  3. Maureen March 15, 2010 at 6:23 am #

    >Thank you for re-posting the First Billy. I might not have had a chance to read it otherwise.

    You honored Billy with an opportunity, and he took it and ran. What's he brings back time and again is all that wonderful God Work of writing. No excuses. Deadlines met with a singular touch.

    (And you to keep him in line.)

  4. lindayezak March 15, 2010 at 8:58 am #

    >I don't know how I missed this one when I was researching him. Terrific post, great insights. As always.

    Thanks Kat.

  5. Red Letter Believers March 15, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    >Romans 1 tells us that we often sacrifice the excellent things of God for the good things of this world. This post reminded me about better priorities


  6. ♥ Kathy March 15, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    >I think you have richly enhanced all our vocabulary 🙂 Great post

  7. jasonS March 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    >How can you not be influenced by the richness & beauty of the words and vocabulary contained in this blog? I mean, you'd have to be inhuman (and certainly unAmerican). 🙂

  8. Candy March 15, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    >God Work. We have no other reason to exist. Thanks, Billy. I'm proud to call you 'friend.' (I can, can't I?)

  9. Bridget Chumbley March 15, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    >That conversation between the two of you sounds precisely like how I'd imagine it would go.

    I missed this the first run and am very happy to have caught it this time around.

  10. JML March 17, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    >IT does sound as though you were inspired by the friggin-tastic Katdish on this one. I understand your feeling entirely, sometimes it's a battle between what God wants us to do, and where He's placed us. I guess the answer lies in some awkward balancing act somewhere. Oh man. 😀
    Great story.

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