I closed the lid to my laptop, putting it to sleep for the night. Sleep is what I needed, too, but I doubted I would get much.
I pushed my chair away from the desk at the head of my bed, turned off the lamp, and crawled under the covers. I was tired of trying to figure out where I fit in this world of writing and editing and marketing. What was my purpose? Did anyone care what I had to say? Why on earth had I spent the last two hours struggling with rules governing comma placement?
I wasn’t the only writer who struggled with the issue, but knowing that didn’t help. How many critique sessions had I participated in where writers wrestled with where commas fit and when they were better left out?
I knew how the commas felt. I wasn’t sure where I fit or if it would be better for everyone if I left the world of writing to others. I closed my eyes. Commas marched like sentries across my mind as I drifted into a fitful sleep.
I heard whispering and opened my eyes.
“Punctuation marks aren’t supposed to leave the page. We’re going to get caught.”
I blinked and slowly pushed myself onto one arm just enough to peer over the edge of my desk. A dozen commas had assembled near its center. I could not imagine where they’d come from. One perched on my paper clip holder; another balanced on a pen. One was curled against my cell phone, and another was hanging apostrophe-style from the spiraled edge of a notebook. The lead comma, at least two font sizes larger than the rest, called them to attention from his position on top of my desk lamp.
“The meeting of the Commas for a Cause support group will come to order.”
I held my breath and listened.
“We’ve called this meeting to give us all a safe place to voice our feelings. It is a confusing time to be a comma, and we need each other now more than ever. Who wants to start?”
The comma perched on my paper clip holder was the first to speak. “It’s all this texting and chirping or whatever it’s called. Who’s going to waste a valuable character on a little old comma?”
“I knew our days were numbered when they started eliminating serial commas,” replied the comma balancing on my pen.
“Now they don’t even want us in between adjectives in a sentence,” said the comma curled against my cell phone.
“They treat us like extra punctuation.” The comma hanging from the spiral notebook swayed back and forth as it spoke. “Most people don’t know why we’re still around.”
I could hold my breath no longer. A loud sigh escaped my lips. I shut my eyes, trying to make sense of what I was seeing. When I reopened them, the commas were gone. All was still and quiet.
Had I been dreaming? Had all the proofreading and editing finally made me snap?
I pulled myself from bed and returned to my desk. I needed my tablet—where had I left it? I spotted it reaching from the pages of my Bible.
I opened to the page my tablet marked. My eyes fell on Matthew 5: “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house . . . Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
I paused. Could it be as simple as that? God had created me to shine his light in whatever room he placed me. No matter where the room was, how many people were in it, or whether I felt like I had any light to share, my job was to shine.
God promised to pay attention to the details. I may not be a jot or tittle in his Word, but I was part of his plan. While my words were certainly not divinely chosen, my place in his story was.
I crawled back under the covers. I had been feeling small, insignificant, and unneeded, just like the commas on my desk. I was never sure where I belonged and when it would be better to just hang back and stay out of the way. But God was the Master Editor. He knew the purpose for every jot and tittle, and he knew the purpose for every piece of punctuation he had created. Even if I was only a simple comma in his plan, I was included. He knew where I fit, whether I did or not. I could rest tonight knowing that God would place me wherever he knew best. Period.
Scripture from Matthew 5:15-18 KJV
Bonnie Rose Hudson lives in central Pennsylvania. Along with spending time with her family and writing, making kids smile is her favorite thing to do. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She loves creating curriculum and working for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, as the site’s executive editor. At TOS, she found a place where her love of God and history combine with her love of writing to bring encouraging, educational, and entertaining material to students and their families. She would love for you to visit WriteBonnieRose.com to discover how you can write for the homeschool market.
3 thoughts on “Do You Ever Feel Like a Comma?”
Oh, Bonnie – I SO needed to read this today. Thank you!! I smiled all the way through and nodded my head at the end. God wastes nothing and uses everything. Even us commas. 🙂
BTW, I adore the Oxford comma.
Pam, thank you so much for your note. God has to remind me of this all the time. So glad it was an encouragement. God bless.