Ms Malibu, my trusty wheels, underwent general maintenance and a major tune-up immediately prior to setting out on the tour. Hoping my gas mileage would improve after that considerable expenditure, I decided to figure mpg throughout the trip. I did the math once, forgot to the next time, wrote down numbers to get back on track, but then, oh, dear, drove away without a receipt and couldn’t remember how many gallons I’d pumped. So, I gave up, admitting that I didn’t really care that much anyway. “Quality is way more important to you than quantity,” my right brain reminded me.
Not that the two are unrelated. It’s just that attaching a value to an experience based solely on how much or how many or how long is only half of the picture. The half I find least interesting.
One of my favorite poems is Madeleine L’Engle’s “Let us view with joy and mirth/all the clocks upon the earth…” She draws strong yet whimsical contrast between human time and God’s time. Those opening lines often come to me when I sense too much emphasis on numbers, too much measuring and valuing them, too much quantifying.
A life view holding quantity and quality in proper balance is a mercy in the book business. At one event on the tour, only two people—a delightful mother and teenage daughter—exhibited any interest in Sunday by Sunday. Their purchase was my only sale. Less lucrative than I wished, but that conversation no less special.
To be sure, I’m not just sour graping or making lemonade. I wouldn’t be able to keep going with my enterprises without a steady response and big scores on occasion. But I don’t ever want to miss blessings that are not reflected in attendance or sales.