“It is Finished” by Anne Vincent
It is almost a surreal experience to sit in the forest at Cottage in the Woods and write the next three words. “It is finished”. Here at Easter time in my Christian Culture in Nashville, we associate those words with Good Friday, which is today actually!
It seems to be highly symbolic that as I meditate on how just as Christ’s mission was fulfilled 2000 years ago, my 87-year-old mother begins to conclude her earthly life with the completion of The Way to Stillness. Not to carry that too far for myself, however, the actual writing process over the past 14 years has persisted through the best of life and also its terrifying worst.
The backdrop for all of this is the fact that between my parents and myself, we had accumulated a virtual storehouse of writings, journals, the best of spirituality literature of all genres. So the question “Where to start?” often raised feelings of being overwhelmed, often drowning in a sea of ideas and sometimes its opposite–just blankness!
One of my mother’s (Gayle Alexander) great strengths is what she called “work simplication” in which she very simply laid out the essence of something. In my thirties and forties, I often thought that if I did not embellish, enrich, add to, what I wrote would not be enough, it might be inadequate. In the past four years as her vascular dementia has advanced, extracting the simple essence of something from her frequent confusion became one of my skills.
A metaphor for our unique collaborative process that has often occurred to me is diamonds peeking out from mounds of tangled crystal beads in a jewelry box. Each section of The Way To Stillness, whether “Service”, “Unconditional Love”, “Dreams” emerged slowly from legal pads of notes, hours of taped conversations with her, black bound earlier drafts of the manuscript.
At first glance, I couldn’t quite believe it was of value enough to extract and include in the actual book. Upon examination however, it was my mother’s voice and intent shining through her determination and handicaps, much like her difficulty in articulating, as shown in my dream on p. 76.
Precisely one year ago through a series of channels (I call it serendipity), I was guided to Amy Collins MacGregor of The Cadence Group. Amy opened up a whole new world to me providing the assistance I needed with final editing, cover design, all the elements needed to make this book a reality during Gayle’s lifetime. While I had always thought we would grow the book organically by word of mouth in our hometown of Nashville, Amy provided tools such as this blog tour, regional and national campaigns, ways to get the book reviewed, and more. This will make it possible to reach out to the larger world – connecting and reconnecting with other souls seeking their own way to stillness.
Anne Alexander Vincent, Ordained Minister of Pastoral Counseling, is the Owner of Cottage in the Woods, a licensed ministry center of the National Christian Counselors Association. She is completing her PhD in Clinical Christian Counseling through the NCCA. With more than 30 years of counseling experience, she has completed her 8th year of intensive training under Dr Patrick Carnes, PhD as a Certified Multiple Addictions Therapist and Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist and with the International Trauma and Addiction Professionals as a Trauma and Addictions Therapist.