There's a particular energy which comes from the momentum of a big creative project approaching fruition. It's a combination of excitement, anticipation, glee, eager nervousness, hope. Above all, hope. Hope that this prayerbook reaches the people who need it. Hope that I have made something worthwhile, something of use.
I scroll through the draft, admiring the product of countless hours of work. I discover a new image I want to include, dash off an email asking permission to reprint, teeter at the edge of my chair until that permission is granted.
I spend hours learning to use online image-editing software so that I can take apart the cover (designed for a left-to-right book) and reconstitute it for a right-to-left printing. Then I ask an actual graphic designer to do it better.
It's a little bit like anticipating a birth. So many months (or in this case, years) have gone into growing and shaping this creation. Soon it will be born into the world, and people's response to it will be beyond my control.
I go through phases where the project consumes me, and all I want to do is read it and reread it. I proofread again, searching for typos, making sure the internal page references are all correct.
I look back through correspondence and silently thank God again for everyone who agreed to let me include their work for free, because they believe in the project. I hope the project will live up to their expectations.
I try not to imagine the project's reception, or who will use it, or how it might speak to the people who use it -- and of course I fail. All I can think about is seeing this book in someone else's hands, hoping ardently that it is enriching their prayer experience. There's that hope again. It fills my chest as the presence of God filled the mishkan, displacing everything else.
And maybe no one will ever use what I have spent so long shaping. I need to be okay with that, just as when I put a poem (or a collection of poems) out into the world. How can I be okay with that? But becoming okay with that -- that's part of the work, too. This is my offering: to God, to community, to whoever thirsts. And it's almost done.