Guess what? I got a phone call from a fan! eeeeekkk! I did, from a real fan! I saw stars, my head started spinning, and my chest kinda puffed out a little bit. A man who actually read my book (Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club) called me to say he enjoyed it. And so did his mother. I was elated – surprised, but elated. Actually it was a humbling experience because it has been a while since it was published. I didn’t purchase a marketing package when I self-published with IUniverse because I put all the funds I could muster up into publishing the book. That was it. Tapped out. But I was happy with that. My goal was to tell a story that was rolling around in my head bumping on the inside of my skull to get out. And I was able to accomplish #1 on my bucket list. For me, it isn’t about the money I coulda, woulda, shoulda made. Trust me, I would have been happy to make a lot of money, but realistically speaking, I wasn’t going to hold my breath. I think my first royalty check was for – ummm- $31. Are you suitably impressed? Perhaps if I had purchased a marketing package I would have done better. Who knows and who cares? All I can tell you is that phone call from the fan made a huge impact on me. And not for the reasons one might think. It was because of the impact my book had on this man’s life. Yeah. Let’s talk about a humbling experience!
So it went like this: I had contact from this man some time back. He heard about Secrets from someone I knew and wanted to read it. I was more than happy to send him a copy. When he called me the other night, it was to tell me he loaned it to his mother before reading it himself. And now that he was nearly finished reading it, felt compelled to tell me what it meant to him. At this point in the conversation my heart stopped. What was going on? He was struggling to control his emotions. Through the phone line I could hear him choking back the tears that rendered him unable to utter the words his heart wanted me to hear, the very purpose for his phone call. But he needn’t have worried. I heard him loud and clear and my heart was moved. How could it not be? A forty something grown man going to pieces because of something I wrote? Unheard of. Plenty of women have told me they enjoyed the book. A couple of men told me they enjoyed the book, but hey, they are related to me so they kinda have to say that. I’ve had a ton of wonderful, great reviews with the exception of two: one said don’t waste your money, another said it must have been written by a 14 year old. Haha! I let it roll off my back. But I digress. Back to the fan. When he was finally able to gather himself, he said “I am that gay boy”. He said I nailed it on the head regarding the ways he identified with my book. He said he finally found someone who understood what his life was like. I was floored. And humbled. And thrilled. His reaction was something real, something more than I ever expected. What did I tell him? I said that if for no other reason than for him to read my book, I was glad I wrote it. And glad I fought to save enough money to publish it. For one person to have such a strong reaction is more than I ever dreamed of. Accomplishing #1 on my bucket list turned into something more.
Let me take this one step further. I’m going to involve God in the equation. I can say this for certain that He does know the desires of our hearts and longs to see them fulfilled. That’s not just for me, but for all. If the desires of your heart fall within the perimeters of His will for your life, He will stop at nothing to see that your heart is fulfilled. I know that to be the truth. Of course, sometimes our desires are outside His will for our lives. I’ve had that happen before too. I wanted to be – , I wanted to have – , I wanted to do – . but you know what? Growing in relationship with the Lord changes things. The more you get to know Him, the more you want to know Him. And then the more the desires of your heart change. They quietly kinda slip to the back burner until one day you discover that the desires of your heart include, first and foremost, that all you want is to do is His will! To follow Him closely, snuggle up under His arm, and allow Him to be God to us. In retrospect, it would seem that the desires of our hearts make a path straight to His heart and His desires for us. It opens a way for us to learn how to love and grow in love. That’s His message, isn’t it? To love always? That’s the way I see it.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to properly assume what God is thinking these days. Did you watch the Republican Presidential Debate last night? Good Lord in heaven! The topics alone will bring a saint to their knees. ISIS, abortion, gay marriage, social security, jobs, immigration, building a wall separating the United States and Mexico. Oh, then there is balancing the budget, Hillary bashing, Obama bashing, bashing each other. One thing I found interesting is that, when pressed, pretty much every candidate declared a strong belief in God. I liked Ted Cruz’s answer when asked if, because he’s a Christian, God speaks to him. He said yes, on a daily basis, God speaks through the Bible. What a beautiful thing to say! I seem to recall that later he went on to say that God wants us to love one another. Well. How do you like that? I was waiting for the gay bashing to take place. Thankfully I was wrong. I’m so tired of it. I’m tired of all this hating. I’m not even remotely related to God so I can’t say what His take is on it, although I have seen all the scriptures concerning the “abomination”. I’m tired of people looking at gays and lesbians as if they have two heads and three eyes. What’s the matter, don’t people understand God loves them as well? We are all His people, His love! Why get all freaked out and homophobic? (disclaimer: I am married to a homophobe, yet I still love him with all my heart.) I say we should all reserve our judgment for worse things, like abortion, war, murder, starving children, etc. And then, in love, do something about those instead of working to make certain people feel like less than they are. Amen?
Pray for peace, people! The world needs your prayers!