In the past couple weeks I’ve been grateful to participate in two book signings. I learned something new from each one of them—about myself, about God. I don’t know quite how to articulate those lessons, except to say how humbling it’s been to lift my art before these people. I told one friend that I feel like a beggar, holding out my bowl for a few lifegiving coins.
I’ve discovered that the local Christian Book Stores are carrying Playdates with God, but mostly I’ve had to call around to ask other stores to stock it. Some of the local shops agree to carry it on consignment, but the larger stores, like Books-a-Million will order it from the publisher.
It’s been surprising to see which stores share in my excitement and offer help generously. Some have never returned my phone calls, though I have followed up repeatedly. I think it has something more to do with the quality of the staff more than any company policy. I’ve found that in those places where books are dearly treasured and the staff themselves dip into writing, I am made to feel more welcome. One young clerk at the BAM in the Barboursville Mall said to me, “We love writers!” Her eagerness to help after many telephone calls that yielded cold rejection made me want to weep in gratitude. It’s hard not to take these things personally and let discouragement crowd out joy. The experience has made me resolve to help others as much as I am able. How tenderly we hold the works of our hands and hearts.
Last weekend, I was at Empire Books in Huntington and I was grateful for something that happened while there. My husband had set me up with one of his smaller amps and a microphone so that I could read excerpts from Playdates with God.
For the most part, everyone continued shopping and milling about the store as I read. A few people came by and sat down to listen, some stood nearby and I could tell they were paying attention by the way hands would still over the stacks. One young man approached me after I read the trampoline story and introduced himself. He shook my hand and told me he loved jumping on trampolines—naked. I assured him that I was fully clothed when I had my adventure.
But my favorite? Two little children who were shopping with their mother. This little boy and girl were standing in the checkout line behind mom when I began reading. It was almost like a magnet drew them over to my little table. They both left their mother’s side and floated to me, stood right in front of me, keeping their eyes fixed intently on my face as I read. They were my best listeners all afternoon. I’ve never seen such concentration. I was reading from the chapter on Sabbath and the little girl was especially enthralled. Their mother finished making her purchases and stood by the door watching her children watch me. When the children realized it was time to go, the little boy nudged his sister and ran off to mother’s side. But the little girl? She lingered. Finally, she backed away from me, toward her mom, never taking her eyes off of my face until she reached the door and left.
I saw so much of myself in that sweet child’s face. Her presence was a gift. God used her to remind me the beauty he has entrusted me with—the loveliness of sharing a story.
I’ll not forget that any time soon. But if I do, I know I can trust God to send a sweet reminder once again.
Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us: