It’s early for a Saturday. My body has slipped right back into teacher sleeping rhythms since I started back working at a school. I don’t mind because the early rising gives me quiet moments. I ease out of bed and go to my chair, book in hand. My book! The first hard copy arrived yesterday. Before then, it was a picture concept on a screen. Now, it’s real! I feel the weight of it in my hands. It is thicker than it was in my imagination and I am taken with the fact that I am the one who wrote every word. Wow. I wrote a real book, y’all!
I run my fingers over the cover like a blind man reading braille for the first time. The glossy jacket is silky smooth and Dad’s photo delivers the message I had prayed that it would, ‘There is hope in these pages.’ I picked that particular picture because of its peaceful, soothing mood. Water to the thirsty. I used a preset template and I had to get creative to get that photo to work, but it was worth it.
Like any book I read, I open the pages to get acquainted. I find I am already intimate with the contents. I decide to come at my browsing with the eyes of a reader, and to ignore any beginner formatting issues I might see. The title page stops me in my tracks because my name is on it. My name. Right there. I am amazed to see it, even though I am the one who put it there. The copyright for the year 2020 gets me, too. Of all the crazy things that have happened in 2020, I wouldn’t have expected this book to be one of them. The year which will be one of the hardest endured in history, will also contain some monumental personal history for me, a book published. It is the silver lining to the 2020 cloud.
When I pass the dedication page, I think of all who have endured hardship and longsuffering. I pray again that this book will be meaningful for them. Written on the next page, is the core scripture which inspired the title of the book long before there was a pandemic. In fact, when I felt the unction to write this book, I had no idea that before I finished it the world would be turned upside down. However, God knew that the words he gave me would be needed for this moment in time. It was written for such a time as this.
The preface is next and gives my explanation of how and why this book is written from God’s point of view. I am happy with what it says. The introduction also brings a smile to my face because it expresses what I want to say to my readers.
I make it to the body of the book where the actual daily entries begin. I peruse the pages, just soaking in each one. The date is at the top of each page, along with the scripture reference followed by the entry. Some days the entry is longer than one page and spills over to the next. While at first this seems like many pages of wasted space, I imagine that these pages are the ones where my readers will write their notes. I picture a copy of my book with tattered edges, highlighted passages, and notes written throughout. This image brings joy to my heart.
As I am moving through, I stop at today’s entry to read the whole thing. It is about the Breath of Heaven and it is applicable to my present circumstances. Again, I am amazed at how something I wrote previously, can apply now at this unprecedented time. I sit with the words and let them wash over me. I take it all in before moving on to the end pages. I thank God for the words he poured out to me previously which were for then, but also for how they continue to have meaning now. Sometimes, it feels as if I am taking dictation when I write. The majority of the entries in this book felt that way as I penned them.
I turn to the back and come to the epilogue. The purpose of an epilogue is to tell what happens after the story. In a novel, it tells you what happens to the characters in the future. An epilogue is a rare thing in a non-fiction book. Yet, my thought was if my readers are characters who are changing and developing through life, they might want some closure as to what happens in the future. It is a departure from traditional non-fiction, but as I read it here in print, I am glad I included it.
Looking over the acknowledgements one more time, I am struck with how many people in my life helped make this book a reality. If any one of them hadn’t done what they did, this book wouldn’t exist. I am overwhelmed just looking at the names. My heart beats with gratitude.
On the about the author page, my face stares back at me. The woman in the picture is smiling at me as if she knew all along I could do the big work of publishing a book. Her face also seems to know that this will not be my last one. She is proud of me. I am proud of me, too.
The sense of accomplishment I feel when I close the book is overwhelming. There are grateful tears welling up. It almost makes me want to start another one right away…almost. Like childbirth, it is too soon to talk about another. There will come a day, when I will pull out another manuscript and begin again. But, let me just enjoy this one for a while first.
Y’all, I WROTE A BOOK!! It’s real!