Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book - Soon to be a Reality

I looked out the window to see lots of butterflies - monarchs and swallowtails everywhere, floating in the air and hanging upside down on the flowers. I think they gather in the late afternoon for their daily round-up of nectar - like we meet each other after work for a cup of coffee. In trying to give a name to this gathering of butterflies, I am told it is a "flutter" of butterflies. My first thought was that it is a "festival of friends" or a "choir" or a "company" of dancing butterflies. But flutter works. It means to wave or flap randomly - irregularly. Like the heartbeat of someone newly in love. Jittery, a little nervous, and pretty exciting.
It is not unlike my own feelings today as I take the final steps to make the book that I have written a reality. Hard to believe that three years ago, I began writing little updates to let family and friends share in the painful journey of the illness and death of my daughter. I continued to write after her death in September of 2008. In 2009, I "fluttered" at writing, flapping around irregularly, struggling with "how to write a book." I attended a writer's conference. I spoke with lots of knowledgeable people. I wrote and rewrote and threw away. Then in January of 2010, I committed to finishing the story and publishing it. By the middle of February, I finally felt I had written the story in a way that said it best. I then began to ask for help with the editing process from people I trusted and respected. Little by little, a book began to take shape. With the hand-holding of many people, it is done and ready to go to press with the title:
When God Comes Near
Waiting in the Miracle of His Presence
It is a story about hope. It is a story about faith when life falls apart. It is a story about choosing to believe in a God who was often silent, but always present. It chronicles the experience of receiving an incomprehensible diagnosis and waiting sixteen months for it to destroy the earthly life of beautiful 27-year-old Megan. And as the waiting continued, the writing progressed and wove itself into a thing of remarkable strength that helped me in my disbelief and despair.
As I say on this blog, I always wanted to write a cookbook. Well, this is hardly a cookbook. But my good friend reminded me that it really is in a way. He said it offers a recipe for walking through one of life's greatest hurts. Step by step, the book takes the reader from kicking and screaming in disbelief, to finding acceptance, and on to the discovery that suffering can be transformed into honey for others. Maybe that is what the book is - a small, transforming piece of hope that others can hold in their hand and read, discovering that they, too, can find hope and meaning through the valleys of life.
I continue to find quotes in Megan's papers. B.J. Hoff, the historical fiction author said, "I have learned to measure the ultimate strength of suffering, not by how much hurt it can inflict, but by how much of God's grace it will call forth." I look at the finished book, remembering all of the hurt, and yet, discovering the magnitude of God's grace that has been called forth throughout this time. Now I know that is the reason for writing and publishing the story. I hope you will read it and share God's grace.