“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.”
― Ernest Hemingway
On a freezing cold afternoon here in Virginia, I had a few moments to myself. I grabbed a blanket, checked Amazon Prime for an instant movie, poured a cup of hot tea, and sighed, “Ahhhhh….” Breathe.
I picked up my knitting needles, thinking I’d knit and escape for a little while. But, a few moments into the random movie I chose, “The Answer Man,” I was intrigued. I even had to put down my needles. Ignoring the expletives that freely flowed (big warning: it is full of them), the storyline follows a hugely successful author, Arlen Fader, revered because of his bestselling book, “Me and God.” Hailed as a spiritual guru, he is really a hermit with no life or relationships. He’s a miserable wretch and his life is anything but heavenly. It’s actually a mess. His various attempts at finding God, again, leave him even more hopeless.
Until, he meets several key characters.
One character, Chris, a young man recently released from rehab, encounters “The Answer Man” and as chance would have it, slowly wears him down. Through a series of events, a friendship begins between them. The young man owns a failing mom-and-pop bookstore, owned by the boy’s alcoholic father. I won’t ruin it by telling you what happens, but in one particular conversation, Arlen’s new girlfriend (yet another character helping change Arlen’s life) asks Chris,
(Imagine a soft melodious tune playing in the background)
“So, do you like working at the bookstore, The Book Trader?”
It is Chris’s answer that really gets to me. I hit rewind several times until I could get it all on paper.
Chris answers, “I love the bookstore. All those ideas. Somebody cared enough to put all that work into it. I could never do anything like that. Sometimes I’ll just stand in the middle of the store at night and imagine that all those authors are surrounding me. I close my eyes and pretend they are trying to tell me something.”
Each line flowed like a land filled with milk and honey. I love the bookstore. All those ideas. Somebody cared enough to put all that work into it.
That line felt like a whisper from God to me.
That somebody is you, Janell. Do you care enough to put all that work into the book inside your heart?
One word came straight out of my heart: Yes.
You see, writing a book is one long journey. It requires a patience that at times makes you feel crazy. But, in the end, when you are standing in the bookstore and see your book on the shelf, praying that someone feels like Chris did in The Book Trader, it is all worth it.
It may not be a book in your life, but is there something that you need to care enough about to keep going? Something you need to say yes to? I am praying that this is just the word you need to do so. It will be worth it, I promise. Will you pray the YES prayer with me?
Today we need a little push to keep going.
We need to say yes. Yes, I will do it.
Life has a way of getting us off track. Making us feel discouraged.
But, we are not quitting. No, we are moving forward.
Thank you for movies and books and programs and shows
that inspire. And thank you for the authors and writers and creators
who write them. We need encouragement when the way gets tough.