I realize that most writers are also avid readers, but truth be told, outside of the bible and a blog here and there, I really do not read much. And, when I do read, it usually tends to be books to which I feel particularly drawn or to which God seems to lay in front of me over and over until I pay attention.
A few years ago, it was Seven Days in Utopia. One day as I was researching something online for work, I opened a random webpage. Though I had not clicked anything and my cursor blinked rhythmically within the safe confines of the search bar, my screen was instantaneously filled with not one, but multiple video advertisements. Cascading from top to bottom, video clips bombarded my consciousness–each one playing a different part of the trailer for the book’s newly-made movie.
At first I was annoyed, but after the fifth or so video popped up, I was compelled to pay attention. Determined to figure out if this had been a stroke of marketing genius or a simple computer malfunction, I noted the name of the movie and closed and reopened the page to see what would happen. This time the page remained static with just one banner ad across the top. I moved my cursor from the search bar onto the ad and clicked. The movie trailer began playing again, but this time just once. I then went to another computer at my house and navigated to the same page. Again, I had to move my cursor and click on the banner ad for it open a single time. I even had my daughter check from her MacBook and, no big surprise, one banner ad and one click to open.
“Ok, God, I’m listening,” I said as I began researching the book and looking up movie times. I did go see the movie and truly enjoyed it, but it was the story behind the movie that really resonated with me. It was about the author and how, out of nowhere, God let him know with no uncertainty that Seven Days in Utopia was something He wanted him to write and how everything just fell into place. You’ll have to Google the book/movie and the author, Dr. David L. Cook and check out his story or click on this link: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/moviemom/2011/08/interview-david-l-cook-of-seven-days-in-utopia.html. God has done a similar thing with me as He Himself has laid an incredible story in front of me and continues to ignite a compelling passion in me to write it. In the interview linked above, I can especially relate to the part where the Seven Days in Utopia author said:
“I’m not smart enough to write some of the things I’ve found embedded in this story. I’m just scribing it. When other people say it means something to them and affects their life — that’s pretty amazing.”
About a year later after my experience with Seven Days in Utopia, a post by a local Christian bookstore seemed to leap off a very busy Facebook newsfeed. It was about a new book entitled The River by Michael Neale. I was unexplainably drawn to the post and, as I learn to be more obedient, went straight to Amazon, found the book and bought it. When it came in the mail a few days later, I immediately began reading it. Two things stirred me to my very soul in the very first pages. The first was this quote by Barry Lopez in the “Note From The Author”:
“If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”
The second thing which struck me to my core were the first sentences of page 1, the author’s prologue:
“Every now and then, you have an encounter with someone who changes your life. A conversation or interaction so profound, it seems otherworldly. You can’t get his (or her) story out of your head and heart. It’s hard to explain how powerful stories can resonate within us on many levels, but it’s often because they speak with passion, heartache, or even joy…I don’t think these encounters happen by chance. I think there is a reason, although we will never understand the full weaving of life’s tapestry of events this side of the eternal. I have had such an encounter with someone. It moved me to my core, so much so that I had to share it…”
I had such an encounter with someone as well. Indeed, it was not an accident that I met my friend Denny over a virtual scrabble board and it was not an accident that, since that very day, our lives have been intertwined and interwoven in such remarkable ways that no one, much less either one of us, can refute that there is a purpose behind our predestine. Indeed, I can’t get this story “out of my head or my heart.” It has changed my life, moved me to my core and I know, without question, that there are people out there that need this “more than food to stay alive.”
May God–the author of our lives–continue to nudge me and keep me on the path to putting this story and others on paper. And I ask that you, too, the reader of this, pray for me as all too often I let satan and life dampen my passion for the purpose He has lay before me.
I will pray the same for you–that passion for your own purpose is reignited each and every day. Amen and Ehmen!
Yours in obedience,