It was a brief meeting, a hello, tell me thirty seconds of your story in a book signing line. There was an iPhone picture and my tattered copy of her book "One Thousand Gifts" was signed. She gave me the grace of encouraging my writing and I gave her the grace of having not responded to my email.
It was perfectly lovely - something Ann would say. She looked stunning and svelte, I looked, well... happy, happy to be graced with a birthday gift of meeting a writer, not a random one, one I felt as if I knew from her work. I felt like I had been to her home, shared a pot of tea and had our children run around creating chaos together.
None of those things have happened but when you blog your life; your life becomes an open door. Those you know and those you don't who read they feel like they're sitting in your kitchen with you as you tell your story. They know the color your walls are painted and the screech of your youngest when she doesn't get her way. And if you're exceptionally blessed they know all this and love you too. They would gladly bring you a box of tissues, their favorite book to borrow and a bottle of wine to share. They would be right there with you as you celebrate your victories and mourn your defeats. They pray with you on the other side of their computer screens, on their knees and in their cars as they run errands or drive to work. This kind of love may not be the love of the nitty gritty doing life together, but it is love.
When a reader reaches out to me and is kind with their words I feel their grace. I feel the church surrounding me with the love and acceptance that I was looking for preceding the great reveal. The love I wasn't sure I would ever receive again before I left. And frankly it's love that if I did not know the truth about Jonathan's actions I'm not sure I'd be receiving today. I can rejoice in knowing the truth. I can be grateful for kindness granted to me from all of you. But I have to wonder what about the person who left not knowing... what about the man or woman who left a spouse not knowing how to explain the reason? Not knowing why they felt so awful, so abused, neglected, mistreated, so callously apathetically ignored...
Ann's book line advice to me: Keep writing, sister! I intend to, to write, to live life and to love and to learn to do those things better.
I hope you are here to learn from my story, love another sister, and discover more about Jesus with me.