The true rewards of being an author
I was exhausted. I’d just completed my fourth major author event in four weeks. After eating dinner and pouring a cup of tea, I began the task of tallying sales and making appropriate entries in columns for taxes I owe to my city, the state and of course your uncle and mine.
This is one of my least favorite parts of being an artist and small business owner. But it is best tackled as soon as possible, after an event, to ensure accurate bookkeeping.
It is an effort not to be distracted during the monotony of the meticulous. And on this night, despite my efforts to the contrary, my rebellious mind traveled back to the people I met, the stories I heard and the opportunities to connect with people I have never met before, and may never see again.
I’m glad I’m not required to select any one encounter as my favorite. They all are precious to me as I recall them. And they remind me of the importance of celebrating diversity, while embracing sameness.
My heart ached for the young man who is now estranged from God because of wounds inflicted in his earlier life, by church hierarchy. I gave no advice, just shared a story of similar events that I learned to forgive when my mentor and friend, Dolores (Like the River) convinced me that humans do not speak for God. I tear, a smile, a nod and an authentic “Yes, I know how that feels.” Did he buy a book? I can’t remember. He took a card and said perhaps he would check out a podcast episode or a blog post in the future.
Enjoying professional camaraderie with a fellow healthcare worker was a sweet moment. The story of being an OR tech, first assistant in the donor room on a transplant team is still one of my favorite tales in my collection of short stories (Jesus in Shorts). We sat in our common bond and sisterhood formed by being in the wars of helping to save lives and helping comfort those left when we failed to do that. We agreed we would not trade the experiences for anything offered us. Did she purchase a book? I couldn’t recall. I just couldn’t.
How good it felt to laugh at the idea of having more guts than brains when I launched my podcast “Livin’ What You’re Given” on my 70th birthday. The 72-year-old sharing that laugh with me reminded me that boomers are not going quietly to the rocking chair until all other options have been exhausted. She said she might buy a book on Kindle because she can make print larger. I understood. She took my card as we exchanged a wink and knowing smile.
Sometimes we meet someone we just click with. And so it was with a delightful soul who I met at a previous event and who came to visit at this even and buy a few more books. This woman and I could be related by blood, the bond is that strong. Her contagious laughter and charming spirit were among the best blessings of the day. And as we chatted, it was like we had known each other for years.
There is rarely a time when people look through my collection of short stories that they do not fall upon a picture by my very talented artist and friend, Sally Cordrey. A man who sat down next to me and picked up Jesus in Shorts found the page with a drawing of Lynard, my 1969 VW Beetle. He told me about his 1973 Beetle and asked if I still had Lynard. I said that I do and in fact Lynard is one of my best buddies. He helps me remember to slow down, reflect and appreciate the beauty all around me as well as accept myself and others as we are. My fellow VW owner nodded and said he would take two books, I think. I can’t quite remember. But I loved his VW story.
These are just a few of the encounters that over the past month have reinforced my belief that no matter what is going on around us, we belong to each other. We have the choice to accept or reject this belief by being willing to share our stories while listening to and honoring the stories of others.
After savoring these treasured memories, I went outside to make sure Lynard was all tucked away for the night. Then, I decided to pour another cup of tea, sit in my favorite chair and just thank God for gifts He gives to His kids. I wrapped up in a blanket by the fireplace and chose to stare into the flames as the bookkeeping was put on hold – for a bit. Praying for the people I met, enjoying their company and stories and perhaps finding new friends was much more important than financial spreadsheets.
It is impossible to count all the blessings of these past weeks. But it was, and will always be, the blessing of each exchange that, for me, paints the landscape of what really counts.
Copyright November 2022, Laura L. Padgett, Montrose, CO