Sometimes being a novelist can be discouraging. Mediocre sales. A harsh review. Unkind email from a reader. Rejection by a publisher. Losing an agent. Feeling like you’ve run out of ideas. I’m sure the list could go on and on, as varied in number as there are authors.
But God is an encourager, and He often sends encouragement when and where we least expect it.
A couple of weeks after Poppet died, my heart still so tender and my tears still so plentiful, I looked out my back window and saw a neighbor I hadn’t met yet with a new black lab puppy. This young woman moved into her house earlier this year (in the midst of our snowiest winter since 1982). I had seen her outside a couple of times with a large yellow lab. Well, with my heart still hurting over Poppet, I had my shoes on and was out the door in seconds, dying to pet a puppy. I should mention that both of us were still wearing pj bottoms, so there was instant kinship.
I called to ask her what her puppy’s name was (Bailey), but we chatted at least ten minutes before I said, “Oh, by the way, I’m Robin.” Then she introduced herself, and we laughed about how we had covered the important info — Bailey’s name and learning that her yellow lab had died suddenly, right around the same time as Poppet— before we ever bothered with trivial info such as our names. We enjoyed visiting, but it was mostly all about dogs.
A couple of days later, she was out in the common area with Bailey and I went out again, needing another fix of puppy slobber. After more visiting, including learning that she is new to the area, I sent her my Contact info via AirDrop on our iPhones. I wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone here in the neighborhood if she ever needed help. When she received my contact info, she looked at her phone and her face got a funny expression. Then she looked up and said, “Do you … write lots of books?” I laughed and said yes.
Well, turns out she and her mother are huge fans and own many of my books. In the weeks since we first met, she and I have chatted numerous times. Then her parents came for a visit, and I’ve spent time talking with her mom too. They have told me such kind things about my books and what they mean to them.
Isn’t it just like God to not only encourage me in such a way (over Poppet, over my books) but to give me two new friends besides? Because that’s what they’ve become.
And speaking of new friends, I’d better show you the latest photo of Boo. She’s coming to live with us in another 12 days from this posting. Still feels like such a long, long wait.
Facebook friends know that I am worse than a 5-year-old on Christmas Eve when it comes to my anticipation for the day we pick up Boo and bring her home. I already have her playpen set up in the dining area. I already have food and treats and toys. I even have a big stuffed snuggle dog (about three times her size) that has a beating heart to hopefully help her through the first few nights without her mom and litter mates.
The first thing Jerry says to me when he wakes up is, “How many days?” I can always tell him the number of days, and often I can tell him the number of hours too. Like yesterday morning, he asked, “How many days?” and I answered, after a quick glance at the clock, “13 days and 3 hours.”
Like my new neighbor and her mom, God has encouraged me through this puppy who I haven’t even met yet.
Again, isn’t that just like Him?