In about six weeks, Bread & Wine will be winging its way through the postal system and arriving on your doorsteps. I kind of can’t believe it. This week I’ll post a little bit every day about the story behind the book—how the initial idea came about, and what I learned about life and about writing along the way.
As I wrote Bittersweet, I felt so afraid that readers who liked my cheery self would decidedly not love this new project. I was afraid that re-living those dark moments would be even more painful the second time around. And I was afraid, on the deepest level, that I was no longer the kind of person who could hear God’s voice and see his fingerprints.
As is true 99.99% of the time, those fears were proved wrong. I found meaning and hope and very necessary instruction in my own experiences as I relived them through writing about them. I found God’s presence deeply meaningful, and that the tenderness of his grace healed my cynical heart and began to thaw the ice inside me.
And when it was finished, I found that the readers that had come to mean so much to me after Cold Tangerines became even more dear to me as they shared their own bittersweet stories. Every conversation, every email, every whisper was a gift. I honored our arrangement with honesty and transparency, and they honored our arrangement a million times over, with kindness and transparency of their own.
Bittersweet was released, and then the fall was a busy book tour. In twelve weeks, I spoke at 44 events in 21 cities. I spoke in bookstores and colleges and churches, living rooms and coffee shops. I spoke at chapels and services early in the morning, and at cozy late night gatherings in peoples’ homes.
And along the way, I had deeply moving conversations with people who had struggled in many of the same ways I had, or who had weathered things much more heartbreaking than I had, and we found ourselves connected in both the bitterness of brokenheartedness and the sweetness of God’s tenderness along the way.
It was extraordinary and exhausting, and when I came home from the last trip, my husband was waiting by our Christmas tree with a bottle of my favorite Champagne, and we toasted the end of a lovely and rich and challenging and beautiful season, the Bittersweet season.
Happy Valentine’s Day….& remember: you are significant with or without a significant other. XO