I am so excited to be participating in this wonderful idea for a blogfest today. From May 27-31st, 2013 over 70 bloggers will be sharing acts of kindess they have either seen, participated in or been the recipient of. What a great way to uplift and spread goodness via the internet.
If you would like to read the other blogs participating and know a little more about how this came to be, go to author E.C. Stilson’s website.
My experience has a spiritual aspect to it and while it may have seemed random on the outside, I don’t think it was.
“You Are Beautiful”
I recently attended a local writing conference. I was really excited to go and gather more information to help me become a better writer. I was excited to meet new people, see my writing friends and also to connect with those I’d met via social media.
To my surprise I felt like every session or workshop I attended was specifically for me. This made me very happy. I felt like I’d spent my time away from my family and money wisely. During our Friday night dinner I met two lovely women sitting beside me at our dinner table. The one sitting closest to me struck up a conversation and asked me, “What’s your genre?” I had to chuckle to myself. I thought this was a funny question. We had a great conversation about what we were currently writing and we introduced ourselves to each other. She was very sweet and reminded me of my sister’s mother-in-law.
We went back to eating again for a bit and then I asked them both, “What session was your favorite today and why?”
They had both attended one of the Master classes that day and really enjoyed learning about plot progression. I reciprocated by telling them about my favorite session that morning. It was about presenting the perfect pitch to an agent or publisher. It was so simple and well thought out that I left feeling like I could go home and get started. I had never thought about having a 140 characters or less summary of my book to recite when people asked me about it.
Both ladies had wanted to attend that session because they were pitching during the conference to an agent. I wished them luck and told them everything I’d learned from the session in case it would help them.
I don’t remember now how we got onto the subject of memoirs but one of the ladies said she had written one. She was the surviving member of a triple homicide and suicide. Her father had killed her mother, two brothers and then killed himself. Here was this amazing woman sitting across from me. One wouldn’t even know that she had survived this awful tragedy by looking at her.
I told her that my novel was sort of a memoir but more fictional. I proceeded to give a summary of my novel Letters For Ellie. Rachel has cancer and her daughter Ellie has just turned one years old. The book is a series of letters written to Ellie about love, God, friendship, etc. All of the wisdom you hope to impart to your child during their lifetime. After I shared this, her friend sitting next to me said that the author was also a three-time cancer survivor. Her recent experience had been with brain cancer. Wow! Such a strong woman.
I shared with her the story of breast cancer in my family and close friends who had died and those who had won the fight. I told her the book was dedicated to them and also to my sister who died at the age of six from cancer.
The three of us were a sight to behold. We were huddled together as we talked about our experiences. Even though the room was filled with over 450 people, all that mattered was our conversation.
Just as we were starting to wind down the author of the memoir said she had a copy of the book and wanted to give it to me. She asked if I would read it and give her an honest review. I told her I would love to read her book and I would put it on my blog. I like to review books, interview authors and post about the craft of writing. This was one book I knew I could get behind and promote. I was so curious to know her story and what had caused her father to do such a violent act. She shared with me that this had occurred when she was 19 years old. It took 35 years but through the encouragement of family, finally her story was written down.
I felt drawn to this woman and I wanted to get to know her more. As I took the book from her to put it into my bag, she looked at me like a parent would and said, “I just have to tell you something. You are beautiful! Did you know that? You have so much light about your face and your eyes shine. You are beautiful! Has anyone ever told you that?”
I was stunned at her comment. It was not expected. I felt so overwhelmed in that moment that I cried. In fact all three of us were crying and hugging. Here were two women I’d never met before in my life and I felt in that moment that we were family. We were connected by the experience we’d just had.
I looked at this woman and asked her how she knew I’d not been feeling beautiful lately. I couldn’t get the baby weight off from my last child and I hadn’t been exercising. My life was so busy I was forgetting about me. I don’t think I ever expressed to God through prayer that I wasn’t feeling beautiful and needed His help. He knew there was a prayer inside of me that needed to be asked and answered and this amazing woman who had survived so much pain in her life told me that I was beautiful.
I will never forget that experience and her kindness. Even now as I write this post fresh tears are falling on my cheeks.
Thank you Vicki Talmage for saving me that day. We never know why we are prompted to serve or to help someone. And it doesn’t always need to be some big act either. Sometimes just sharing a part of ourselves and being open is the ultimate act of kindness.