During my very first conference, I swaddle the article that I had given birth to and gently laid it upon a well-known author’s table for my very first critique.
I’ll never forget her words….
“This is soo unprofessional, ugh, I can’t even look at it.”
Promptly picking up my ugly baby, I scanned the room for the first available trash can.
A thin gentleman gingerly bumped into me, blocking my disposal path. “Oh, my apologies, how are you today?” His smile and demeanor reminded me of a fatherly concern, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Was it my clumsy self-focus or my mascara-stained cheeks and Rudolf nose that got his attention? Guessing that it was both, I blushed. Spilling the beans was easy, he was a wonderful listener.
He invited me to a workshop he eagerly recommended. We walked and casually talked about writing, family, the beautiful landscape, and all the people there. He told me how he admired that I shot for the stars going to the top dog of the critique table for my first time and how that took courage. He explained that writing was a calling, something that just doesn’t go away.
Our talk altered my plans of marching up to my room, packing my bags, and driving the long twelve hours home.
I knew that if I left, my husband would be disappointed, a waste of money and time, a waste of all those years dreaming of a writing career, all those years of waiting for time to write. My kids would be disappointed, all those days I spent on the sidelines and cheering them on in their soccer games, “Don’t give up, you can do it.” “I know it stinks to lose, but you have to keep a stiff upper lip and do your best.” “You can do whatever you set your mind to.” “You can’t quit when things get hard, that’s when you get tough and just do it.” “When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.”
How could I face my family if I gave up, quit, let one person’s negative remarks get to me? I couldn’t. I had made up my mind in that short walk up a hill to a classroom. I would stay, learn, and make lemonade.
We walked into the class, he suggested, “Why don’t we hand these out?” Picking up the papers, I gave a crowded room their handouts. Walking toward the front, the thin gentlemen took the podium. I had no idea, not a foggy clue of who this man was.
“Hello everyone, let’s start class.”
That class was awesome!
Later that evening, the thin gentlemen took the podium for the second time. Center stage in front of hundreds of people he began, “Who would’ve thunk it?”
He went on to describe the harsh realities of a writer’s life and h
ow determination was key.
I hung on every word.
What he said changed my perspective and life. After leaving that night, I knew I had been in the presence of greatness, not because of his acclaimed writing career, but because of his kindness.
The next day I sold my ugly baby, it became triplets. That labor of love was eventually published with Lifeway’s Journey Devotional for Women and two other publications. It continues to multiply, different versions, different publications but, still my story… grows.
If Cec Murphey, The Man Behind The Words, had not taken a few minutes out of his day, that poor baby of an article would’ve become an abandoned orphan and not the first born of many.
“Who would’ve thunk it?”
A New York Times Best Seller, Cec Murphey has written dozens of books, sold millions of copies, and changed many lives for the better. Perhaps you’ve heard of 90 Minutes in Heaven, or Gifted Hands, The Ben Carson Story.
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