It’s appropriate this week to thank you – to offer gratitude – to you. I’m thankful for reader friends and for those who support my writing in any way.
Whether it’s by following my blog or sharing a post, hitting “like” on social media, by showing up at a book signing, or by simply offering an encouraging word, I am grateful.
I recently read a post about envy. Isn’t that unusual, to think about envy during Thanksgiving, a time to express gratitude for what we have? I had to admit I had been guilty. I had wanted something that was someone else’s.
I think back to two years ago. I had wished I was one of those writers followed by thousands. One of the ones whose book had been picked up by a traditional publisher, with my book in a store. One of the golden few. And so when my memoir proposal was rejected by a top-name publisher, I was devastated, though I knew rejection was the norm. I took it personal.
I had a lot of good, wholesome reasons for my book to land in lots of hands. Or in anyone’s hands. But my envy was the fly that spoiled the soup.
I think envy may come from a few places, but for me it sprang from insecurity. I felt confident I could write a good news story, having been in the business for 25 years, but memoir writing was a different animal. Even though I received some great encouragement at a writing conference in 2016, I wasn’t sure I was good enough. I needed affirmation.
The rejection seemed to affirm my insecurity.
And then I got very sick. For seven months. Sometimes God takes us backwards to enable us to spring forward.
My career this year has been a very busy, exciting one. I’ve had to turn down writing jobs. I won an honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest contest for the second year in a row, and one of my essays was published in a book. Last week, I participated in my first-ever book signing and reading. My story, Standing in the Gap, starts on page 215 in Grief Dialogues: The Book. Several friends showed up, and many others offered congratulations.
I discovered that while I may have a “fan base” out there, most importantly I have a “friend base.” The best part of the signing was visiting with friends. I also connected with others – including a few new blog followers. I want to welcome each of you and thank you for reading.
Where am I now? In 2019, I want to get back to pitching and writing my book, and this time without the envy. God gave me a course correction, and I intend to continue to follow it. I don’t know what’s going to become of my career, but I’ve renewed my gratitude for what I have, rather than be envious for jobs, opportunities, or affirmations I don’t have.
Grief is about what we lost. Envy is about what we want. Thanksgiving is about what we have been given by a good God who knows what we need and what we don’t need – not yet.
Is gratitude a gift or something we generate by focusing on blessings? What do we do with Thanksgiving when we’re consumed with loss? Can grief and gratitude co-exist? If you’d like to read about my struggle with those questions, visit my Nov. 22, 2016 blog post here https://wp.me/p7Agwy-2l and let me know your thoughts on the subject.
Copyright © 2018 by Toni Lepeska. All rights reserved. www.tonilepeska.com