It is almost two months since my new book Beauty in the Ashes: Learning to Lament was released. I have tried to start this blog post a number of times since then, but the emotions have been so large, and the words have been so elusive that it would not settle into anything cohesive.
Like Mary I have had to treasure up all these things and ponder them in my heart, until I was able to put words to them. So here is a random collection of thoughts after my book launch.
Release is an interesting word, and so appropriate for this journey of taking words, giving them form, and letting them go into the world. Up until launch date I had control. I chose the words. I placed them carefully. I worked through the edits and design process, with others yes, but ultimately the final decision was mine.
Up until the 4th July, I had control. But once I let go of this book, once I released it into the hands of my readers, I was no longer in control. Up until that day, I had been the guardian of these stories, stories of pain, loss and so much vulnerability, both mine and others. And now, no longer. It’s challenging and confronting.
But there is also a sense of release from finally finishing. A celebration of completing this task that took me 3.5 years. The pure excitement and joy of seeing my book become a reality and the words doing what they were purposed to do; to speak into the lives of those walking with grief.
Seriously I get chills when I see it in people’s hands, and I have been so grateful for all the feedback. Thank you to every one who sent me a message and encouraged me.
To be honest after 3.5 years, I needed a break. So straight after launch we had a family holiday, and it was so lovely. I had not just emotional distance but also physical distance from the book.
Yet while I was away I felt the word rest settle in my spirit. So even after I got home, I have really need to rest, rather than rush into the next thing. To be honest, this has been a struggle for me. But I have needed some space to enjoy and process all that has happened, before I move on.
When you share a personal story, when you open up your pain to others, they open up their pain to you. So many of you have read this book and shared your personal stories of loss and grief with me.
I do not take this lightly. I am so grateful that this book has spoken to you and given words to your journey. Thank you for reaching out to me and sharing your sacred stories with me too. It is a privilege and an honour to hear them.
On the next steps
Many of you are asking what is next for me, and while I have ideas nothing has yet settled in my soul. What I do know is that I need to be back in this space, blogging and sharing in this short form once again. I have missed this writing and have been itching to get back to it.
But I would like to ask you what you would like me to write about here? How can I continue to encourage you on your journey?
Would you like prayers and blessings? Or a devotional series? Or blogs? Or a mix of all? Let me know in the comments below and thank you so much for your support of my writing journey.