When our church service ends, people file out at a fairly slow pace. Some linger for up to an hour to chat with friends. Either I’ve gotten older and now enjoy mingling or this particular church is friendlier than most, because where I used to rush out after the sermon, I now find myself hanging around.
Even so, yesterday was extra special. After the pastor’s closing prayer, a woman, whom I know through mutual acquaintances approached me with the warmest and most sincere smile I had seen in a long time. It would not have mattered if we spoke or not, her countenance made me smile back.
It seems she bought my book and wanted to tell me how much she enjoyed it. I immediately concluded she was referring to the new novel, and I thought, wow, she’s a fast reader. It was just recently released it and not that many people have heard about it yet. As it turns out she was referring to “Charlie and Chocolate’s Purrfect Prayer,” my children’s book that was published in 2014.
Part of me was slightly disappointed that I was not going to have an interesting conversation about the complexities of the material in the novel; dealing with things like the Big Bang, science, and faith. But her enthusiasm immediately caught me off guard, in a good way. She bought the children’s book for her granddaughter and their tradition always allows for one gift to be opened on Christmas Eve. So Charlie and Chocolate were fortunate to have been released from their wrapping a day early.
This wonderful grandmother waited to read the book for the first time so it would be just as fresh to her as it would be to the child she so frequently takes care of. It warms my heart to know that my little known children’s book was opened on such a special holiday as Christmas Eve and for such a special family tradition. She told me how her granddaughter loved the story, because, like Charlie in the book, her mom was also sick—causing her to spend many nights at her grandparent’s house. She said the story brought a tear to her eye and that it was a heartwarming moment shared with her precious granddaughter.
We spoke much more about the story and our relationships with our own grandparents. We discovered we had a lot in common regarding how our grandparent’s affected our lives in such a loving and positive way. As an independent writer who operates in a tiny, quiet corner of the universe, it’s the moments like this one, after a Sunday sermon, that help it all make sense. This was perhaps one of the best Christmas gifts I received this year.