The text read, “I’m leaving.” Those two words seemed innocent enough. They could have meant anything. She could have been going to the store or to get something to eat or…well…anything. But that’s not what she meant.
I was standing in Wal-Mart. I don’t even remember what I was there to buy. I replied, “Where are you going.” I wasn’t prepared for the answer.
The story really begins about nine months earlier. I was working at Promise Keepers, and I was tasked with the project of writing a book for the ministry. I had never done anything like that before. Oh, and did I mention I had to write the book, edit the book, and have it printed for distribution to 3,000 men within 45 days?
Yeah, I know.
My whole life was put on hold. I spent nearly every waking minute writing. And God was good. He guided my thoughts and words and it was written on time. Now, all I needed was to get the thing printed.
If you think writing and editing a book in 30 days is tough, try getting a printer to format, print, and deliver 3,000 copies in two weeks. #impossible
But God had a plan. I called a large print-on-demand house and talked with a sales rep. The call went something like this:
Me: “I’m about to ask you to do something impossible.”
Sales Rep: “OK. Shoot.”
Me: “I have a book that’s ready to go to print, but I need you guys to take it from manuscript to delivery within two weeks.:
Sales Rep: “Ha! You’re right, that’s impossible. But let me check around and see how fast we can get it done and I’ll call you back.”
But what happened next is straight out of the movies or something. Fifteen minutes later I received a call from the CEO of the publisher. He explained that his life had changed because of a Promise Keepers event, and that his team would get the book ready and delivered on time. That’s when I asked, “How much?” He answered, “For free. Oh, and our parent company owns 200+ Christian radio stations. We want to put you on a radio tour to help promote the book.”
Crazy, I know.
Once the smelling salts kicked in and I came back to consciousness, I sent over the manuscript and they got to work. This all happened on a Friday morning. When I came into the office on Monday, three different cover designs were waiting in my inbox. All that was left was for the Promise Keepers team to choose which one they liked, and the printing would begin.
It’s then that I was informed by the Promise Keepers leadership that, for reasons that don’t really matter for the purpose of this story, the plug was being pulled on the book.
If you’re a writer, you can begin to understand the feeling. Writing a book is more than taking words and putting them on a page. You’re putting your very soul into the work. The sting I felt was unbearable.
And I became very angry. And that anger turned into bitterness.
I quit my job in January of the next year. I was consumed with unforgiveness and bitterness. And that bitterness carried over into every area of my life: my marriage; my family; my work; my relationship with God. Everything changed.
It was like a grenade. If you understand how one works, you know that there’s a delay fuse that burns for a few seconds after the pin is pulled that, after that fuse has been lit, cannot be stopped. The grenade may not go off for a few more seconds, but the explosion is inevitable.
The pin was pulled in August, but the explosion took place on Easter weekend the next April.
We’ll talk about that tomorrow.