First post! Welcome to the blog. I’ve been putting off starting this for a while now, primarily because I didn’t know what to say. I decided to start with something important to me and pertinent to the release of my first book, Good You Were Here, on Amazon.
If you read my book, you will find that it opens with the following passage from Matthew:
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”
Why? Because this is what this story is about. This story is about how we as humans can get very caught up what has happened to us, what we have or haven’t done, how we feel, what we want, and what we do with the pain we feel. There are times, like back in May last year, where I feel out of place, scared, disappointed. In Western culture, we measure our worth and the worth of others without even thinking about it. But it matters that we’re here, no matter how much we have to give to that moment. It matters just that we are present, living in the moment, because that is where God dwells.
The title for this story has a story because that’s how the world works – everything is a story, layers and layers of little stories building up into one big one. In May of 2016, I flew to Norfolk to road trip with my best friend from childhood and her college friends to Kill Devil Hills in the Outer Banks. I had never flown by myself before, and I was incredibly anxious. Once I was there, a lot of things went wrong or were not quite as I expected. I tend towards homesickness, and while my childhood bestie and I were definitely still friends, I hadn’t seen her in over five years. We were now really different. The things we had in common had shifted in importance, so while I still love her and am grateful for our 15 years of friendship, she no longer ‘felt like home’ the way people I’m really close with do. As the homesickness and the anxiety tainted my trip, I found myself feeling really isolated and alone.
I remember sitting on the couch in her apartment, the only one awake on my first full day there, journaling and praying, telling God, “I feel like I shouldn’t have come at all,”
And God responded saying, “No, Clare. It’s good that you’re here.”
That moment changed me. That sounds mighty important, but it’s true. I have looked at life differently since then. I have been different since then. I have come to believe my presence matters – that I matter.
Just seven months later, in December of 2016, I started reworking an old idea. As I developed the story and discovered my characters, I realized what a human story I had stumbled into. The title of the book had originally been Defining Moment, but I found that no longer fit. What did fit was precisely what I’d encountered in Norfolk.
At one point in the story, my character Evan is struggling with something that happened to him years ago that haunts him and makes him question whether or not he deserves to be alive. Angela, who has been very sick from congestive heart failure for about five years, shares with Evan that she wonders if it would have been better if she had never been born, weighing what a burden she’s become to her parents. Evan tells her, “It’s good that you’re here, Angela,” Angela responds, saying, “You, too, Evan,”
In spite of great pain, great loss, seemingly unforgivable mistakes and unfair circumstances, I pray this truth comes through what I’ve written: When Peter said, “It’s good that we are here,” it was true. And that truth extends to each and every one of us, where we are right now. It is good that we are here. Not just when we are on top of a mountain with God, but even when we run away while He suffers and dies for us. We matter; to each other, in time, in eternity, to God Himself.
Good You Were Here, this book, it matters to me, and I hope it comes to matter to you, too But more than that, I hope you know that YOU MATTER. It’s good that you’re here. And I hope you come to believe that and live in it.
Thanks for reading, God bless.