There is an Irish whiskey named "Writer's Tears." No writer will think this strange. Being a writer is a lonely, isolating life. One might compare it to being a lighthouse keeper. And yet, there is no writer who has ever made it alone. Every book is a team effort including agents, copy editors, designers, and publishers. Every book also owes a debt to their invisible but real muse. In my case, there are two others who deserve special mention, my champions.
A champion is someone who sees something in you that you have not yet seen in yourself. They are the encouragers who turn a dim spark into a flame. Eric Swanson and Sigval Berg are my two champions.
I came to writing late in life. I had dabbled but had never taken it seriously until I was unexpectedly let go from a job. It was only after completing one or two books after then that I even deemed to call myself a writer. I came to realize that most of my income was coming from various aspect of my writing whether from foundation proposals, speeches, or books. Like many writers, I write a lot but I don't consider myself a particularly great writer. For this one should look to Annie Dillard or Wendell Berry. A pall of insecurity still hovers over all my writing assignments. For this reason, my two champions have come to mean a great deal.
Eric Swanson is a subject matter expert at Gloo, a technology and data company that seeks to enhance wellness, relationships, and spirituality. He is a change agent with Leadership Network. He was the champion behind my book, The New Copernicans. He secured me my contract with Thomas Nelson. Within days of signing my book contract, my MacPro laptop's mother board fried. Within a week, Eric mailed me a new MacBook Air, pictured here. It has served me well in the ensuing years. I have written seven books on it, of which four are published and two more are in process. He believed in me, equipped me, and launched my writing life.
Doing this much writing on a small laptop screen was proving wearing. I was about to schedule an eye exam to strengthen my glasses. In addition, the space bar key was wearing out on the laptop. I felt like I needed a new computer, perhaps now a desk top computer with a larger screen. I was hoping that the royalty check anticipated in July would prove sufficient for the technology upgrade—although I knew that those funds were earmarked for a host of other needs.
Then I received a call from Sigval Berg, author of the excellent book on leadership, Swing: Elite Leadership for High Performance Teams. I assisted Sig in the writing of Swing. He told me on the phone that he wanted to give me an iMac 27-inch computer. I cannot think of a more concrete and timely answer to prayer. This week he delivered the computer, installed it, and left me with a whole new set of writing tools. I don't think I will ever be able to go back to a small screen.
I awoke this morning with three thoughts. God cares about us in the details of our lives—"remember the birds...." God has a plan for our lives, which he is unfolding. This verse from The Passion Translation has come to mean a great deal to me: "We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus" (Ephesians 2:20). I don't have to be anxious over the details of my life nor do I need to fret over my destiny because he is writing the script. And finally, "how much more," from Romans 5:10, "Now that we are at peace with God, and because we share in his resurrection life, how much more we will be rescued from sin's domination."
Birds, poetry, and resurrection life. God cares about the details. God is orchestrating the script. God offers much more than we can possibly imagine in his resurrection life. For all this, gratitude is too feeble a word. Worship is closer to it. This is the story and emotion behind this picture of my office. I am now a writer with an expanded responsibility of stewardship of my time and abilities. I have become so because God's grace was mediated through the lives of my champions. In both cases, I am undeserving and yet grateful. At this moment, the writer's tears have turned into a writer's joy.