Tuesday, October 4, 2016
It's All About Love and Grace
2 Corinthians 13:14
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
It's been almost a year since I've attended any festival/event where I sign and sell my books. I find out about Oktoberfest, held annually at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, from someone in our neighborhood on-line chat group. As it is a venue I've never been to, I have no idea what to expect, but I fill out the application and send in my vendor fee, hoping for the best.
In the week before Oktoberfest, my nerves start to fray and my mind begins to race with anxious thoughts. Will the space they assign me be in a heavily traveled area of the building? What if I don't sell enough books to even make up for the fee I am charged? What if >gasp< I don't sell a single book? (Don't laugh. That actually happened at an all-day event I attended two years ago.)
So I pray the prayer I've learned to pray before attending an event: "Lord, if it is Your will, let me sell lots of books." I ask for the peace of His presence if and when too many seemingly interested buyers depart my table empty-handed. And I pray not to take what can seem like outright rejection personally.
The day of Oktoberfest arrives with the promise of lots of sunshine and a healthy dose of cool, crisp fall air - a welcome respite from our unpleasantly hot summer here in the South. I can't say I'm still not apprehensive, but praying throughout the week has worked wonders within me. I put on my extrovert face, ready to take on whatever happens as the long day unfolds.
God is so good!
Within the first thirty minutes, I sell eight books! One gem of a woman buys all six books in the two series, just based on my description of the stories and characters. Now there's a stellar example of faith!
And yes, the event turns out to be one of my most successful ones, financially, to date.
But better than that, and far more meaningful in the grand scheme of things, is the incomparable and grace-filled kindness shown to me not only by those organizing Oktoberfest, but also by fellow vendors and the shoppers themselves. I can't begin to tell you how many engaging conversation I have with such interesting individuals, who all have their own stories to tell. I am absolutely overwhelmed by this outpouring of authenticity and caring.
As if this weren't enough, I am reunited with a former student, a wonderful young man named Garrison, whom I taught when he was in seventh grade! We have been friends on Facebook for quite a while, so though he is now twenty-one, I recognize him right away. It turns out Garrison and his family are long time members of Holy Trinity, and he is eager to catch me up on all that's been happening in his life. Having Garrison around certainly made the day fly by in a cheerful and blessed way!
Will I be returning to Oktoberfest next year? You can bet on it!
Because of all the events I've done, this one shines God's presence the brightest, reminding me of what Racer tells the elderly preacher in Children in the Garden: "It's all about love and grace."
And truly, it is.
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