Two years ago, I made an illustrated book about a storm. People loved it, but somehow I decided that publishing would be too hard. It sat on my shelf.
Then about a month ago, the Spirit nudged me again to move through my fears to get the story out, SOON. Just days after that strong message, this year’s devastating tornadoes hit in Oklahoma. I watched in stunned dismay as the first pages of my grown-up story book came to life in some of their trauma and loss.
You see, the book begins with a dream I had, in which a tornado threatens stability itself. In the dream, I think I can pray hard enough to make the storm go around my house, my life, and me. God responds with a kind yet knowing chuckle to say, “You can’t stop the storm, dear one.” I see the futility of my resistance, and am given the nearly impossible but life-saving instruction to welcome the storm instead.
The book shows a stick-figure dream version of me with an open heart, surrounded by storm. Incredibly, I am untouched by wind while the dream tornado rips apart the house and pulls up the trees. I find myself standing safe in the sunshine but surrounded by rubble when the raging passes. By the next page, I’ve slumped to the ground with a darkened heart, feeling altogether lost and alone when everything is stripped away.
At this point in the story, I start picking up the pieces to try putting it all back the way it was before the storm. My effort fails, and I have to surrender. Then, in that strange mercy that only seems to appear when I finally let go, an unexpected insight arises! My perspective takes flight and launches a whole new journey in the second half of the book.
Do you know this metaphorical storm journey in your own real life? Have you tried to reassemble your stability after a tragedy like job loss, the illness or death of a loved one, a divorce, or even an actual tornado or hurricane? (Oh my, how I have tried to put things back together– over and over again. Maybe that’s why those book illustrations came so easily!) What happened when you used all your best effort, and what happened if you surrendered?
I’m excited and also nervous to share the vision that unfolds in the pages after the surrender and launch. They take a few more unexpected leaps, to be sure! Yet the book just might offer a spiritual or metaphoric storyline to explore as we all respond to challenge or tragedy– in our own lives, in our neighborhoods and countries, and as a part of the whole Earth community. Although Storm Journey looks like a simple children’s picture book with just one word per page, it’s also a beautifully grown-up invitation to imagine new tools for creating our future.
Are you curious? See the Storm Journey web gallery with 7 photos from the 26 book pages.
Watch this blog for more progress updates for Storm Journey. Hurrah!! The first round of self-publishing will be underway! In the first 17 hours, I received 50 order commitments to make it possible. I’m thrilled, amazed, and honored by your interest! As thanks, those people will each receive free shipping. Pre-orders now available– purchase here. Look for a new blog entry very soon with actual pre-order instructions. Meanwhile, everyone is invited to comment on this page, on Facebook or email with your feedback. Thank you!
After the book comes out, I’ll also try to offer the story as a deck of cards with commentary and reflection questions. Both formats will be wonderful….
With blessings and anticipation– Melanie