“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”
~Charles Austin Beard
First, thank you all so much for your thoughtful, compassionate, beautiful comments on my last post. I’m going to respond to each, but in the meantime, please know how deeply touched and grateful I am for your kindness and for the sweet words you said about my Gram. It means the world. The support my family and I have received throughout this ordeal has been a true comfort and a shimmer of light among the darkness, and I will be forever appreciative.
Another ray of light? Yesterday’s trip to New York. It was, without a shadow of a doubt, the best and most special day I’ve had in months. It’s easy to forget what joy is and what a smile feels like these days, but yesterday … it was a day away from the heartache and pain. It was a day to enjoy, to embrace, to remember all the good in the world. It was a day to be happy and one that left such an imprint on my memories.
When Allison first posted about the party celebrating the paperback release of her fabulously compelling novel The One That I Want, I wasn’t sure going would be feasible. Things were so up in the air then, and we were living one day at a time. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s to live life to the fullest and find blossoms of hope whenever possible. Yesterday was the definition of that for me. It was truly a star in a sky that’s been a velvet blanket of nothing but darkness lately. You know what I’m coming to understand, though? When things are that dark, the glittery stars mean even more.
Sara, being the wonderful friend she is, joined me for a day in NYC, which began with Columbus Circle, Pinkberry, and Central Park. I know I mentioned the Rockefeller area as being my favorite in Manhattan, but Central Park gives it a run for its money. It never ceases to fascinate me how there can be such an oasis of peaceful serenity right in the middle of a city that’s constantly buzzing with energy. The juxtaposition is mesmerizing. Really, where else will scenes like this be painted before your eyes?
A few hours – and bottles of water – later, we were off to Times Square for lunch/dinner (linner?) and then Fifth Avenue for Allison’s party. It was at the Devi Kroell Showroom, which soars seventeen stories above the ground and features views that are positively breathtaking. It was like being on top of the world and looking down at reality below. Mother Nature decided to give us a show, too. We watched clouds tumble in over the river, puffy and thick, and then they let loose with such torrents of rain that looking out the windows felt more like looking through a real-life watercolor. And then, not ten minutes later, the sun came back out and beamed its rays down in glowing streaks. I’m choosing to take this as symbolic. It’s hard for me to believe right now, but the sun does always return. We have to believe that.
The best part of the evening, though, was having the chance to talk with Allison again. She’s not only a supremely talented writer whose words move readers and resonate deep within the soul, but she is truly one of the most gracious, genuine, thoughtful people you’ll ever meet. She goes above and beyond to help aspiring authors, she reaches out and makes an impact on the community, and she cares. She cares a lot, and it’s evident in her interaction with everyone. The speech she gave at the party, telling us all about an especially touching email she received from a reader, was a beautiful reminder of why writing’s so special. It’s not only about telling your characters’ stories. It’s also about inspiring others’ journeys. I can say with certainty that she has inspired mine. Her passion for writing makes me feel my own with even more vibrancy. Her dedication to it reminds me never to give up, no matter what twists and turns the roller coaster takes. And, perhaps most importantly, her sincerity shows me that people really can influence the world with kindness. I’m not sure I can articulate the depth of how much our conversations last night meant. Her sweet words about Gram, our chat about writing and inspiration, the fact that she’s so appreciative of the support and so truly glad for the experiences … I think she said it best: “this is what it’s all about.” It was hard – maybe even impossible – not to get choked up as I thanked her for everything. It was truly the best day I’ve had in longer than I can remember, and I will carry that with me always.
The road ahead is still paved with darkness, but I’m beginning to see some light poke through a bit. Here’s to reaching for those stars.