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Encircled by Love

By Belinda

My friend Bonnie and I drove home from Write! Canada ; my trusty old Honda Civic laden with her luggage and registrar paraphernalia and my copious baggage. In spite of determining to only buy one book this year, I came home with four copies of A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider an anthology by the best of the best writers of The Word Guild.

These are the some of the writers of A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider--a group of gifted story tellers from the east and west of Canada and everywhere in between.

Can I whisper a secret? If there is a Third Cup of Hot Apple Cider I plan to submit something! It doesn't matter if I don't get in, but I plan to try. I have a story in mind already.

I brought home copies of Tim Huff's books:Bent Hope and Dancing with Dynamite and 2 copies of Nikki Rosen's In the Eye of Deception (we put up signs around the conference on the first day and hearing a tiny bit of her story, when I heard she had written it down in a book, I just had to buy it.)

I bought these books too:The Elements of Style by Strunk, and Harold Taylor's book on time:  Slowing Down to the Speed of Life and Findependence Day by Jonathan Chevreau, a finance columnist and blogger at the National Post, who was at the conference for his second year. I bought the same book last year but our son Pete borrowed it. Now he can keep it. You see that I melted in the face of the book store. I promise to share a little about the books as I read them!

Bonnie and I stopped for supper on the way home at Fionn MacCool’s an Irish pub/restaurant in Orangeville. This is one of our conference traditions--a way to make it all last a little longer. The food we chose was amazing: She had shepherd's pie and I had salmon with a salsa and portabella mushroom sauce. I highly recommend the restaurant if you are in the Orangeville area.

Often there has been a crowd of us heading home together. This time it was just Bonnie and I. Since she is moving to Peterborough in August, this was our last time driving home from Write! Canada together. It was a special opportunity to spend time one on one.

I dropped off Bonnie in Tottenham and arrived back to where I had started three days before, in a very different frame of mind: Bond Head.

Tori, who had joined me and our friends popped in to give me a "welcome home" hug. I was so glad to see her because I needed to say something.

"Tori," I said, "Do you remember at the gala, when they asked all the writers and editors to stand up and I didn't?"

She nodded.

"Well, that was very wrong. It was terrible that I denied who I am, and who you are, too."

Her eyes were wide and serious. Attentively she listened.

"Do you ever feel like your gifts aren't worth much?"

She nodded vehemently, "Uh huh." I could tell that she really could relate.

"Well, that's how I was feeling that night too. But it isn't about our gifts being good. It's about knowing that God gave them to us and he will use them if we give them back to him."

She nodded thoughtfully and impulsively moved in and gave me another very tight hug. I hope she always remembers my confession and the lesson learned.

The next morning it was Father's Day, and as I got ready for church I was listening to CBC radio--a father being interviewed about the cycles that parenting philosophies go through.He grew up in a time of Free Range parenting which I think I did too. Parents weren't so intensely involved in their children's lives. The pendulum always swings though and he described how much it means to him to be his son's soccer coach. He said he  doesn't know much about soccer but the kids seem to respond.

"He got hurt on the pitch yesterday and I held him. Oh my goodness, what more can a dad do?" he said.

And I thought that was exactly what my Father had done for me over the days away at the conference. He picked up this kid of his that fell down in the dust. It felt like I was his only child, he gave me such individual attention (although, being God, I know that he was loving many others all at the same time.) I got hurt on the pitch and he held me. Oh, how he held me.


Janet Sketchley said…
"It isn't about our gifts being good. It's about knowing that God gave them to us and he will use them if we give them back to him."

You nailed it, Belinda! Thanks for putting it so clearly.

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