Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of being on several great book launches. Some of the books were from authors I already loved while other books were from authors whom I was introduced to on Twitter. I know how some people feel about Twitter, but if you are there to become a part of a community you will find one.
The community I found introduced me to some authors I never would have met just going to the library and looking at shelves. Authors who challenged me to think differently and to act differently. The author that brought about transformation in my life the most is Lore Ferguson Wilbert.
I was on the launch team for Handle With Care, even though I had never even read one of her blog posts. I really liked launch teams, because you got one on one time with authors and a built-in peer group cheering you on to finish the book and discuss it. When I saw the opportunity to join the book launch, I pre-ordered the book and joined the process.
I have written before about how I interacted with the book when I first read it, but I had no idea how it would change the course of a relationship I was on the verge of creating. I wrote my blog post about Handle With Care on January 8, 2020, but I had finished reading it just days before.
January 4, 2020, our family received a Facebook message from a young woman interested in starting a community garden for a local immigrant community. She didn’t know anything about community gardens, but walked through the one I run and reached out to learn all she could.
Over the years, our home has been open to over a dozen young adults. Having them come join us at the table to share our lives together. On January 4th, just weeks after our last mente graduated college and went home to Indiana, we were approached by this other young woman. Instead of just talking to her on the phone, we invited her over for dinner.
During dinner, we overwhelmed her with information she needed to know for her garden. It had to have been like she was trying to drink from a fire hose. Yet, as dinner was finishing, my husband told her that if she needed a family, she could join ours. An open dinner invitation to whenever she needed a meal or needed a family.
She nearly started crying at the table. Her large extended family was over 5 hours away and she was missing them terribly. She had younger siblings close to my boys’ ages and just missed being around kids.
As she left the house and I walked her out to her car, I felt compelled to do something I never do: I asked if she needed a hug. Mind you, I had only known this young lady for 2 hours at the most, and I am a “no touch” person. Nearly in tears, she said yes. I just hugged her and held her tight and I could feel her stress melt in my arms.
I don’t have to tell you that 2020 wasn’t the year to try and make new friends, but we figured out a way. Over the last nearly 2 years, I have watched her community garden flourish and our relationship grow as well. Just a few weeks ago she was married and at the wedding she squeezed me tight, just has it has become our custom.
Twitter challenged me today to write to the authors that changed me and let them know what they have done for me. So, Lore Ferguson Wilbert, here it is. You changed me. You molded me into a way of thinking that I was afraid of for most of my life. Not only did you change my life, you changed the course of that young woman’s life as well. Thank you.