As a part of my day job as a publisher, I do the final read-through of every book we publish. It's part of my job that I really enjoy. Recently, I finished my read-through of The Hitchhike by Mark Paul Smith, which is scheduled for release on September 1st.
The book is a memoir of Mark's hitchhike around the world in 1972 during the Vietnam era. There is a quote from Mark on page 141 that really got my attention. "There are only two things you need to know about God or the Universe or whatever you want to call the great unknown. Number one, there is one; and, number two, it's not you."
What a reminder to step back, take a deep breath, and believe in that higher power. Anything that happens in life, or even in my life, is not just about me. There is a larger picture and while the current moment can feel like everything is turned upside down, there can be a positive effect, if not in the situation itself, then in the individual growth that I experience from the situation.
One of my favorite quotes is "Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of what you do with it."
I needed a reminder of that and that I can't fix the world, and being negative about it or about life itself, won't help. But, I can change MY world by being positive or negative, by being kind to the people around me or being unkind. We can all change OUR part of the world by not surrounding ourselves with such fear that we are adding to the negativity of the world itself.
Yes, life can be scary, and when incomes are affected and our future livelihood uncertain, or the health of our family is at risk, it is scary as heck. But there are moments, even in all this chaos, that are beautiful. Let's grasp onto them and our faith in the great unknown, however we see it, and, once again borrowing one of Mark Paul Smith's quotes take ". . .a leap of faith in the kindness of your fellow man." And, I would add. . . in the great unknown.
For most of my adult life, I have believed that life is filled with opportunities for either learning or teaching. And COVID-19, while filled with challenges, is also filled with opportunities - to grow, learn, and teach.
Because of my age, my family has had me in self-quarantine since the end of February and when they first requested that I self-quarantine, I giggled because I enjoy being a bit of a hermit. Since I work from my home, my routine didn't change much at first and it was nice to have the duties of shopping, etc. taken from my plate. But then the publishing business started to really slow down and I was faced with free time that I haven't had in a while. And then the lessons really started!
Like many of us, I've often used the excuse of "I don't have time" when confronted with something "I should" be doing --- like exercise, getting back to my own writing, planting a garden, taking up a new hobby. . . My excuse was suddenly gone and I've had to look at the reality of what I do with my days. And some truths emerged.
I'm a workaholic. I really don't like exercise --- in any form. Writing exhilarates me and terrifies me, all at the same time. I'm a big picture girl - I like the idea and results of gardening, but not excited about all the detail stuff required for good results. Hobbies . . . hmmmm. . . I've never had time.
I definitely have fears about COVID-19 and what our world will look like once we emerge from quarantine but I have the choice of using this time to get to know myself and my family as we are now. It's a chance to slow down, get reacquainted and realize we always have time for those things we prioritize.
Terri Ann Leidich was born in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota and lived the majority of her growing up years on the "Iron Range" of Minnesota in a small farming community called Zim. At the age of 16, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and has filled file drawers with stories, manuscripts, and ideas. Now, as a grandmother with young adult grandchildren, she is starting to turn those stories and concepts into published books. Because the death of her son changed her life and the way she views life, Terri Ann began her trek into authordom with books about that experience.