To be chosen as one of the featured authors at the Kansas Book Festival seemed both a humbling and inspiring event.
Years ago, I toured the capitol building in Topeka and was impressed by its grandeur, the gold and bronze shining off light fixtures. The acoustics in the hallways. That rotunda with its dizzying majesty.
But this trip to the Capitol was different. I actually spoke in the Senate Chamber because my writing dream became reality.
As I shared with the audience about Reverend G and the Life at Cove Creek Series, I recognized despair in some of the faces. They knew in first person viewpoint what Alzheimer’s Disease is all about.
Even from the podium, surrounded by plush leather chairs where senators make laws, I felt the needs of my audience, the plea to “Please, help us make it through this journey.”
So I shared practical tips, told some funny stories (because we all need to laugh) and tried to let them know they were not alone.
After I spoke, several came up to shake my hand. They said, “I have a friend with Alzheimer’s” or “My husband has dementia” or “Thank you for your encouragement.”
I hope they found some help from Reverend G when they took their books home and began to read her story. I pray they laughed at Bert and marveled at Gabriel, the gifted cat.
I hope they will be honest enough to pray the words of Reverend G when the 36-hour day becomes too hard, “God, I can’t stand it.”
To meet the other authors was indeed a privilege, companions in the art of crafting words. My volunteer escort, the wonderful Marta, made sure I ate lunch, drank some hot tea and found my way to the various places I needed to go. For that one incredible weekend, someone cared for me, and I found it such a blessing.
The author reception at Cedar Crest reminded me that I am easily impressed. Give me a long table of hors d’oeuvres and a beautiful spray of flowers, and I am pleased. Let me walk through a beautiful sunroom, complete with comfy chairs and a Tiffany lamp, and I am awe-struck. Sit me down in a library with a plateful of chocolate truffles, and I am in earthly heaven.
To meet Governor Brownback and his wife – a privilege. To speak to the chef – a delight. To sign the Festival posters with the other authors – a pleasure.
But the most inspirational moment of the weekend came as I was leaving Cedar Crest. A panorama of trees formed an anchor for the setting sun. Off in the distance, a church steeple rose above the tree line, its cross pointing straight upward.
I stood for a moment in the cool of dusk and thanked God for the honor of sharing his words in the form of the printed page. That he would call me to write and then allow me to be honored for what he had done seemed a strange irony. But then, that is what God often does for his children.
He proves over and over that he is the one – the only one – who can make good happen in this mixed up world, even using the disease of Alzheimer’s to somehow point us toward hope.
©2014 RJ Thesman – “Intermission for Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/1l4oGoo