on the presentation: a big announcement

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This is the moment I’ve been trying to imagine.

When she unwraps her baby from where she’s been carrying him close to her heart for the miles and miles it took to get here. When he stretches his arms and legs in that instant, jerky way that newborns do, shocked by the sudden shift of space. When the old man reaches out his gnarled hands, trembling at the thought that this could be the One he has been waiting a lifetime to see.

When the mother hands the child over to the stranger.

When she lets her heart go.

. . .

I used to think the Gospel of the presentation in the temple was all about Simeon and Anna.

Those marvelous wisdom figures, the prophetic pair, the ancient elders, the seers seeking their savior. Simeon whispers such strange words to Mary, how her heart will be pierced. Anna can barely contain all eighty-four years of her joy, rushing out to tell anyone who would listen that the long-awaited anointed one was finally here.

But I wonder now about Mary and Joseph, too.

The tired travelers, exhausted from their long journey to Jerusalem. The poor couple, unable to afford anything more than a pair of birds for their offering. The new parents, still bewildered by the birth of their baby.

How did it feel to let him go for the first time? To place him into unknown hands? To hear such surprising words spoken about what he would become?

The thrill and fear of such a presentation.

. . .

There are everyday presentations, too, of course. Opening up to a dear friend over coffee. Dropping off at day care in the morning. Undressing for the doctor’s exam.

The moments when we hand over what is most previous and beloved. When we hope that others will hold our dreams with as much tenderness as our own heart surrounds them.

And so on Friday afternoon, the Friday before the Feast of the Presentation, I slipped the big stack of plain white copy paper, printed with 1-inch margins and page numbers in the upper right-hand corner, into a big envelope. I drove it to the post office, weighed it, slapped on the postage, and listened to it drop with a thud into the bottom of the mailbox. I stood there staring at the blue steel that separated me from something that was safe in my fingers just seconds before.

The book I spent a year writing. The book that the publisher will put out this fall.

My book.

A baby of sorts. A firstborn of another kind.

A piece of my heart, pushed out into the world, now in the hands of strangers.

. . .

This is the moment I’ve been trying to imagine.

What it would feel like to be done with the solitary stage of writing. What it would mean to open myself up to the world of edits and critiques and readers. What it would sound like to say I wrote a book and have it be past-tense.

The thrill and fear of such a presentation.

I wanted to share this news here in a thousand different ways – in excitement, in hope, in gratitude, in humility, in wonder, in relief, in disbelief.

But maybe this is the only way I ever could have shared the news – of the other creation I’ve been gestating and readying to birth this year.

Through the lens of another story.

Because that is, at its heart, what I hope my calling as a writer means. That I thrust these small stories of mine out into the world, and someone – maybe you – catches a glimmer of their own life in a new light because of these words.

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And if reading is an act of communion, then it must start with a presentation. Of joys and sorrows and laughter and loss and learning all over again what it means for me to be who I am: a mother, a writer, a lover, a child of God.

Which means I have to let go.

And see what comes next.

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13 thoughts on “on the presentation: a big announcement

    Lauren said:
    February 3, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I am delighted that you have let go, that you have stepped out into this new unknown. A huge congratulations to you!!!

      Laura responded:
      February 4, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      So many thanks your way, dear friend – not the least of which for the part you played in getting this story started…

    Angie Brown said:
    February 3, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Wow, how amazing. Congratulations and best of luck with what is to come. I’m sure you will continue to inspire many more people with your words, as you inspire me every time I read your writings. I look forward to reading all of your posts each week and can’t wait to get your book when it comes out. So exciting!

      Laura responded:
      February 4, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      Thank you, Angie! I’m so grateful for your encouragement!

    Erica said:
    February 3, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    wonderful news! Congrats! Your work is inspiring and has given me such wonderful insights into faith and God and parenting. Blessings to you during this time of great celebration!

      Laura responded:
      February 4, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      Thank you for reading, Erica! I’m so encouraged to know my writing has touched you. Thank you for your prayers!

    DefiningMotherhood said:
    February 3, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Lovely…and such a milestone.

      Laura responded:
      February 4, 2014 at 9:31 pm

      You know, it is. And since I’m always frantic to record my kids’ milestones, this is a good reminder that sometimes I need to do the same for myself – thank you.

    Bev said:
    February 3, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Congratulations!! What great news! I, though a mother at a very different stage of “development” than are you with your little ones still by your side, so enjoy your writing and am moved by your wisdom. Looking forward to the fall and reading your new creation

      Laura responded:
      February 4, 2014 at 9:31 pm

      Bev, you inspire and encourage me – thank you for reading and for sharing your own words of wisdom here!

    Ginny@RandomActsofMomness said:
    February 3, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Huzzah! What great news! I have long thought you were a book waiting to happen and here you are!

    What is the book about? Working title? Expected pub date? Whatever it is, it’s going in my book queue. Congrats and enjoy the ride!

      Laura responded:
      February 4, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      Ginny, you bring a smile to my face! Thank you for your enthusiasm! I’m itching to share more details on the book but waiting just a little bit longer while we iron out a few key details. (like, you know, the title that has had umpteen iterations at last count.) But I will keep you posted very soon. And it is indeed quite a ride – I am so grateful for the adventure.

    introducing…the book! | mothering spirit said:
    February 12, 2014 at 7:28 am

    […] ← on the presentation: a big announcement […]

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