The beautiful, six feet long mahogany table had been buff-polished to a near mirror finish. Sunlight, streaming through the large frame windows of the store-front, highlighted the subtle red tinge in the wood-grain surface. I had imagined a table such as this a thousand times before. Sitting behind such an elegant piece of furniture, put things into proper perspective. It was somewhat surreal. I sat hunched over, staring into my reflection, captivated by the huge grin staring back at me. In my mind, I recited the same words and at some point, they spilled from my lips.
“Thank you, Lord. I am your humble servant.”
Beneath the table, my fingers twirled a heavy, gold leaf trimmed ink pen. The barrel had been custom cut and fashioned from thirty-year old timber lagging, removed during a sanitary sewer relining project. My good friend Alan McComb, a construction design-engineer, had crafted the pen and presented it to me as a commemorative gift, for our completion of the construction project. Alan had sanded the rough beige wood down to a soft, smooth finish that retained the natural patterns embedded in the surface.
“If you’re going to leave construction to become a writer,” Alan said, “you’re going to need a good pen, son. I made this one especially for you. Make sure to write something I’ll love to read.”
My good luck pen. I vowed to use it for my first autograph signing. Today was that day. While twirling the pen, I thanked Jesus once again for bringing me to this point in life. God had seen fit to rescue me from the sinful path I had followed, and remade me to do his will. Following him had proven to be the best choice of my life.
Setting my lucky pen atop the table, I glanced right and quickly counted off twenty copies of my book stacked in two neat columns of ten each. To my left, I glanced at the thick glass crystal pitcher of water set inconspicuously behind the head-shot poster Lisa had chosen to display for this event. Everything was in order: the table set; the bookstore employees were abuzz with activity; Lisa, my agent, busied herself with last minute preparations before the store opened for business.
She asked if there was anything I needed. I told her no, but she must have seen right through my facade. Anxiety’s cold grip crept up my spine. Lisa quickly grasped my hands, spun me around away from the table, and knelt down before me.
“Let’s pray quickly, okay Enn?” She asked. “You take the lead, whenever you’re ready sweetheart. Above all, remember to keep a positive outlook. People will come. Your story is heartfelt and honest.”
Lisa always treated me like a sibling. That’s what I loved most about our professional relationship. She was family, in my heart. I took a deep breath and prayed the Lord’s Prayer:
“Our Father in heaven…”.
In the midst of the prayer, the front door bells jingled as the door swung open. Lisa slowly rose with a smile.
“Mr. Smith, I believe you have visitors,” she announced before scurrying off. I drew in a deep breath, thanking the Lord one more time. While slowly spinning the deep leather chair around, my eyes locked onto the shy blue-eyed gaze of twelve-year old Courtney Mckenzie. She and her mother stood across the table. Mother and daughter each clutched a copy of my novel.
My smile was contagious as the ladies responded with widening smiles of their own. Together, they explained how my testimonial-novel had strengthened their relationship with one another, and brought them both into a greater appreciation for our Lord. I simply could not understand why the Lord had chosen me to touch their lives. They had no real idea of the things I had done in my life. But here they were, displaying God’s grace and glory right before my eyes.
As I signed Courtney’s copy of the book, she thanked me. Imagine that. She thanked me, for my autograph.
“Don’t thank me, little lady. Thank God for his love. Praise him for bringing you and your mom closer together, Courtney. That’s what this book is. It’s a story of God’s compassion and grace.”
Just before I signed Mrs. Mckenzie’s copy, I looked to Courtney.
“Thank you for being the first fan, I’ve ever signed for. You just proved to me…that God’s work can transform anyone, to reach everyone.”