For a period in my teens, a large bear rug decorated my bedroom floor, open-mouthed and silently snarling. I liked that rug, but in my small room, it only fit one way—with its large head facing the door, directly beside my bed.
Never an eager riser, I generally slept in too late to dawdle. So almost without fail, as my sleepy self (still rubbing my eyes) charged out from under the covers on school mornings, I jammed my left foot square into Mr. Bear’s mouth, often landing directly on his needle-sharp canines.
That long-dead bear bit once too often. To the dump he went. But as Dad hauled the rug from the back of our station wagon, someone noticed. Mr. Bear went to another home that day. Thankfully, that valuable bear rug got rescued at the last second.
Stories of last minute rescue abound. Another one, this one writing-related, came to me from a writing colleague named Neil:
Neil collects vinyl records. One day he found and purchased a treasure—a vintage boxed set of four LPs published by Reader’s Digest in 1969. “In mint condition,” he noted.
In case some of my readers have never actually handled an old record and its case (I’m always amazed to find that many haven’t!) you should know that the back of those old cardboard LP jackets, like the reverse side of today’s CD cases, provided information about the recording artists or the music itself.
On one of those jackets, Neil found the little-known history behind a 1930’s gospel classic featured on the album. Still beloved by millions the world over, the song has been recorded by notable singers both past and present, including Perry Como, Elvis Presley, Barbara Streisand and Andrea Boccelli.
It seems the composer had submitted his work to a publisher who didn’t find the song to his liking. But before he could write an official rejection notice, the publisher received a phone call from a music dealer in Pittsburgh. The dealer told him that a singer named John Charles Thomas had just sung the song on the radio, and that people were already calling his store to ask for the sheet music. He wanted to order 500 copies. Immediately.
The cover noted, “Desperately, the publisher dug through the rejection pile to see if it had been returned yet. There, at the bottom of the pile, it was found, not yet officially rejected. The first published edition of the song carried a grateful dedication to John Charles Thomas.”
You may have already pegged that classic as Albert Hay Malotte’s The Lord’s Prayer, the version with the tune reminiscent of the classic Ave Maria. Because of that last minute rescue, it echoes still. And for the same reason, my bear rug might still be a cherished conversation piece on some wilderness cabin floor.
Feeling hopeless about life, love or writing? Rejected? Dumped? Tired of praying for the answers you want or feel you need? Don’t give up. With God, there is hope, right to the last minute. Keep on doing, being and writing as God directs, but release your expectations. His best answer may come through a different avenue entirely. And one day, looking back, you’ll realize his incredible faithfulness.
This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours! For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours. Isaiah 55:8-9Living Bible (TLB)
Kathleen Gibson, writer and broadcaster, describes herself as “a practicing Christian…and in this case practice doesn’t make perfect!” Her book, Practice By Practice: The Art of Everyday Faith, features a collection of favourite faith and life columns from her long-running newspaper column, Sunny Side Up. She is also the author of West Nile Diary—One Couple’s Triumph Over a Deadly Disease¬. A former magazine editor and freelancer for Reader’s Digest, CBC Radio, and other major media, Kathleen’s work has received numerous awards and been published worldwide. Learn more about her at Simply Life with Kathleen Gibson.