This is a continuation of a story that starts here.
Okay, I'll spare you the minute-by-minute details, but my two weeks of solitude and serenity painting in my studio were suddenly eclipsed by the mayhem of design production. The week that followed was a watershed of calamities, including a trip to the hospital with Katie (don't worry—she's fine) and the super-expensive digital files coming back all wrong, and my husband (thank you, honey!) taking the morning off work to help me color-correct all the scans. The stress put me over the edge. I stopped going to bed on time, stopped my workout regimen, and had a-headache-bordering-on-a-migraine that lasted all week. I was a wreck.
The files had to be uploaded to my printer in Los Angeles on July 9th. Of course the computers crashed. Of course the FTP site was full. Of course I couldn't access the site from my computer and had to transfer everything downstairs on a jump drive. Of course there was a problem with the cover. Par for the course, right? But then — suddenly, at 11:57 p.m. (just minutes before the clock struck twelve and I turned into a pumpkin!) the whole thing worked, the files were gone, and I turned off my computer and went to bed.
The next morning I got up at 5 to run a 5K. Because I said I would. I'd been training for it all summer. And I was rewarded with one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen. A gift. I finished the 5K, running it in four 8-minute segments with short walks in between. Another gift.
The proofs arrived via Fedex the following Monday. (I told you Peter was amazing!) We made some minor corrections, signed off on everything, and overnighted the proofs back to Los Angeles. And then I had to wait. For the longest 2 1/2 weeks of my life. (No — the second longest. The longest were the 2 1/2 weeks my first baby was past his due date!) The project was completely out of my hands. I could do nothing but pray. I prayed for the printers in Korea. I prayed for the bindery. I prayed that the boat wouldn't sink.
The books were scheduled to arrive on August 1. They didn't make it. *breathe*
I called Peter. He said they were tied up in customs and should deliver on the 2nd. *breathe*The convention starts on the 3rd. *breathe*The 2nd came. The books didn't arrive. Heartsick, but with a shred of hope, I called Ester back and told her sometimes UPS and other carriers often deliver as late as 7pm. *breathe*We go out to dinner. I can't eat. *breathe* (Oh, me of little faith.)
The doorbell rings. Our 11-year-old answers, and brings me a box.
Here I am, opening a miracle. (Yes, I had to capture the moment). My sample copies.
Ester calls the next morning: "You were right. They came on the dot of 7pm last night. We have plenty of books here in time for the convention." *exhale prayer of thanks*
Looking back, I spent my whole summer indoors. I missed my family vacation. I spent my whole summer working. And it was one of my best summers ever, because I spent my whole summer focused on Christmas: On Christ, and the miracle of His birth.I opened gifts called Connection, Harmony, Joy. I opened gifts I thought I didn't want: Darkness, Despair, and a Dare. I responded with gifts of my own: Toil, Solitude, Prayer. And found myself reveling in more gifts: Water, Light, Inspiration. In a way I felt like the Littlest Angel — reaching unworthily toward the altar with my grubby little hands, placing there all I had to offer, hoping it would be acceptable.
And I opened a miracle. I couldn't believe that just 2 1/2 weeks later, I was hefting the finished product, opening a real cover, turning actual pages. And as close to perfect as I could have hoped. I never imagined my summer of non-stop Christmas would hold so many wonderful gifts, such an increase of faith, such powerful peace. And this little miracle I was holding embodied it all—it began as a book about symbols, and ultimately became one.
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