(photo credit: nicole pierce photography)
 

I had just finished proofing the final book pages last week.

In the page-proof stage of getting a manuscript to print, all edits have already been made and mistakes have been corrected.  The goal of reviewing page proofs is confirming page layout, pagination and catching final egregious errors that might have strayed from the sieve of the editor's red pen.

The time to tweak a word, remove any sentences that have been sitting on the fence, or add any more words have passed.

That secret writing space within me, where no one is in the room as I write except Jesus and me and the ever faithful imagined close confidante is now giving way to a very public space.  Suddenly, the reality of what is about to happen gripped me.

I won't be able to take a single word back.

I was exhilarated, sad and scared at the same time. I am saying goodbye to never hiding again.  My memories are going to become a part of you very soon.  And your memories will become a part of me too.  As we meet between the pages of a book.

Behind Every Lost Dream

Together, we are going to be taking a journey together.  And my heart bursts at the joy of it all.  

Is it true? This secret beautiful place where everything is real inside me is now going to be shared -- as others find their voice speaking their stories too?

I decided to go out and get some whitespace -- time alone to feed my soul.

I went outside to take a walk. It had been raining the day before. First rainfall here in Silicon Valley in the new year.

The air was still moist and the sky a moving palette of gray, white and blue. I was walking on a trail near my house. It was very quiet. The winter brisk air felt good against my skin.

As my body started getting into the rhythm of the walk, my mind traveled back into memories drenched fresh, from chain-proofing the design pages for hours.

A college-age looking guy in a blue t-shirt and jeans walking his dog walked towards me on the trail.  I looked down as he walked past. Absorbed in my own world, I didn't want to make eye contact.

As I looked back and saw he was gone, the trail in front of me was clear.  No one was in sight for a long stretch. And then, I began to cry.

Because in the journey of writing this book to you, I've lost some dreams, alongside some other dreams that have been found

And now as those broken dreams will soon breathe their first breath in print, they will always be a part of my story.

But, behind every lost dream lies a new dream waiting to be found.

I'm choosing to believe God is taking them all and transforming it into a new journey -- that is more beautiful than the broken ones.

I realize joy and sorrow are two sides of the same coin.

That I can't fully be held in the embrace of one without allowing myself to embrace the other.

Yet in the moment, I felt ashamed of the parts of my story where I feel unloved.

Bocce

As the sorrow struck deep, I suddenly heard a very loud barking.  So loud, it jumped into my heart and blasted past the tears.

I looked up and saw that the dog that had passed me moments earlier, was now ahead of me. A golden labrador, with charcoal eyes sparkling under soft eyebrows, a cute black nose and floppy ears was whimpering, yelping and frantically trying to pull away from his owner.

The owner and the dog had apparently passed by me on his walk back while I was eyes-closed crying.

But, now, the college guy was pulling with all his weight on the leash of his four-legged walking companion. 

But the dog was no longer walking. 

He was jumping, trying to propel himself forward by might.

Towards me.

I wasn't sure if he was really looking at me, my eyes blurred from tears.

I tried to move out of his line of sight, figuring he saw a bird or a cat scurrying somewhere behind me.  Or was it a poodle he caught wind of somewhere nearby?

As I zig zagged a bit, the dog did not take his eyes off me.  The muscles in his legs taut, his bark piercingly loud and insistent.

"Does he want me to pet him?!" I yell over to the owner across the barking.

"I'm sorry!  I'm sorry!" the college guy yelled back apologetically bearing down on with all his might in a tug of war on the dog's collar.

"I think he wants me to pet him!" I yell again.

The college guy can't hear me.  He's trying to control his dog.  "I don't know why he's like this!… Bocce!!  Bocce!!"  He hollers. "What's wrong with you?!"

I knew.  Once I heard his name, I rushed over to Bocce.

"Bocce!" I cried tears fresh again.  "You know, don't you, Bocce?" I reached out my hand gently to see if he'll lick it. "You know I'm sad ,don't you?"

Bocce circles me, whimpers more quietly now. Settles down a little bit.  But, still frantically pacing back and forth around me.

"Are you sad?" Bocce's owner asks me.

I nod, as I try to pet Bocce.  I don't want to talk.

"Why?  Why are you so sad?" College Guy asks me. "If you want to talk about it, I'm a good listener…"

Tears start streaming and I can't seem to wipe them away with my arm.

"Did someone pass away?…" No, I shake my head. I take a second glance at College Guy. He looks like Bocce a bit.  Kind.

"I'm sad... because of a dream I've always had… in my past... I just realized.  It's never going to come true."  And I start sobbing like a little girl lost in the pasta aisle at the grocery store.

"Oh, don't cry…" College Guy says.  Bocce starts loud barking whimpering yelps at me again. Jumping like crazy.

"It's okay, Bocce…" I tell my new furry friend. I open my hand to smooth him across his back. "Let's take a walk…"

Then College Guy, Bocce and I begin to walk together. I tell my story. And I ask about his as well.

What We Were Made For

In a stretch of a trail lined with tall sweeping trees, Bocce listened quietly to us while exploring bushes, sniffing dirt, sticks and what-not off beaten the path.

As College Guy and I swap stories, my heart swells.

Because I understood something deep and real: sorrow makes the path wider for others to join you.

Because behind every dream lost lies dreams that sorrow cannot erase. Sorrow leads us on a journey to find all that we were made for: love, joy, hope, and faith.

As I lowered my head in prayer at night on Ash Wednesday, picturing Jesus staring ahead at a trail he had to walk alone one cold day, I understand very deeply how much He loves me.

Journey

Jesus tasted the heartache of dreams lost as he walked one last journey -- placing one foot in front of the other, feeling the choking sorrow of each step to the cross -- so that you and I don't have to take the same journey alone.

You and I.

We are standing six weeks from the day Jesus found Himself in the embrace of sorrow on a cross, so that He can embrace us today, so we can find ourselves held in the safety of His love.

Sorrow and passion. {Journey.}

For Jesus, sorrow and passion led Him on a journey that brought us closer to Him in a completely new way. For the first time ever.

Could sorrow and passion lead us to the same sacred place with each other?

My heart is coming alive with every story that I'm living.  With every story you are living.

I'm on a new journey with Jesus. I am becoming more real.  

And I'm not alone anymore.

Here together.  Where we swap stories. The ones unspoken.

The ones we are able to express quietly in our journals, in our prayers.

In quiet moments when we confide between friends, husbands and wives, mothers, fathers and children.

Even with strangers.

I'll never forget how Jesus sent me Bocce. To give me a hug.

To tell me my story is worth telling.

Because it is leading me to find others who have stories too.

"Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go back to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end." ~ John 13:1

~~~~~

What is the journey you're on?

How is Jesus showing up in unexpected ways on your journey?

Pull up a chair. I'm listening. Share a comment below.

~~~~~

New 4-Week Series:  {The Journey}

For the four weeks leading up to Easter, I'm selecting soulful prompts to reflect movements in Lent.  Lent means "The Way of the Cross".  In other words, Lent is "The Journey". I hope this quiet space here in this blog post provides a moment for you -- as we explore these Journey-Inspired prompts together. Let's do this. You and me. Us and together. Let's swap some stories.

{ Today’s post is part of Bonnie Gray's {The Journey} series. Click here for read the entire series. }

Written by Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista, author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest. (Revell Books. Pre-order today. Release date: June 3, 2014.)   

Finding Spiritual Whitespace guides readers on a journey to create space in life to slow down, feed their souls, draw closer to God and enjoy rest.  Through heart-breaking honesty and practical insight, Bonnie chronicles her unexpected journey through anxiety and painful memories, to discover a better story for her life, one that makes room for God, for beauty and rest, right in the midst of our stress-frayed everyday lives. 

Bonnie Gray is the soulful writer behind FaithBarista.com serving up shots of faith for the daily grind.  She is a contributor at DaySpring (in)courage and her writing has been spotighted by Christianity Today and nationally syndicated through McClatchy-Tribune News Services. After graduating from UCLA, Bonnie served as a missionary, ministry entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Eric, and their two sons.

** Don't miss! ** If you are new to Faith Barista, I'd like welcome you here.Click to subscribe by email and get each post in this series served up hot and fresh directly in your mailbox.

{photo credit: nicole.pierce.photography via flickr}