Yesterday, I was on my way to the post office when I saw a car parked at the end of our lane by our farm stand. The driver’s side door was open, and I could see someone sitting there. I pulled up and rolled down my window, and the woman said, “I needed you to come down the driveway just now. Could you turn off your car?”
I didn’t know this woman, but when someone asks to speak to you, I do my best to do so. So I turned off the car and got out. “I’m Andi.”
She told me her name and said, “I need to hug you.” So I hugged her.
In the next few moments, she told me the many hard, hard things that had happened to her this year – many of which I have lived through myself – and she said, “I needed to stop here today.”
I don’t know what we put in our farm stand that made her feel hopeful or connected to us – the sign about how we take payment, our Little Free Library, the origami cranes that our friend Ursula made – but something there spoke to a hurting woman, and I’m hopeful that maybe a little healing came to her in that former Voting House.
People stop by our Farm Stand every day, and I never meet most of them because we manage our stand on the honor system. Some of them buy eggs and produce, some leave books or take books, some just stop to see what the little building on the side of the road is.
Books and blogs, articles and poems are like that, too. They are unstaffed gifts to the world, and so we do not always know who reads them or is helped, served, changed, taught, or even saved by them. I forget that most days when I’m frustrated by the lack of book sales or email opens, when someone’s critical comment can feel like it swamps all the good things I hear.
It takes a real act of will, courage, and faith to believe that our writing matters, but here’s what I know as someone who is the silent reader of most things – those posts and books, articles and poems matter in big and small ways to someone most every day I expect.
Take heart, my writer friends. . . someone may pull into the farm stand of your words and find a bit of hope for their day, and they may drive away without saying a word . . . so keep writing. . . we just never know where that hope might grow.
Have you ever been surprised at the way something you write affected someone, even if you didn’t know it at the time?
Registration is still open for the newest session of Discover Your Writing Self. The course begins on January 1 and is completely FREE for all writers in all genres. Get more information and register here.