Lord, grant me the strength to not smack stupid really, really hard in the face.
From time to time I give out Special Kind of Stupid Awards. This week I have a personal award I’d like to extend to the lovely gentleman at the Christian book store in McAlester, Oklahoma. You, sir, have exceeded my expectations and get a front row seat on the short bus to Shutty Town.
Do I sound harsh? Let me assure you I have calmed down quite a bit since yesterday afternoon. On my drive home I was seething. I was silent for the entire hour+ ride and that had my children worried. They know when my jaw is clenched so tight that the muscle is twitching that I am on the verge of tears. Once the tears come, safety returns, but until then it is a danger zone around me.
So what had me so upset? Let me explain.
I had to go to Lowes for some supplies and I don’t like driving all that way for just one reason. So we try to make a day of it and get things done. I decided we would pick up my nieces so they could spend their spring break up on the mountain and we had lunch. We also wanted to stop by a few leads I had for getting I Am Ocilla into some shops. As I’ve mentioned before, it is really hard getting POD books stocked on shelves. There was a coffee shop that had shown interest a few months back and there was a Christian book store. I didn’t necessarily think they would, but it never hurts to ask…or so I thought.
First we stopped at the coffee shop. My dorky writer eyes spotted this sign at the furniture store beside it and I had the good sense to snap that shot for all of you. Aren’t you glad I was prepared? I went in and asked the owner if he would be interested in carrying a local artist. I handed him my sell sheet and a copy of I Am Ocilla to look at. He took the time to read the sheet and flip the pages of the book. He wasn’t interested and that was fine. I understand and his “no” was kind enough.
We left and moved on to hunting down the Christian book store. It was located in a good place right across from the college and the hospital. My sister and I went in and I asked the man at the counter if they might be interested in carrying my girl. I handed him my sell sheet and a copy of I Am Ocilla. He scanned the sell sheet and crinkled his nose as he looked at the cover. He told me he didn’t know if they would be able to. As a matter of fact, he thought they would probably pass. No questions about the book other than…”Oh, it’s not a Christian book?”
I told him it was a Christian book and asked if they wanted to keep a copy to review. I’m fully aware of the gamble a retailer takes when they put your book on the shelf. If they have read it and love it, they are more likely to recommend it to their customers. So I thanked him for his time and left, leaving the copy.
My sister stayed inside and purchased a few items. When she came out she told me the man asked if her sister was into witchcraft. My mouth gaped. Seriously, it did. I may have drooled on myself. It felt like a punch to my gut. Was it the way I looked? I did brush my hair. I have no weird piercings and my makeup is fairly light. My clothes were clean and I bathed the night before. I even had matching shoes on. So why, oh why did this man say that?
It seems my sister asks him why he would say something like that. He answered the reason was because there were Dragons and Fairies and such in my book. This was the kick to my head. When my sister told me this it took every bit of will I had to not go back in and yank my precious book from his judgmental fingers. And it took all of my strength to restrain myself from going in and punching him in his pie-hole.
I know violence solves nothing, but my knee-jerk reaction was the thought of my fist in his mouth. That is the honest truth. So what stopped me? He’s stupid. He judged a book by its cover and didn’t give me or Ocilla a chance. The hippy at the coffee shop was kinder than the man that represents himself as my brother in Christ.
So again, what stopped me from going back in and at least taking back my book? God did. I am as sure of that as I am that my name is Diane and my hair is crazy. You cannot fight stupid with stupid. Period. That and everything happens for a reason.
I have heard talk in the Christian writing circles of this sort of thing and to be honest, I thought maybe it was an exaggeration. I was wrong. The strange stuff scares people. It makes them feel uncomfortable and out of their safety zone. They hear magic, dragons, fairies and elves and they think evil. This hurts me deep because I see God in all things. I want them to know that God cannot be boxed.
This is what I think. If talking vegetables can be used for God’s glory, then so can talking animals, Fairies, Giants, Elves, Dwarves, and Dragons. The Good News should never be confined and the fact that some don’t see that is a shame. I choose to not do stupid. Instead, I give the man at the book store my award, but with the hope he will give it back after he has given my girl a chance. Never know what God has planned.
Have you ever had an experience like this? One in which satan tries to use your brothers and sisters in Christ to be a stumbling block? How did you act…or react?
Peace, love and God’s will