Compassion for a passion

From Merriam Webster:

(4b) intense, driving or overmastering feeling or conviction
(5b) a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object or concept

sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress with a desire to alleviate it

Some of you probably know the story of how I happened to stumble across a blog called What I Learned Today a little over a year ago. You may even know how an offer from me of a weekly guest post developed into a working partnership between Billy Coffey and me. What you may not know, or fully understand, is why I offered to help Billy. In a nutshell, it’s because I have compassion for his passion: writing.

If you haven’t already done so, I would recommend reading his post today: Compassion in the Cold. It give a glimpse into just how long he’s been pursuing this almost lifelong passion of his. It is a story of one of the many crossroads in his writing career. Our chance meeting through the blogosphere (if you want to call it that–I don’t believe it was) is another.

Shortly after he started guest posting for me, he mentioned to me via email that he had a manuscript he was trying to get published. He had had several rejection letters from agents and publishers, many of them telling him the same thing: You need to build a platform. What I Learned Today was that platform. Again, many of you may already know this part of the story.

Now here’s the part you may not know. By the time I offered the weekly guest spot on my blog, Billy Coffey was once again ready to give up his dreams of ever being published. Billy is a strong, determined person, but rejection and obscurity after years of trying can wear down even the best of us. Having read his manuscript, there was no way I was going to let that happen if I could help it.

So help I did, and continue to do so. Because it was the right thing to do. Because a world without his stories would be a little bit darker and a little less hopeful.

I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea what I was doing when I first agreed to help him. It’s been a learning experience for both of us. But I know one thing for certain: that small, still voice telling me to offer my help was not my intuition, it was God’s voice, and I have seen His hand over and over this past year:  Billy signed with well known literary agent Rachelle Gardner, signed a two book deal with FaithWords, and has received generous praise for his debut novel, Snow Day, including the following from his childhood hero:

“Everybody needs a snow day! To slow down and take a breath of what is really important.” (Don Mattingly, 1985 American League MVP)

The latest bit of exciting news came last week. Billy sent me a link to FaithWords Fall/Winter catalog, which just so happens to have the cover art from Snow Day gracing its cover. Here’s the link:FaithWords Fall 2010/Winter 2011 catalog.

If you scroll through the entire catalog, you will find on page nine a description of first time author Billy Coffey’s novel Snow Day nestled between football legend James Brown’s new book and New York Times best selling author Philip Yancey latest offering. I’d say those guys are in very good company!

This is not a post about what I did to help out a struggling writer. Billy Coffey’s work is well deserving of all the attention it has received and will continue to receive. I write this because I want to challenge you. If you know someone who has a dream, and can’t seem to get over the hump by him or herself, offer to help them. If you believe in what they are doing, have compassion for their passion. You may just find, as I did, that helping others is a passion of your own.

“There comes that mysterious meeting in life when someone acknowledges who we are and what we can be, igniting the circuits of our highest potential.” ~ Rusty Berkus

This post is part of the blog carnival on Compassion, hosted by Bridget Chumbley. To read more, please visit her site.

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