I wanted to update you on our situation, especially our plans for my book tour. The big tour in celebration of the finale of The Green Ember Series that was supposed to span the next many months began on March 6 and lasted…a week. Our last event was (wisely) cancelled before the third and final day and we scrambled to adjust and get home.
We are now home, and are grateful to be back with our families. As challenging and concerning as our adventure was, we got to experience again the profound encouragement and joy of seeing readers face to face and connecting over a shared love of stories. This also sharpens the sadness for us—though proportionally insignificant compared to the pain many others are facing, of course—at likely missing out on the rest of our tour.
And that is where we are. We are not attending any events in the next few weeks and many other events over the next months are likely to be cancelled.
As of now, we are following the universal guidance of wise leaders and (for the sake of health care workers and the most vulnerable) avoiding events, conferences, and large gatherings. You don’t need a fiction author to give you medical advice (or to be your pastor), but I have been reading and processing the best sources I have been able to curate and I have no doubt that the wise thing is to heed their counsel. I was particularly helped by Andy Crouch’s guidance here.
Along with the profound challenges, this is an opportunity to love one another, care for the most vulnerable among us, and to be awakened to our real finitude. (A good word for kids to learn.) Like all fearful and adverse circumstances, big and small, there is an opportunity for us to grow as characters in this story we are living.
I’m thinking of you and praying for you, especially children who may be anxious and confused. I am praying for you, parents, as you lead your families in grace and truth.
It was fitting to find today’s Psalm from Morning Prayer was Psalm 34. The entire song is wonderful, but I’ll grab out a couple lines to share:
The Lord is near to those who are brokenhearted
and will save those who are crushed in spirit.
God is not surprised. He intends good for his children, even amid pain.
I met a few folks who had planned to bring their kids to the third and final day of our conference, and they were in tears over the cancellation because their kids had wanted to meet me. That makes me sad and happy at once. I’m glad there are kids who care so much, but so sorry about our disappointment at not getting to meet. I feel it too.
If you have a child who was excited to meet a favorite author in the coming days—to get a signature and a picture together—I am sorry that will likely be delayed. That’s disappointing. I hope you’ll remind those beautiful kids that we are connected through the stories and that meeting a guy can be fun, but the adventures we have in common are the main thing between us. We as parents can be wise guides helping to manage feelings and to set realistic and generous expectations and put events like these in context. Thank you for doing that. We are in this together.
“The children, I love the children. They are my heart.” —Nacho Libre
I know this is true: my love for my readers grows and grows over time. My gratitude for all of you is deep.
Our small, family team is committed to serving you in love. We are very few, and we are far from perfect, but our hearts are deeply dedicated to you. I have heard my brother and partner Josiah pray for you and go the extra mile to serve so many of you time and time again. I wish you could see what I see sometimes. It is amazing. I’m so blessed to work so closely with such an honest, generous man.
Please know that we are on your side. Thanks for being on ours and supporting our work. We’ll be in touch again before too long, and please know I plan on using this time away from the tour to create work worth sharing with people I love and respect and feel called to serve. (You!)
Grace and peace to you!
P. S. Here is a collect I love from The Book of Common Prayer for a time of distress:
Increase, O God, the spirit of neighborliness among us, that in peril we may uphold one another, in suffering tend to one another, and in homelessness, loneliness, or exile befriend one another. Grant us brave and enduring hearts that we may strengthen one another, until the disciplines and testing of these days are ended, and you again give peace in our time; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I snapped this quickly while walking the streets of Fort Worth yesterday. It was a comforting sight to me.