I was early for Ethan's school pick-up so I parked in the carpool line and clicked my phone on. I had a book, but I hadn't started it yet...and if you're going to start a new book, you need a good hour or at least 45 minutes.
Not the five I had.
Facebook Mobile for the distraction.
I went to my newsfeed and found a note there from my agent. We have a group for her clients that makes it easier for all of us to share news and communicate. It's come in handy more than once and helps me feel connected to these writers walking the same path I'm on.
But today, the news that had just been posted made me gasp. Cover your mouth with your hand kind of gasp.
Last night, one of my agent's clients died in her sleep..
Just. Like. That.
I didn't know Julie Cannon well. Last year, she was looking for help promoting her Christmas book, I'll Be Home for Christmas and I did a blog post about it, including it in my Christmas giveaway. I remember how grateful she was--and how humble.
This year, I've been following her because her most recent book was released around the same time as mine.
I suppose maybe I should feel competitive with my fellow authors, but right now, I feel more of a kinship. More of a we're all in this together. More of a you understand me in a way that most people don't.
It's hard to explain.
In college, I was in a sorority. It was nice to feel like you automatically fit in somewhere... especially being away from home for the first time in my life. I tend to be somewhat homesick, so in a lot of ways going Greek made sense to me.
As a writer, this group of authors, my many ways, is like my sorority. I watch their careers. I cheer for them from the sidelines. They lift me up when I'm discouraged. Even the ones I don't know so well are still part of this group--we're all in this together...
So watching the grief ripple through this group at the much-too-soon loss of one of our own was both tragic and surreal. It's hit the perimeter of my circle and wound its way around.
And seeing people I love in such pain is heart-breaking.
Last night, I found myself sitting on the couch watching The Adventures of TinTin with my family and feeling overly thankful (is there such a thing) for every breath. For every moment I get to spend with these precious people--my people--who God has tucked around me for the duration of my life.
The reminder was a somber one, but it's left me feel more deeply and more certain than ever that I am called according to a purpose. It's made me want to live more intentionally. To hug my kids more often and to feel it when they say things to me like "Mom, you're the best mom."
It's made me want to be present every moment, every hour, every day... and to get on my knees before God, hands upturned, and ask him to fill me up.
Because I can't do one bit of any of this on my own.
You know how often people say they are so sorry for your loss? This isn't my loss.
It's all of our losses.
But the best way I can think to honor someone who has passed away is to live well.
And today, that is what I vow. To make every moment matter. To pay more attention. To be more present.
Because none of us is promised tomorrow.
Praying for Julie's friends and family today...and feeling grateful for her well-lived life.