Last week my Mom and I were strolling down Main Street in the quaint town where my grandparents live when a used bookstore caught my eye. The shelves inside were crammed floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall. I thought if one more book had been added the place might burst in an explosion of pages and paperbacks.
I snuck down the stairs to the musty, dusty basement (you know the kind). On the last shelf, of the last row, I saw the book in the photo below…
It’s Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie, a former Hallmark employee and one of the most revered creatives (although highly unconventional) in the publishing industry. I’d always wanted to read it so I picked it up, opened the cover, and saw this inscription inside…
In case you can’t read it that it says, “Jason, It’s great to be orbiting with you! Mike.” There’s also a date that you can’t see, 5/1/01. Of course, lots of used books have inscriptions. It’s kind’ve part of the mystery. You can imagine who the people might be and how the book got there.
But this time I didn’t have to do any imagining. Jason is a dear friend and a very talented professional colleague of mine in the publishing industry. Mike is my senior manager at DaySpring. My mind started spinning…of all the bookstores in all the world, how did I possibly end up with this book?
My first thought was that Jason might have been a naughty boy and given away the boss’s book when he moved to Ohio a few years ago. But knowing Jason that probably wasn’t the case. So I shot him an e-mail that said, “Did I really just buy your book in a random shop miles from where either of us live?”
He wrote back something along the lines of, “I’m trying to wrap my mind around this. I did get the book in 2001, really liked it, and loaned it to someone…and now you’re telling me it shows up in Van Buren?”
So where do you think that book was all those years?
I’d like to think that as a good leader Mike gave the book to Jason to inspire him (which he did). Then Jason (as one of the most encouraging guys I know) wanted to share the inspiration. Then whoever he loaned it to caught the bug and innocently passed it on to someone else, who showed it to someone else, and on down the line. It’s been eight years so someone probably eventually wondered, “Who are Jason and Mike?” Then they released the book back into the world where it came full circle to me.
If the inscription hadn’t been there, I never would have known how connected I was to that book. It makes me wonder how many other experiences I have like that without even realizing it. One person encourages another who encourages another until it gets to me…and I have no idea the crazy path God has taken all that encouragement on just so I could be blessed by it too.
It’s cool. It’s crazy. It’s connection.
What do you think?