I am not sure why I haven't posted about this yet because it has been a source of joy over the last week or so; literally every time I think about it I smile. I am typing now with a huge smile on my face.
So this is how the story goes...
Tuesday at 12:05 I was in my classroom eating lunch. The girls normally join me, but since Megan is at Johnson on Tuesdays it was just Rachel and I. I heard the 'ding' of my email go off and turned around in my chair to see who it was from. I am normally not able to check my email until my students have special area class so the fact that I saw this email come in during my normal lunch was a miracle all in itself. I saw the name "Melanie" in the email address line and "Hi!" in the subject box. I think the only person that I know with the name Melanie is Melanie Shankle and let's be real, I really don't know her I just pretend I know her. I know you all understand. You have to have people that you see on television or in a magazine (or in this case whose book you've read) and you just know if you met you'd be fast friends. That is how my friends and I feel about Melanie. We love her.
So in that instant when I thought it could be my BFF Melanie Shankle I lost it. I opened the email and cried and then laughed and then squealed when I read that the name at the bottom of that email actually was Melanie Shankle.
You have got to be kidding me! I looked at Rachel and asked her if she made up a fake email with Melanie's name because this couldn't be real. She assured me it was real and that Megan had written Melanie to share my blog and story. She said they had been waiting several weeks for me to get this email after Melanie replied to Megan and told her she would send something. I was so excited I think people passing by my room may have thought the royal baby herself had graced my presence during my lunch break.
Melanie Shankle, author of Sparkly Green Earrings, Antelope in the Living Room, and Nobody's Cuter Than You, wrote me an email! I couldn't believe it! I was star struck. I kind of wish I had a video of how I acted in that moment. (Or maybe not...) Either way you would have all witnessed pure joy had you seen my reaction to that email. And to top it all off, her words were beautiful, they were encouraging.
The email wasn't long, just two short paragraphs, but it said exactly what I needed to hear. I felt like God was saying, "I told you I am here. My faithfulness is never failing and I will take care of encouraging your heart and your spirit; even when the words come from a complete stranger." She encouraged me to keep going, keep seeking God in a situation that feels impossible. She said, "Let him turn your ashes into beauty." I think I may have audibly said, "I will."
After reflecting on all of this; my absolute hysteria, the tears as I read about how she knew a little about Charlie, the idea that some people are just good, the way you want them to be, and the fact that Melanie Shankle seriously wrote ME an email...the thing that stands out the most is none of that. It is the friend that emailed Melanie to tell her about me. Knowing that at some point I want to put words into the pages of a book this friend thought this would fill my heart with joy and she wanted to see that. She trusted that this gut feeling to make me smile was worth it and she literally emailed Melanie Shankle (probably my favorite author ever) and expected an answer.
That is what you call a friend. Megan, I love your heart. Thank you for your persistence and for knowing that joy is such great medicine! Thank you for being a source of joy in my life.