On A Clear Blue Day
The idea for this book first began when I was the leader of a women’s ministry in my church. In an effort to communicate each month, I wrote a brief narrative about observations I had about God’s guidance and grace in my life. I had a positive response from these loving, cordial women, so kept writing. The book is a compilation of continued observations. The material is divided into four sections to be used any way readers prefer. The reader can follow the linear pattern of the seasons, or skip around. When I’ve used devotional books, I’ve found I’m not good at reading an entry every day. Thus, my weeks have two days for readings, another day for answering a few thought questions, as well as recording your own findings. There is another day for participating in an activity that could prove helpful in cementing the subject matter for that week. I invite readers to take what they want and leave anything that is not useful. I write about everyday matters—many of the entries are about navigating marriage—its gains and losses. I write about the intention of moving toward rest and peace amidst a world that veers more and more toward chaos, calamity and performance-based acceptance. I write, too, about my dreams—God speaking to me often in the night watches. Life is multi-faceted. God is mysterious and powerful. He works in myriad ways—always desiring to draw us closer to Him. Sometimes there is confusion and loneliness on the path. Yet I find that cultivating His presence and finding ways to seek Him help more than anything when I feel overwhelmed with the vicissitudes of life.
I’ve always been somewhat intrigued by the concept of grief. We are constantly processing loss in life, whether it is the death of someone we love or the passing of youth. I work as a counselor assisting persons with substance use disorders manage this difficult disease. Over and over again, I’ve been struck in the counseling room how much beginning to heal from the disorder is about processing grief and loss. So it didn’t necessarily surprise me when one of my clients spoke the title of my second book. He cried openly in his session and said, “Priscilla, I think people struggling with addiction miss God more than other people.” This statement filled the room with power and I asked him to clarify. “Do you mean people managing addiction don’t have God in their lives or that they are lonely for Him?” He answered quite passionately, “Oh no, Priscilla, it’s because they are lonely for Him.” I thought then, before there were characters or a story line, that “Missing God” made a good title.
Then my older sister’s husband died suddenly at a Christmas party. He was gone in an instant, and my sister’s journey of grief began.
So I melded the two storylines in a novel. A woman managing heroin addiction seeks to find her way, and a woman newly widowed suffers pain and loss on another level. Both women experience the ravages of grief, but when they find one another, the cure begins.
While I enjoy delving into the process of grief, I believe there is a way through—there is hope and light that can penetrate even the darkest corners of human pain and suffering. And so the story does not leave one in despair.
An Ocean Away
Giovanni was the first man I loved and the last. Ultimately, this sums up the story of my book, An Ocean Away. The first strands of our narrative began on the Atlantic aboard an Italian ocean liner, the ss Leonardo da Vinci. I met Giovanni first in 1972. While our story began there, we connected only as acquaintances—he showing me much kindness as a waiter during the ship’s elegant dinners. We never touched or knew one another’s name, but perhaps our love was seeded on those Caribbean waters.
One year later, I took another cruise onboard that same ship. And that first day amidst the sunshine and smell of the sea, our eyes met in recognition. His gaze would be a moment I will never forget—that look that spoke with no audible words, “I remember you. I remember you.”
Our adolescent love did not last. The ocean and our different cultures formed a gaping abyss that we could not navigate.
After a quarter century, I had an unexpected occurrence that would ultimately change my life. While you know the outcome—Giovanni and I found each other—the story compressed between then and now is extraordinary on several levels. Certainly we transcended many natural obstacles of time and culture, yet the spiritual journey I piloted during those years was perhaps as astounding—filled with God’s grace and unfailing love.