The Little Yellow Boat and I have been busy over the last few weeks. We’ve been working with a local film maker to get a promotional video made for The Little Yellow Boat book. It is now ready and scheduled for release on Saturday 15th May. I will put the link up here on Saturday morning as I’m not quite sure how to link to my YouTube site as yet. Hopefully that will come once the video is live.
As you will know from my post Be Who You Really Are, it has been a challenge for me to say what I wanted. Or more precisely to know what I wanted. But once I got my head round that I was able to keep sending the video back and forth to the maker until I had what I wanted.
Though my struggle now is with technology. I think I’ve got the site sorted and I think it will work on Saturday and so would really appreciate all my followers clicking on the link when I post it up, around 11am GMT, just so I know it works. I will also post it on my Instagram page and Facebook page and hope for the best.
There are still many things with YouTube, Facebook and Instagram I am grappling with but hopefully it will all come together.
There is much more to publishing if you want to get sold than just writing the book!!
These thoughts on Jesus our friend were prompted by Lilly Lewin’s Post from 5th May entitled “Cups of Connection and Joy“, from starting talking about connection the post flows into the John 15:14&15 were Jesus tells his followers they are friends not servants.
How often do we see those in church behaving like servants, running round doing stuff, keeping the whole show on the road, even busy doing the praying stuff – which looks so righteous – but in fact they are spending time in praying, whether at alone, online, in prayer rooms, not to hang out with a friend but to serve.
When I tried to share this I was reminded that the Bible talks of asking for things, of petitioning prayers, etc as if that meant that we had to do rather than hang out with our friend. It got me thinking about my friends and how I behave with them and what I expect from a friendship. I though about the words in The Little Yellow Boat book where she says “She realised she did not want to be rescued and taken home. She wanted help to continue her quest.” She then realises those boats she had dismissed, which become her friends, all have different things to offer and different ways to help her so she goes to them for different things.
My friends are all very different and I go to them for different things and expect different things from them. I have friends who I would go to for help to do things, friends that I would go to if I was trying to workout what to do next, friends that I would walk with, others I have never walked with but drank a lot of coffee with, others no coffee but lots of meals and wine. Some of my friends are Christians like me, and some even think about God in similar ways to me. Some are of other faiths and some none. Some challenge me and turn my thinking upside down. Some are a calming influence. When I met with them I am different depending who I’m with.
I found it interesting that there are many many Bible studies and Christian groups that look at God the Father but very few what look at Jesus as our Friend. I wonder if that is because there is distance between us being able to father/parent someone else and us being someone’s friend? With talking of Father God we can stand back a bit, forgive parents and welcome in God, or if parents repent for our misplaced parenting, but perhaps we keep our distance from looking at Jesus as friend because it would challenge us more. I also think being a friend is much harder to define than being a parent. As I’ve listed above I expect different things from different friends and give differently to my different friends.
Yet every day we can get up and be a friend, in whatever guise that is, but how often do we choose to do that?
Even though my book, The Little Yellow Boat, is a tale about a boat learning an important lesson, all the way through this process of writing, of collating, publishing and promoting the book I have been learning important lessons.
Yesterday was the second time I had been to my local beach to film the words I wanted to go with the video about The Little Yellow Boat. The first time I was mixing together words George, the film maker, had suggested and words I felt I ought to say. I also had another project I was trying to get finished so that was hovering at the back of my mind too.
On Monday I had been working with a group of young people on a writing project of theirs and shared how The Little Yellow Boat came into being. As I did this I realised that these are the words I wanted preserved on my promotional video. I also realised that even though the shots of me standing leaning on the promenade wall looked really good, personally I preferred to sit down. Interestingly George arrived yesterday one of the first things he said was “can we give it a go with you sitting on the pebbles?” Sometimes it is interesting how, when we think things in a positive way they filter through to other people
So we did a couple of takes with me standing on the prom and then I went to sit on the pebbles. I also spoke words very similar to those I had shared with the young people on Monday. I was relaxed and confident with my words so they flowed slowly and calmly on all occasions of filming, but it was when I sat on the pebbles I totally relaxed and that was the take we are going to use. Yes I did stumble over my words a bit but it came over as me sharing with a group of friends rather than a performance piece.
So the latest thing The Little Yellow Boat has told me is that I am to be myself rather than what I think other people might want for me. Also I realised if we are ourselves we let people help and support us in a way that we are not resentful about and can enjoy.
World Book Day comes with lovely memories of my children eagerly awaiting the actually date to go and spend their £1 book day tokens. The tokens would arrive from our favourite home education support group a week or two early but my two would wait until it was actually World Book Day before spending them. They never bought the book that was the one especially put together for that specific World Book Day, which only cost £1. Instead they would add their own pocket money to the token and would spend ages in our favourite independent bookshop searching until they had found just the right book. It was delightful. And came only second to the delight of discovering that my daughter had taught herself to read when she was about three years old in the “book cave” I had designed for them.
Both my two are still avid book readers even though not as much as myself. I devour books. Last year I read over 100 different books which I posted on Instagram and I’m hoping to read as many this year. For me and for my children, and most readers I know, books are a way of not just escaping but of learning about new worlds, people one wouldn’t meant in regular life, or reading about how others think and feel which taps into how we think. For myself I come away from a book with greater wisdom about myself and others, whether historical figures or contemporary. Books give one connection to something bigger than just ordinary life, which I think has been so important in these lockdown time.
As I was pondering this and knowing I was going to be posting it on to the Godspace site I was thinking how I could tie in God. Well of course Jesus is “The Word” which is actually isn’t so very different to a book. I believe each reader reads a book differently. We all dive in with our own ideas, thoughts, life experiences and prejudices and read the story through that. As I pondered this I felt that this is what we all do with Jesus if we choose to dive into him. I do not believe we can get to know Jesus without bringing our own stuff with us. I believe that is why Jesus isn’t a static word but “the living word” because we all change who he is by what we pour into him from us, and he then changes who we are by what we take away. .
I also think this makes God even more amazing than ever. When I wrote my book I had an idea not just what it meant but how I hoped people would feel about it, and what they get from it. It is only a 34 page children’s picture book but I still want to sit with each person and tell them how it should be impacting their lives. Yet God released his Son, the living word, as well as the Bible, into the hands of people. People who were going to read and interpret it through their own lens. I know we sit with God and explore his word with him but I don’t believe he ever dictates to us what we should get from him.
I believe God trusts each of us to read his Son and his Bible through who we are, through our own lens, through are own life experiences. And I think that we need to trust others to read through their own life lens and listen to what each other learns. Maybe we need to read the Bible and share what we’ve learned as we would a book club that would make a difference to our growth as followers of Jesus? We should not listen to what others are learning so we can tell them where they are wrong but, as with the book club idea so that we can learn about them, learn from them – and maybe in the process learn about ourselves just as we do when reading a well written novel.