Not too long ago, Rosie O’Donnell told you in an interview on your show that you played a starring role in the story of her life – only you didn’t know it.
That remark made me smile because I feel very much the same way.
Rewind the tape of my life 15 years and you’ll see me, a young, sleep-deprived, stay-at-home mother of two in a suburb of Detroit “putting the roast in the oven.” I probably hadn’t had a shower that day, and if I had, there would have been a crying baby in a bouncy seat on the floor just outside the curtain. Chances are good, I was wearing grey maternity sweat pants (even though my baby was 6 months old) and I had spit up on my shoulder. But there you were, in the kitchen with me. Talking to ME, of that I was sure. You looked me in the eyes and you said, “Do what you love.”
I listened to you and I listened to my heart. And my heart told me to write.
So, I did.
The journey to publication was not pretty or easy. Along the way, my husband and I added another baby to the family. We struggled with mortgage payments, bills, and a failing Detroit economy. And while I continued to collect stacks of rejection letters from publishers, you and my husband never stopped cheering me on.
It took six years, but with the image of Dorothy’s ruby red slippers etched in my mind, I sold my first picture book to HarperCollins in 2001. Since then, I have had another 7 books published. My three babies are teenagers now.
But your starring role in the story of my life does not end there. Two years ago, I began reading A NEW EARTH by Eckhart Tolle. I became a faithful student of your podcasts. In one of the podcasts, you talked about a turning point in your career when you changed the focus of your prayers. Instead of asking God for specific things, you said these three things instead… I wrote them down in my journal:
Allow your purpose to shine through me.
How do you want me to live?
How can I be used?
I incorporated those same words into my daily meditations. Within DAYS, I got a phone call from my editor at Disney-Hyperion, asking me if I would be interested in writing a book with the lovely Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan. The book was to be about tolerance, and friendship, and healing the gap between all cultures and backgrounds.
When I hung up the phone, I was stunned. But even more so, I was humbled and grateful. I knew without a doubt the assignment had come from above.
Our story comes full circle on Friday when I will be sitting in your audience in Chicago, cheering on Queen Rania and THE SANDWICH SWAP. I hope that I have the opportunity to thank you personally, but just being there will further validate my knowing that a purpose far greater than myself is being played out on the stage.
Look for Queen Rania and THE SANDWICH SWAP on The Oprah Show, Friday, April 23rd.
Other upcoming appearances by Her Majesty:
Good Morning America - Tuesday, April 27th
The View - Wednesday, April 28th