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Contagious Joy


“Did you jump up and down?! Did you shout?! Did Jer pick you up and swing you around?!”

These are questions that came from my mom, who is in her nineties.


I had entered a writing contest last year around this time. I didn’t have anything big to enter so I sent in two smaller pieces, a devotional and flash fiction (short story). Honestly, I did this because I know even if I didn’t place it would still give me opportunity to sit with agents and publishers.


COVID hit and all that changed. In July, I was told I was one of three finalists in the devotional category. It was a pleasant surprise. I don’t excite easily. I mentioned to my family who seemed happy for me. But my mom was ultra-excited.


The winners weren’t going to be announced until August during the Zoom Award Ceremony. The writing conference had been moved to an online version, like most everything else.


I remember driving home from work and talking to my mom. That evening I would find out the outcome of the contest. She told me she had stayed up the whole night before praying for me. She’s so sweet. I didn’t have the heart to tell her they had made their decision some time ago, even though I didn’t know.


Wearing my sweats and reclining in my front room chair, I watched the conference. Jer watched TV in the other room, the only light came from his direction and my computer on my lap. They listed all the finalist in all the categories, believe me, a big list. Then they read the first line of each piece that had won in that category.

When I heard them read the line I had written, I felt an emotional wave run through me. A little thrill. I told Jer, who told me that was great but didn’t make a big deal out of it because I didn’t act like it was a big deal.


I knew I had to call my mom and tell her. At first I tried to play it off like I hadn’t won but when I exclaimed that I had, there was a silent pause before she began almost crying, telling me how proud she was of me and asking all those initial questions…Did I jump up and down? Did I shout? Did Jer swing me around. Her joy for my win was contagious. She had me laughing.


She informed me she had to get off the phone because she had so many people to call but wasn’t sure who to call first. She stated, “I’m so glad I lived to experience this with you!”

Her reaction to my winning was the best reward I could have ever asked for. Her joy became my joy!

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