“Mark my word,” Sheridan McKenzie persisted. “Nothing good will come out of this. Your last book was too personal and now this. It’s too religious for our readers.”
Connie held her breath. “I only share the love of Christ since I found the truth in Jesus. I told you that.”
“Well, in that case,” Sheridan exploded. “ Find yourself another editor.” The phone went dead.
Three days later Connie was making some changes to her latest book ‘Show me your Mercy’ when there was a knock on her door. Since her editor’s abrupt conversation Connie felt there was something more she could add to the conclusion, whether or not it was eventually published. Before she reached the door there was another knock.
“Sheridan?” Connie hardly recognized the woman behind the tear stained face looking back at her.
“Connie, I need to talk to you.” She stepped into the front entry room before continuing. “I decided to persist with your manuscript,” she gulped. “I deleted much of the religious material.”
“You what? Sheridan…”
“Please hear me out, her editor cut in.”
“I think we had better sit down,” Connie suggested.
Sheridan gave a simple nod and they moved to the sofa in the living room.
“I knew what I was doing would upset you, Connie, but I thought it would help sell the book.”
Connie was totally baffled by this strange behavior. There was no way Sheridan would leave her luxurious house with her face looking like an artist smeared paint palette. She prayed silently, not just for herself to keep her anger controlled, but for God to give peace to Sheridan.
“You see, I was convinced that you wrote this book out of spite. I knew you would be upset and possibly even find another editor--someone sympathetic toward your new found faith. I was angry with you. I didn’t even know why,” she paused with single sob.
This was not Connie’s usual stern and demanding editor sitting before her. “What is it, Sheridan? Why are you so upset?”
“I started to think you had delved into my past,” she shook her head. “I knew that was impossible, but the words started to speak to me.” This time her pause was almost calming. A bleak but small smile appeared momentarily.
Connie continued for the other woman and recalled a line from chapter six. “My heart aches with the loss and I don’t know where to turn.” She moved closer to Sheridan. “This was me,” she said quietly. “I was in college when my parents were killed in a car accident. I was distraught and…”
Sheridan cut her off. “I know that now.” She reached into her Gucci hand-bag and pulled out a lace handkerchief.
Connie sat back. What’s happening here, Lord? She is wiping her face with lace. She would never ruin such a pretty thing. Then Connie saw an opportunity she couldn’t miss. She took a deep breath. “We all go through things in our lives that are distressing. We don’t understand why things happen, but God does. Sometimes it’s too painful to share with anyone.” She paused. “That’s what I experienced before I found Jesus Christ as my Lord and friend.”
Sheridan closed her eyes momentarily. Her disheveled hair fell from its normal tight chignon that had given a sternness to the editor’s poise that always matched her behavior.
Connie would never have guessed that there were dark wavy curls hidden away in the usual style. She was moved by this woman’s odd reactions. She leaned forward and took Sheridan hands in her own. “What is bothering you about these words.”
Sheridan squirmed and adjusted her knee length skirt. “I want what you have.” She looked around the sparsely furnished room. “I don’t mean your processions. I want this new found faith you have and the positive assurance that this Jesus can forgive me and show me how to be the person I should be.” She took a deep breath. “Will you forgive me too, Connie? I haven’t been totally fair with you.” Sheridan looked down at her hands. “I haven’t been fair to you--I mean my fees. I've been charging you for words I don't edit.”
Anger began to rise within Connie but she suppressed it before she spoke. “Why don’t I pray for you? Then we can pray together the sinners prayer. We can let God take care of the rest. Okay?”
“Okay,” Sheridan smiled as fresh tears flowed.
They held hands and closed their eyes.
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