Have you ever done something risky just because you felt in your heart of hearts it was the right thing to do? Maybe if you’re the praying type, you prayed first. If you’re the type who listens to your gut, maybe your gut told you it was the right thing to do. Maybe your loved ones supported you, or maybe they called your decision foolish, or even stupid. Still others might have called it a leap of faith.
When I think of the term “leap of faith,” the first thing that pops into my mind is that scene in the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” where Indie is racing to save his father’s life. He comes to the rim of this yawing crevice in the earth, so wide and deep a body could fall and fall and fall… You get the picture. (It makes me shiver just thinking about it!) Indie stares at the chasm, then at his father, injured and suffering, on the other side. He puts his hand over his heart and closes his eyes, and after a moment he relaxes, as if he’s found peace, and truth. He takes a deep breath, extends his foot and takes a giant step forward. (Now that’s a leap of faith!)
We watch, transfixed (our hearts possibly pounding along with Indie’s), expecting him to fall and fall and fall. But he doesn’t. Something breaks his fall. Something solid and substantial enough to hold his weight. He grabs a handful of dirt, scatters it before him, and we see that there’s a pathway across the divide so cleverly camouflaged that it’s impossible to see with the naked eye. Still, pretty scary, but there’s a way forward, a way he wouldn’t have seen had he not taken that leap.
Although few of us have to face that type of choice, we all face decisions in our lives that force us to choose between the common sense approach, i.e., the safe and tried approach, and the approach that makes others shake their heads at us and mutter things under their breath. My husband and I have taken those leaps a few times in our marriage. The first was when we left our nice, safe (albeit boring) jobs with the federal government in Washington, D.C., to move to suburban New Jersey. Only one of us had a job in Jersey (I was permitted a transfer), the pay hardly enough to support us and our infant son. But we knew in our heart of hearts that we didn’t want to raise a family in the rush-rush world of D.C. We didn’t want a life where it took close to an hour, possibly more, to make a five-mile commute into the city. We didn’t want a lifestyle where our closest friends from work might live a couple hours away in Maryland, our closest relatives a bumper-riding trip up Interstate 95. So we uprooted ourselves, against my in-laws’ urging (read: “Don’t be stupid!”), and things worked out okay. My husband got a great job within a few weeks, and over the years we were able to spend much more time with our families.
Twenty-some years and a second son later, we made a similar choice. Our area had become so congested that daily living was becoming a chore. Our older son (ironically) had chosen to make his home in D.C., our younger son was heading off to college, and we were free as birds to go wherever we wanted. Except for that whole job thing. Once again I managed a transfer, and once again we packed up everything we owned and moved, back to Virginia, this time to the southeastern corner. People didn’t call us stupid this time, although many shook their heads at what they perceived as our foolishness. But it felt right, so we did it, and things have turned out okay. My husband got a really great job, I wrote my first book (and got it published!), and we launched a new chapter in our lives.
Recently our guts have been talking to us again. This time it wasn’t about location, but it was about forging our own path forward. I’d written a second book, a novella, and shopped it around. My first choice of publisher loved it but said it wasn’t enough of a romance to fit their brand. My second choice happily accepted it, but that’s when the gut juices started to flow. I won’t go into detail, but we quickly began to wonder if we’d made a mistake. After a couple months, we decided that yes, we had made a mistake. I got my rights to the book back and made a decision that some might call foolish, some might call stupid, and some might call a leap of faith. I decided to jump into the maelstrom of today’s publishing world: independent publishing.
I know what you’re probably thinking. Oh, that’s just the new word for the old self-publishing. You’re right. But that term doesn’t mean the same thing it meant even two years ago. It doesn’t mean the work isn’t good enough for publication by a known publishing company. What it means is that I’ve decided to take charge of my story, to pick my own cover, to choose my editor, to release the story on my timetable, not some over-committed publisher’s schedule, and to set a price that I’m comfortable with.
Will I regret this six months from now? Maybe. Maybe I’ll fall and fall and fall. If that happens, hopefully I’ll learn along the way. But maybe, just maybe, this leap of faith will reveal a pathway before me that I never would have seen with my naked eye. So here I gooooooo….!
Coming Soon…Leah St. James
FBI Agent Jackson Yates had never believed in ghosts…until now.
Rachael Sullivan has spent her adult years searching for knowledge of life after death.
Joined by forces beyond their control, together they seek a killer, and together they encounter…Adrienne’s Ghost.
(Cover art by Katherine Basey.)