My book will be published in a few days….here is the prologue….
When you fly as much as I do, you end up sitting next to countless fellow passengers. Some you talk to, some you don’t. Some you acknowledge with little more than a nod before you both continue your flight, completely oblivious to each other. Some you remember, most you don’t. But some are entirely different. Some change how you see the world and your place in it.
When Rachel sat down next to me on a flight from Atlanta, engaging a fellow passenger was the last thing I wanted. I was on the final leg of a return trip from Australia, barely having slept in over a day. I would happily have zoned out, waiting for the landing gear to touch ground again. But she isn’t the kind of girl who lets you zone out when she’s sitting next to you. So I gave her my attention. And thank God I did. Yes, at first blush she was remarkably engaging – so much so, that someone not paying attention might have missed telltale signs of darker times in her past. She was full of life and optimism. She even made me laugh about my upcoming divorce. But between her references to adoption as a child, divorce at a very young age, and a nearly fatal accident only a few months earlier, there was clearly much more below the surface of that effervescent personality.
When she mentioned why she had been in Atlanta: a multi-day Christian worship event I was suddenly dubious. I’ve met too many well-meaning but clueless souls who think they are holy because they mention God and Jesus in every other sentence. I was almost disappointed as I wondered if she was one of them. What I didn’t know at the time was that her faith had been tested more than I could imagine. It had done more than endure those trials – it was a large part of the strength that allowed her to conquer them.
The next time you sit next to a woman on a plane, on the bus, or at a restaurant, you may be meeting someone who has been the victim of child abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and domestic violence. She may be smiling. She may in fact be so beautiful and full of life that she is downright magnetic. But she may be hiding things darker than anything you can imagine.
The book you’re holding tells a true story of climbing that mountain – from abuse and suffering that would break the strongest people you know to a love of people and of life few people ever achieve. “Taking Back the Pen” is an apt title. We came up with it while sitting on my kitchen floor after a few cocktails, only months after we met on that plane. It is a tragedy that for many women whose lives mirror the first few chapters of this book, the happy ending you will read does not materialize. They end up either continuing to live in abuse or losing their way somehow. This book is proof that their stories don’t have to end the way they so often do.
Everybody has a story. Unless you take the time to ask, you will never know what lies behind a smile. If you meet the author of this book you would never know the horror she has lived through. You would see a beautiful girl who loves her life and her job with more friends then she can count. It’s not that she’s hiding her past; she’s simply not letting it define her. If you are experiencing abuse, poverty, depression, or any of the other troubles that befall people making their way in the world, these pages will hopefully speak to you. Even if you’re not, they contain a story that will touch and inspire you to help others.
After all, the next time you sit on a plane, there may be a story still being written sitting next to you.