When I first learned that the bookstore chain Borders would be closing its doors for good, I was bereft. Gone would be the days when I would slip over to the Eastgate Borders after school and browse its many shelves for new stories to fill my head and rescue me from the monotony of everyday life. (The closest Barnes and Noble was and is too far away for me to visit with regularity.)
My husband and I made countless visits to Borders during its final weeks in order to take advantage of the massive discounts. We bought what may have amounted to dozens of books--I say "may have" because I never counted them. It was a lot. A WHOLE lot. I ran into a problem, however. I cleaned out the Dean Koontz shelf and didn't know what else to buy, so I drifted over to the Christian Fiction section to see what, if anything, they had to offer.
This was possibly one of the best decisions I've ever made.
Up to that point, I had always been hesitant to try out new authors because I was afraid I wouldn't like them. Heck, I never would have even read any Koontz if my sister-in-law hadn't bought me two of his books for my birthday one year. But since Borders had marked everything down so much, I didn't feel like I was taking much of a risk when I purchased Never Let You Go by Erin Healy and Showdown by Ted Dekker. They sounded interesting. What could it hurt?
As it turned out, it didn't hurt a thing, because I happened to discover two of my newest favorite authors. (Hi, Erin!) And, through them, I discovered many other accomplished authors of Christian fiction whose work I have come to love, namely Tosca Lee, Frank Peretti, Eric Wilson, and Robert Liparulo. I also discovered a whole community of like-minded bloggers and book reviewers who not only have informed me about other amazing stories to read, but about writing/storytelling tips and facts about the publishing industry as a whole. I have learned so much from them in the past year, and I know that through them, I will continue to learn and grow as a writer.
Sometimes I wonder: If Borders had not gone out of business, would any of this have happened? I don't know. Yeah, I'm still sad that Borders is gone and that so many people lost their jobs, but I'm very grateful that the chain's demise indirectly led me to some amazing people who have helped me out in more ways than I can count.
One of the themes of my novel The Land Beyond the Portal is that good can come out of any negative situation. It's true. Maybe you've recently lost your job. Maybe a loved one has passed away. Maybe a significant other has left you. Or maybe nothing in your life seems like it is going the right way. You may feel like your whole world is ending. But stay strong, and keep your chin up. It might be God's way of closing one door so that another one may open for you. So when you find it, step through that door. And embrace whatever you find on the other side.