I love stories — especially when they are told from real life experiences. Today, I want to share one of those stories with you from an experience I had that was both encouraging and humbling.
Many of you know that I had a book reading and signing event on Saturday, May 21st at the Joyful Village Center. My book reading and Q&A segment was in combination with presentations and workshops featuring popular calligraphy artists from around Seoul and Pohang City, South Korea.
One of the calligraphy artists present at the event happened to be one whose work I had been admiring since last year when I was first introduced to her beautiful artistry at another event. I had her book with me, and I looked forward to meeting her with much excitement. Honestly, I never would have dreamed that we would both be presenting our stories and giftings at the same event, but there we were. As if that wasn’t enough, during our lunch time, artist Lee Kyung Bok shared through an interpreter that she had read my book, Chasing Life: Lessons on Suffering Well, twice already, and loved it. She said that she was thrilled to finally meet me in person because she had been encouraged while reading my story.
Later I sat at her table to chat and shamelessly ask for her autograph. She quickly took out her copy of my book and showed me how she had highlighted many areas, and I could see several folded pages where she had marked some of her favorite passages. I was moved to see how much my simple story had impacted her. Then, she told me she had been saving a burning question for me if we were to ever meet in person.
“In your last chapter, you chose Philippians 4:13 as your closing scripture,” she stated. “You did this after highlighting the difficulties of your journey with suffering in the previous paragraph. Why did you choose that particular scripture? And what was your thinking behind connecting it to your last paragraph?”
What a great question! My response was simple. I answered, “When I was thinking about how I wanted to close my narrative, I wanted to make a statement that expresses the reality that suffering and sorrow cannot be resolved on our own. Learning how to suffer well requires a strength outside of ourselves. Therefore, Philippians 4:13 fits well because the only way we can be strong enough to face our sufferings is through divine help.” I also told her that the verse was my father’s favorite bible verse, and it felt fitting to end the last chapter with it in a way that both honors his legacy and encourages readers to continue their journey with a sense of hope.
She was touched by that response and almost immediately took out her calligraphy pens. She gifted me a hand painted card with that special verse written in her beautiful and unique calligraphy style. We both became emotional as we exchanged affirmations to each other. At the end of our chat, we ended our time by signing each other’s books and taking photographs together.
What a beautiful God moment! Without a doubt, this was an unforgettable encounter and a good reminder that our stories and our talents matter as long as we are willing to share them with others.
What about you? Have you ever met someone who inspired you? What was that meeting was like? I would love to hear your experiences!