Joy, Pain, and the Painted Bunting Discovery

Some have asked me why I chose to write In Search of the Painted Bunting. The answer to that question lies in what I heard the Georgia writer, Terry Kay, say more than once.

“You don’t write to tell a story,” Terry said. “You write to discover a story.”

That is absolutely true in this case.

I had known for years that I would write a book entitled, In Search of the Painted Bunting. I researched Painted Buntings and did my own search for Painted Buntings whenever I was in a geographic location to do so. But in many years, I never hit on the right idea. And I never saw a Painted Bunting.

Until one day when I found myself on a 22,000-acre property in the low country of South Carolina with my husband Jerry, son Aaron, and others. Jerry happened to mention that I wanted to see the bird, and a friend who had suffered much in the previous days losing a beloved family member said, “I know where they are.”

We loaded into a four-wheel drive vehicle and headed down a dirt road rambling through the pines. When we arrived at the location he’d aimed for, we got out and I looked, but nothing. Our friend handed me binoculars and pointed, “There,” he said.

And sure enough, my first Painted Bunting sightings and to this day my only ones.

As I stood there with the binocs in my hand, I was so aware that the joy of this dream of mine being realized was due to the kindness of someone whose heart was heavy with grief.

I knew that when I finally sat down to write the story, it would involve someone who was greatly suffering. And that someone who was suffering would bring joy to another.

Joy and pain. Joy and pain. They so often find themselves in close proximity. In fact, Ann Voskamp has said, “Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don’t numb themselves to really living.”

In Search of the Painted Bunting is the story I discovered when all of this came together.

So, in many ways seeing the bird not only helped me realize a dream but was the spark for this book—all because this generous friend stepped out of the circle of his own pain.

The thing he needed most; he gave away.

In Luke 6:38, Jesus said these words, “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” I can never repay our friend for what he did, but I do pray the Lord has returned to him many fold the joy he gave me.

So, in this case, that is what Paul Harvey used to call “the rest of the story.”

And if you haven’t had an opportunity to check out In Search of the Painted Bunting, please slide over to that big book site and do so. It will be much appreciated.

I've recently reviewed a sweet children's story from another Elk Lake author, NicoleLisa Schrader, Darwin Finds Freedom.  

"NicoleLisa Schrader’s lovely story Darwin Finds Freedom about a fearful mouse, Darwin, shows what courage looks like in the face of fear. Darwin dares to do what he never thought he could in searching for the free mice—with the help of a few feathery and furry friends along the way and most importantly the King of all Creatures. Written in a style that children will embrace, H.C. Ward’s illustrations are exquisite and are sure to spark imaginations.

The included discussion questions will provide opportunities for further discussion and the animal facts in the back are something children this age will love." 

So click over to that big book site and find out more. Meanwhile you might want to register for a giveway HERE which will also subscribe you to the author's newsletter. 


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