First steps are scary. They’re often unsure and wobbly and will most likely end in a fall. We start out not worrying about that too much. One moment we’re clutching the edge of the couch, swaying on unsteady legs, looking scared and excited all at the same time. A hand lets go and flails about in the air, then the other hand lets go, and suddenly little legs are stumbling across the rug. We’re grinning and giggling and tumbling into open arms and happy cheers.
It’s funny how first steps get scarier as we get older though. It gets harder and harder to let go of that couch. And when we finally do, we just hope no one is looking … at least not until we stop wobbling.
There has been a bear floating around in our hearts for years. In songs and doodles and long talks about what might be one day. We’ve joked and dreamed around the dinner table. We’ve had plans and hopes for him, and he’s brought us more than a few tears. There have been times when we’ve tried and stumbled and crashed to the floor enough that we really wouldn’t mind at all if that little bear just wandered out of our lives and back to wherever he came from. But still, we’re glad when he decides to stay.
Finally his story starts coming together. We give him a name and a backpack and not much else. Just a bewildered little bear walking into a village. Then the questions start.
“Where did he come from?”
“Why is he in this village?”
“And how did he get so far from home?”
As Erin and I sat on the couch that day, wondering about that little bear and that little scene, we realized we really wanted to tell his story. As we talked and imagined, Growly’s story grew and grew until we were dreaming of a book, then two books, and then three, and …
I wish there was an app that could take all the hopes and dreams right out of your heart and place them perfect, shining, and spell-checked on a big display table at Barnes and Noble. Because first steps are hard. First steps are scary.
The alarm rings at 5 a.m. and you groan as you tumble out of bed at this awful, early hour. There’s a feeling of fear growing as you start the coffee. You wish it would brew more slowly as you frantically try to work up that inspired, awesome feeling you once had when you first dreamed about writing a book. You realize the coffee is ready and it fills you with terror … you desperately try to think of something else that has to be done before you get started. You can’t think of anything, and now your stomach is churning.
“What if I get it wrong?”
“What if I mess up this dream I’ve been carrying around for so long?”
“What if I just fall flat?”
You sit down in front of the screen, desperate for an excuse not to get started. Facebook? News? Cute puppy on YouTube? Somehow you resist.
You open a fresh page and stare with dread at the blinking cursor as you whisper a prayer. “Please God, don’t let me mess this up.”
And then, you let go of the couch … Chapter 1 … An Early Morning …