Today is a very special day. I feel the same joy today as I do every time one of my books hits the digital bookshelves, but this is a little different. If my previous books were my babies, then today is the end of my surrogate pregnancy with my friend Ben’s book, Greatly, Deeply.
My friend Ben Morrell was only 31 when he died from an extremely rare and aggressive cancer. It was a six year battle for him, a battle that took him from Seattle to Colorado to Houston and back home to Seattle. He and his wife married just five months before Wes and I did, my husband grew up with them in the church we go to. Ben was a really neat guy, and his wife is at least five different kinds of wonderful.
A month before his death, Ben sent out a call for help on Facebook. He needed help turning his six years’ worth of blog posts into a book. It was important to him that his legacy be secure, that the way God used his life and his cancer reach people far beyond the scope of his blog.
Given my writing expertise (ha!) and willingness to commit to the project, I volunteered to see the project through. It took me and a small team four months to comb through over 250,000 words. I prayerfully read through every single blog post he wrote during his battle with cancer, hand selecting the posts that told the story he wanted to tell. Ben’s wife Lisa and I exchanged countless emails to make sure we got this thing right.
He passed away in May of this year, months before the project was even close to being done. I really felt like I failed him. I know there was no human way I could have finished the project before his passing, but I really wanted him to be able to hold the book in his hands. To rest assured that it was done, delivered into the world and the hands and minds of the people who needed it.
It’s done now, though. This project dominated my mind and work for five months, but now it’s done and it’s BEAUTIFUL. This book changed my life. It changed my faith. It’ll keep reverberating echoes throughout my soul until it’s my turn to peek behind the curtain of this life. I can’t wait to tell Ben how proud I am of him.
If you’re looking for a book that will challenge your notion of what it is to believe in God when you’re suffering, you need to read this book. If you, or someone you know, is having a rough time and needs hope that threatens to set your heart on fire, you need to read this book. If you, or someone you know, is battling cancer, you need to read this book.
It was a pleasure working on this project, I feel blessed to have been able to bring it into the world. I can’t wait to see how it changes lives.