Over the weekend, I was at a little fair called Appleumpkin in a smaller town called Wyoming NY. The previous two weeks I talked about changing culture both a general overview since it is not only the artists who change culture, and also how we change culture from within. One of the side affects of changing culture, or at least attempting to change culture, is disappointment.

Throwing yourself out into the public realm is setting out a welcome mat for friends, or a bulls-eye for enemies. Not all disappointments come from what people say or don't say; sometimes, and I would argue most often, comes from the breaking of expectations. At the end of the day, you feel like your dreams, expectations and hopes are nothing more than rubble like the photograph above. Tears from sorrow and from anger are shed, but the important thing is to take another step, whatever that step might be.

Currently, I'm in that spot: tears are shed, and I seek the next step to take. Is it to entirely throw in the towel? No, not really, but I realize that I have to look at what I do in a different light. It's something amazing to be a published author at the age of thirty, and I realize that is an accomplishment that few ever achieve. The same is true for business, though I am by no means successful in the business end, it is progressing. Yet, not having a large return for the time and energy put into the business and books can bring on severe disappointments.

Yesterday, I received my very first check ever from any of my books. Now, I've been selling copies that I have to friends, family and at fairs, but the check I received yesterday came from the publisher. I expected both the check and the sales from Appleumpkin to cover expenses for the remainder of the year.

They didn't. Not even the basic expenses.

Dark times come to each of us; for some people the lack of sales of a book or at a fair might be a little thing, a sign that this isn't the path to take. For others it is a severe blow, a time of questioning the choices. For still others, it is a blow, but one that makes them more determined to proceed. For all artists, the question becomes: which path do we take? The answer requires reflection, and time spent contemplating and assessing skills and talents. It requires prayer, and seeking the Lord's will.

People might say that if there is darkness in your life then you have sin. It isn't true. Darkness is natural: a time of rest, and a time to draw close to what we know is certain. It is a time for us to slow down since we cannot see all that is around us, but it is not a time to fear. Darkness is a time of forced reflection and added focus.

Have you faced disappointments this week that cause you to contemplate your path? Don't deny that the disappointment has come, but use it as a moment to consider what you do. If it is what you are meant to do then proceed; if not, decide what it is that you are to do. Either way, use the disappointment that comes along your path as a stepping stone not a stumbling block.


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