Every day in Advent 2016 we will be sharing short reflections from authors, Christian charities and Eden team members.
The autumn when we moved to England was far from an easy or pleasant time. We had left our ‘day jobs’ earlier than intended, because my wife had been offered the chance to pursue a doctorate at Oxford. Entering into full-time academics had been her dream since childhood. Isabella had done so much to make my own lifetime dream of becoming a writer reality that I knew with absolute certainty this was something we simply had to do.
But as I said, the timing was not good. Writing is an odd sort of profession for many reasons. Money is certainly one of them. I had three novels published at that point, and only one of them had been a hit with the public. Moving into this full time was in many respects an act bordering on insanity.
We needed space for two offices, and settled upon an island cottage in the middle of the River Thames, accessible only by boat. The cottage was built on stumpy stilts, which kept it from flooding but had very little under-floor insulation. This meant that once the temperatures began dropping we had to wear shoes in the house. It was idyllic, the views were splendid, and another huge impracticality was added to our lives.
Then my wife’s mother became ill, and in the space of several months we found ourselves juggling yet another extremely difficult situation. All this, added to writing deadlines and money pressure and the extremely intense work my wife had entered into this, made it seem at times that we might not be able to make it work.
And then the week of Advent arrived.
What we did not know, what we could not have imagined, was that every first-term student (undergraduate and graduate alike) finds themselves utterly overwhelmed by the intensity of university life. When we finally got up the nerve to confess our multiple dilemmas, we were welcomed with the sort of genteel yet compassionate warmth that can only be found within the British community of faith. It was here, in our lowest moment, that we discovered the true significance of faith in Britain.
As we were discreetly enveloped in the caring warmth of people who simply wanted to help us heal and adjust and move on, news arrived that the Church of England had selected my new novel, entitled The Quilt, as the book for Lent. It was the first time in recent history that a novel had been chosen, and the result was a sense of doors opening everywhere.
That same night, we travelled into college for the Advent carol service. There in the candlelit company of people who had become true friends, we found ourselves surrounded by a word that had been lost from our vocabularies and hearts: Hope.
Internationally bestselling author Davis Bunn has written several hugely popular novels, inlcuding The Fragment, The Domino Effect, and Prayers of a Stranger. He was mentored by Arthur C. Clarke, and his latest novel The Pilgrim was released in November 2016.
December 7th, 2016 - Posted & Written by The Editor