Those Who Sow in Tears…
The fellow tried 23 times…
(though some biographers say it was as many as 40).
It was at least 23 rejections for his innovative writing.
Trouble was that it was so completely outside the box of ordinary writing that no one thought that this would get him anywhere. He wasn’t taken seriously. You see, he had devised a different way of teaching children how to read, write, spell and develop public reading and speaking skills.
He found “See Spot Run! Run Spot, run,” quite boring. So, he put his innovative writing into a manuscript and offered the completed work to a large publishing house.
That company said “no.”
They thought “See Spot Run” was more than adequate!
Undaunted, and quite convinced of the value of what he was doing, the fellow tried again.
The second company said “no” as decisively as the first.
So did the third… And the fourth… And the fifth…
Put two weeks to two months between each refusal, and you know that this was one long, long season without any affirmation at all…
Some of those rejections included this fledgling author traveling to the city in which the headquarters for the publishing house was located, so that he could present his ideas in person. Let’s pause to consider what that cost him:
The writer of Proverbs said it well:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” Proverbs 13:12a NASB
Press repeat—until you get to years of time invested with no return. It was at least rejection number 23 (maybe as many as 40)…
The man was walking out of the office of a publishing house, jaded, depressed and now quite determined to just stop trying. He gave up. He decided that he would never present the manuscript to any other publishing house. In fact, the fellow himself, on later reflection, admitted that he was on his way home to burn the manuscript.
As he was walking out of the building with the purchase of matches on his mind, he met an old college friend who was an editor of children’s books. The manuscript was in his hands, and the fellow asked to see the material.
His Dartmouth College colleague reviewed the writing on the spot, and was amazed by it. Within minutes that book was accepted and then published by Vanguard Press.
So began the launch of the children’s book writing career of a fellow named Theodore Geisel.
The second half of that proverb fits the bill as well:
“Desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12b NASB
“See Spot Run” has been replaced by his many titles.
You likely know him by the name, “Dr. Seuss” (his mother’s maiden name—bestowed on him as a middle name). He has sold more than 600 million copies of such books as “Horton Hears A Who,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,” and many others.
Another Scripture comes to mind:
Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bring his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:5-6 NASB
That Psalm comes from the day when farmers in a “survival culture” with almost nothing except a portion of last year’s grain, had to choose between eating the seed or sowing some into the ground, so that they could eat at all. Crop failure was ordinary—and sometimes they would weep while sowing because they didn’t know if the crop that they were sowing was much needed food thrown away, or a hope for the future.
Yet this text tells us to have confidence in the God who oversees our labor, who knows our disappointments and orchestrates for us to meet those who would help us succeed.
Don’t give up.
Keep sowing that seed…
© David Chotka 2020