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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Not Just a Salesman – Not Just a Writer

My Dad in his shoe store

By Marcia Lee Laycock

My dad was in the shoe business. He started young, working in a shoe factory while still in grade school. He was taught how shoes were made from the sole up. The smell of leather must have gotten to him because when he finished high school he went to work in a shoe store and when he came home after WW2, chose that as his trade. By the time I was born he owned his own store and within a few years had opened a second one.

My dad knew shoes. He knew them so well that when he noticed a customer wasn’t walking properly, he advised them on what needed to be done to their shoes to make things easier. Word got around and soon orthopedic doctors were sending their patients to him to have shoes specially made. When he finally retired, those same doctors begged him to keep working, at least part-time. They said he wasn't just a salesman, he was a craftsman and there were few people of his skill around anymore.

I think of my father from time to time, the years he spent in apprenticeship, the obstacles he had to overcome to set up his own business, the satisfaction he had in later years, knowing his attention to detail made a difference in people’s lives.

I think of my father when I’m frustrated with my writing career. When I wonder what difference I am making in the world, I think of the man with a crooked leg who was able to walk without pain because of the shoes my dad made for him. I remember the three-year-old who skipped into my dad’s store one day, his mother beaming from the doorway. That child had been unable to walk barely a year before.

I remember the look on my father’s face that day, and I keep writing because this is the work I have been given to do. There have been frustrations and obstacles but there have also been those moments – times when I’ve received an email or a letter or a phone call from someone telling me how my writing has made a difference.

We are in the word business. Some of us started young, scribbling poems and stories in school. We learned our grammar and spelling and all the rules of writing. We've done our apprenticeship and have become skilled craftsmen. There may be times when we want to quit, when the obstacles seem too high and the frustrations too much to handle.

But we must hang onto those times when we know that what God has directed us to do has made a difference. This is the work we have been given to do. So, like my dad, we must keep on, until Jesus calls us home.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short listed in The Word Awards. Marcia also has four devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.

Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded on Smashwords or on Amazon. It is also now available in Journal format on Amazon. 

Her most recent release is A Traveler's Advisory, stories of God's Grace Along the Way, available from Amazon in paperback and as an ebook.

Sign up to receive her devotional column, The Spur


  1. A very good article, Marcia. I can totally relate on both levels. As a Baby boomer I remember when...when craftsmanship was valued. I have fond memories of our neighborhood shoe repair shop. He sold, fixed, and modified our shoes for many years. He was a craftsman and he lived in the house behind his shop.I remember going to the SHOE STORE to buy shoes and not the department store or impersonal corporate shoe dealer like DSW, Payless, or Shoe Carnival. We sat down and our feet were measured and we knew the man waiting on us by name. He gave us lollipops when we were little kids and always a shoe horn with every new purchase. I guess I'm tripping down memory lane a bit.

    But what you wrote about being a frustrated or disappointed writer, wondering what difference you're making rang so true with me at times. Then I get one of those emails that say what I wrote helped someone or a review by some unknown reader who adores one of my novels and it reminds me why I write. God designed me to write. I can't not write at this point but the business and other things about the professional side can overshadow the main event, which is: we are storytellers and wordsmiths for The Most High God's Kingdom. It is an honor and pleasure to serve Hum this way. So I say thank You, Christ Jesus and keep writing.

  2. Marcia, this post is wonderful. I loved the story about your father and how you tie it together with your writing. Beautiful. Someday I may receive an email that my writing helped, but for now, I'm just grateful for the friendships I have gathered on this writing journey. Each one has encouraged, supported, and best of all, taught me something.

  3. What a wonderful story about your father. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks for your comments, Debbie, Diane and Marlene. So glad you would relate. :)M


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