When Money, Fame, and Admiration Aren’t Enough

A normal night in the Smucker household. Catch all our normal moments at my Instagram account: @shawnsmucker
A normal night in the Smucker household. Can you find Poppy? Catch all our normal moments at my Instagram account: @shawnsmucker

This post comes to you from the carpeted floor in the bedroom shared by Sam and Leo on the second floor of our row home in Lancaster, PA. The fan is going, because what kind of alien sleeps without the soothing lullaby-hum of a fan? Even though it’s almost 8:30pm, pale sunlight still glows in eerie lines through the blinds. Sam is fast asleep on the floor beside me – he always wants to sleep on the floor. Leo, on the other hand, is turning in his bed, making counter-clockwise journeys so that his head is periodically on his pillow, then the bedside, then at the foot of his bed. And so on. And so forth.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this little book I have coming out on September 5th, nearly three months from now. If you hang out with me on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, you’ve probably heard me talk about it, and I’m sorry if it’s getting repetitive, but it means so much to me, this little book, so I hope you’ll hang in there with me for just a little while longer. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to release a book into the world; actually, I’ve been thinking about what it means to do anything that feels meaningful, whether it’s releasing a book or starting a business or growing a church or raising children.

Mostly I’ve been asking myself, What do I hope to gain from sending this book into the world? I’m not always thrilled with the answers I give myself. Such as, “A bestseller that will make us filthy rich.” Such as, “Fame beyond my wildest dreams.” Such as, “Confirmation that I’m a wonderful writer and everyone in the world secretly admires me.”

I’m afraid there are many of us out there doing things in the hope that this one meaningful thing we do will somehow drastically change our station in life, that it will swoop down and rescue us from our loneliness or our indebtedness or our failures. I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I’ve been thinking that money and fame and admiration must not be that great because you don’t see all movie stars walking around on cloud nine living wonderfully happy lives. Most wealthy people I personally know have all the same problems I do. Well, different in the leaves, but same in the root.

So, it would seem there is something deeper, some kind of bone-marrow-depth joy that money and fame and admiration only encase. Something that must be cracked into, split open. Something that must be sought.

I wonder: What lies on the other side of all those things I think I want?

The flipside of a financial windfall could be, perhaps, something that has no real affect on me financially in the least.

The opposite of fame could be, perhaps, anonymity.

The opposite of affirmation could be, perhaps, indifference.

Could this be the way to real joy? Not financial excess, but simply having enough? The freedom of creating anonymously? Walking through life without being judged as either enough or lacking?

I feel like I’m rambling.

* * * * *

Leo does another slow spinning lap in his bed, and I can hear him sucking on his finger, which means he is nearly asleep. I can see Maile in our neighboring bedroom, lying on her side of the bed, light on, reading. The lines on the blind are nearly invisible as the alley darkens.

These are the regular moments. These are the moments a life is made of.

* * * * *

I have a little book coming out September 5th. Maybe you’ve heard me mention it? I will work hard to promote it. I will try hard to get the word out. I want to sell copies. I want it to do well.

But as the date draws ever closer, I am pressing in close to the hope of new ideals. The blessing of just enough. The freedom of anonymity. The weightlessness of not being judged. With them, I know I can go on creating, go on writing, go on doing what I’ve been made to do. Money, fame, and accolades are moving targets that draw us ever further from who we really are.

I take a deep breath, suddenly realizing I am already where I want to be. Maile turns out her light. Leo is asleep. The night is upon us.

* * * * *

Despite my new ideals, I’d still really love you to read my upcoming novel, The Day the Angels Fell.

Here are the places you can preorder it:

Aaron’s Books in Lititz, PA: 717-627-1990
Barnes and Noble

2 Replies to “When Money, Fame, and Admiration Aren’t Enough”

  1. What I’ve found–for me–is that my book has been both bigger and smaller than I anticipated. Smaller on the large, public scale & bigger on the private, personal scale.

    I wish you all the best!

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