I’m intrigued with the late night talk show changes and last week I blogged about what I’m learning from Jimmy Fallon. Over the weekend my husband and I took advantage of our Amazon Prime membership and watched a documentary on Johnny Carson.
I’d read about his life and knew quite a bit, but there was something in the show that was news to me.
Johnny’s mom wasn’t even close to being encouraging. In fact, she was so harsh that when he won a prestigious governor’s award and he called her to tell her, her response was, “Well, I guess they know what they are doing.”
His need for her praise was so driven that as the show went on, the writers connected the dots that perhaps his failed marriages, isolation, drinking, and fidelity issues could be traced back to the encouragement he sorely needed from his mom, and never received.
Most artists/entertainers admit the foundation of their comedy or gift came from adversity. Laughter hid their pain and gave them attention. Even if they got in trouble at school, they confessed it was okay. Because at least someone was recognizing them.
I learned a few years ago that if I depend on the praise of man to dictate my joy I’m going to be disappointed. A lot. As a writer seeking publication, that’s an essential truth to embrace. There are going to be rejections. Negative reviews. People who don’t understand the sacrifices of the craft. Loved ones who hear of an accolade and aren’t impressed.
When I finally surrendered my fear of rejection and promised God I’d write for Him, a mentor took me aside and shared what her pastor had taught her.
“Have the heart of a dove, and the skin of a rhino.”
I’ve tried to keep that in mind as my writing life progresses. Watching that documentary and hearing his dear friends admit that as talented as Johnny was, happiness eluded him.
We can’t wait for circumstances for joy, and I turned the TV off feeling sad that a man lived a rich life by the world’s standards to die in what felt sad to me. Isolated. Disappointed. There wasn’t mention of a personal faith. And as wealthy as he was and as generous loved ones found him to be, he couldn’t buy joy.
Whether my writing life reaches platinum levels or stays right where I am, I know this: joy comes from the Lord. He is enough, and He is absolutely enthralled by you. If no one on earth encourages you, let His love comfort you.
You have given me greater joy
than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. Psalm 4:7, NLT