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Intersection Column | Lifting the Veil

by Cindy Morgan

They say the first rule of writing is to write what you know. Though fiction is a creation of untrue events, I believe that most fiction writers set out to use untrue events (or mostly untrue events) to uncover a deeper truth that couldn’t be revealed any other way.

The story within my story begins in 1971 on Halloween. My father lifted me and my brother Samuel’s pet rooster, Rojo, onto his shoulders so that Samuel could see us both through the window of his hospital room. He was a few days shy of turning five years old. I was three and a half. A faint memory lingers of the funeral that followed only a few days later. There is a guest book in my attic that holds the names of those present at this tragic family moment.

It was as though sadness had awakened my consciousness of the world and assured me that suffering was as much a part of living as green grass in the spring. The fallout of such a loss sent my family spiraling in different directions. My mother invited faith healers into Samuel’s hospital room and they promised her if she had enough faith, Samuel would live. She consumed this message into her DNA and committed her life to a constant deep and spiritual journey. I believe she carried guilt over her lack of faith for years afterward.

My father, a VW mechanic, held us close, swallowed his sorrow, and worked seven days a week to pay off a mound of hospital bills left behind in the wake of Samuel’s death. My sister Sam spent a lot of time escaping home and hanging out with friends, while my brother joined the Army. And I, as the youngest, watched and listened like the wallflower that I am at my core.

The unraveling of our family in this tragic memory is the true-life event that inspired The Year of Jubilee.

And though much of the world of the Mockingbird family is fiction, there is certainly truth laced all the way through. Wandering to the edges of the loss—and the shivering faith that survived—taught my family more about God than any blissful childhood could have.

We experienced that even in the greatest times of sorrow, God is present. He does not leave us or forsake us. And it is in those painful moments that we feel Him within our grasp, where the veil between life and the hereafter is lifted.


About the Author

Singer-songwriter Cindy Morgan is a two-time Grammy nominee, a thirteen-time Dove winner, and a recipient of the prestigious Songwriter of the Year trophy. An East Tennessee native, her evocative melodies and lyrics have mined the depths of life and love both in her own recording and through songwriting for noteworthy artists around the globe, including Vince Gill, India.Arie, Rascal Flatts, Amy Grant, Sandra McCracken, and Glen Campbell. Cindy is the author of two works of adult nonfiction—the memoir How Could I Ask for More: Stories of Blessings, Battles, and Beauty (Worthy Inspire, 2015) and Barefoot on Barbed Wire: A Journey Out of Fear into Freedom (Harvest House Publishers, 2001)—and of the children's picture book Dance Me, Daddy (ZonderKidz, 2009). The Year of Jubilee is her debut novel. Cindy is a cocreator of the charitable Hymns for Hunger Tour, which has raised awareness and resources for hunger relief organizations across the globe. Cindy has two daughters and splits her time between a small town near Nashville and Holly Springs, North Carolina, with her husband Jonathan. For more information, visit cindymorganmusic.


About the Book

The Mockingbird family has always lived peacefully in Jubilee, Kentucky, despite the divisions that mark their small town. Until the tense summer of 1963, when their youngest child, Isaac, falls gravely ill. Middle sister Grace, nearly fourteen, is determined to do whatever it takes to save her little brother. With her father and mother away at the hospital, Grace is left under the loving but inexperienced eye of her aunt June, with little to do but wait and worry. Inspired by a young teacher’s mission for change, she begins to flirt with danger—and with a gifted boy named Golden, who just might be the key to saving Isaac’s life. Then the unthinkable happens, and the world as she knows it shifts in ways she never could have imagined. Grace must decide what she believes amid the swirling, conflicting voices even of those she loves the most. The Year of Jubilee is a lyrical coming-of-age novel set against the backdrop of the turbulent South in the early 1960s.


Did You Know?

Matrimonial bureaus and dating agencies have been around for almost 400 years.

  • The first known dating agency was established in 1650, although they probably existed for years before under similar guidelines.

  • Matrimonial bureaus often gathered information on existing relationships, young men and women coming of age, deaths and new folks in the area.

  • Matrimonial bureau matches were often called mail-order brides or mail-order husbands. The proliferous use of catalogues to order goods easily translated in the general public’s mind to ordering up a spouse.

With economic prosperity and folks looking for new kinds of leisure and amusements following World War II, dating clubs were set up where folks attended events and dances promoting the pairing off of individuals with similar interests.

-Donna Schlachter, Kaihtlyn’s Choice


Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore

“Book heaven is what I call my local bookstore. I find lovely music, gifts and books that draw me in. They add joy to my day!”

-Janet Perez Eckles, Now I See


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