Recently, I read on Facebook that she and her husband had purchased a beautiful property in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney be used for holidays and retreats and had named it ‘Dadirri’. From the photos, I could see it was a large, tastefully furnished house, surrounded by trees and close to excellent bushwalks. Then just yesterday, Jo messaged me to tell me the story of how this beautiful home had become theirs and why they had chosen the name ‘Dadirri’.
It turned out that she and her husband had long wanted to buy such a property and make it available for retreats for those seeking to be quiet and be refreshed by God. Then one day last year, after stumbling across this house and noting it was for sale, Jo sat down to continue reading the book Lost in Wonder by Esther de Waal—one of those I had quoted in my own book Soul Friend. There she discovered the word ‘dadirri’, an Australian Aboriginal word for deep silence or ‘the open-eyedness of someone who explores where he or she has always belonged’ (p 43) and read how the Christian aboriginal artist, Miriam-Rose Ungummer, describes it ‘tapping into a deep spring that is within us all’. This confirmed to Jo and her husband that God intended them to have that particular property and that its name was to be ‘Dadirri’.
They immediately made an offer and the owners asked to meet them. Jo and her husband discovered this elderly couple were Christians and were having a hard time letting their beautiful property go. But on hearing that Jo and her husband were also Christians, the owners were overjoyed and the deal was soon done.
Jo purposely shared this story with me to show me how my little book had played such a vital part in her family’s dream of seeing a retreat house become reality. Through Soul Friend, she discovered Lost in Wonder. And from that book came the wonderful, meaningful name they chose—‘Dadirri’. A further lovely aside to this story is that my own dear ‘soul friend’ Joy, who inspired my book, lives in the Blue Mountains herself, not far from where ‘Dadirri’ is located!
May this story encourage and inspire you all, as you begin another writing year. When we commit our books to the Lord, be they fiction or non-fiction, God can certainly use them in wonderful and unique ways we could never ever have dreamt up in any plot!Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through both the written and spoken word. She is the author of six published novels and one non-fiction work, Soul Friend: the story of a shared spiritual journey. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and three grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.jo-anneberthelsen.com or www.soulfriend.com.au.