It’s been a full—FULL—5 months since I wrote for my blog. Work, building a business, spending time with my grandson, simply enjoying life as it comes fast and furious—all of these have consumed my time. I had almost forgotten my blog, to be honest.
So why do I even bother to write?
I turned 61 in early September, and one of my goals was to read 60 books. I did it, and started on my next year’s worth. While on vacation in late October that week I read FOREIGN AFFAIRS, a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alison Lurie. Good story about 2 characters who get transformed by interaction with people. Earlier I had read SOUL SURVIVOR: HOW THIRTEEN UNLIKELY MENTORS HELPED MY FAITH SURVIVE THE CHURCH by Philip Yancey. Several of those mentors were Pulitzer Prize winners also, including Robert Coles. I happened across a book of his, titled HANDING ONE ANOTHER ALONG: LITERATURE AND SOCIAL REFLECTION, at a thrift store. It was even signed by him on 10/10/10, addressed to someone in a scrawly writing. It’s a hard book to read because of not having read a lot of the works he mentions, but still meaty and well worth reading. His chapter “The Heart of Healing” particularly touched me, because a black nurse without all his psychiatric training and intense academic background (but with trainloads of wisdom) encourages him to spend a few minutes with his just-deceased mother (rather than simply hurry through the perfunctory necessities of completing government and institutional requirements for moving on). The few minutes he spends sitting beside her corpse turn out to be profound, as he goes back through how much she has impacted his life.
That is why I read, and why I write. To make connections. To get insight. To learn wisdom.
I got it on vacation in a small caplet, as I went to get a haircut in North Myrtle Beach, on Main Street. Usually my wife cuts my hair, but we had been too busy. So I just went and found somewhere. I wanted somewhere homey, not just a Great Clips franchise. I found an old-fashioned barbershop. George, the guy who cut my hair, was 84, and had started cutting hair when he was 13, gotten his license at 16, came home from the Korean War on emergency leave in 1952 (the year I was born) to help his sick father move into his new location, the same location I was getting my haircut in 61 years later! What a story!
His 73-year-old brother was also with him that day. That was on Monday. I went back on Friday to get a picture, but he only works Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Still, the picture is in my mind.
And so I write to honor him, and the writers I read who move me, and the people I meet who change me.
It’s a small thing. But somehow important. Life-giving. Connecting.