Posts Tagged ‘connections’

Why Write At All?

November 17, 2013

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.

 

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Connectivity and Fractalization in Our Society

August 29, 2012

It seems to me that perhaps the greatest longing of our current culture is connectedness and connectivity. When I first thought of this, I wasn’t sure why two words, but as I tried to parse them out, I found that for me, connectedness would mean the feeling of being connected or the hope that becoming connected is possible, whereas connectivity would mean the ability to become connected. It might be that having the hope of connecting does not automatically ensure the possibility of making connections—communication requires more than simply transmitting; there must be reception, decoding, and return transmission for true communication to take place. Similarly, there must be those with who desire the kind of communication we are broadcasting and who would (and do) find such communication mutually rewarding.

Our society has become so fragmented and fractured that we are truly a broken people. We are broken (in more ways than one, including being broke and sometimes bankrupt in multiple ways beyond simply financial), and by and large, we don’t know how we’re broken or how to “fix” it. It may even be that our society is fractalized, that there are patterns emerging within or from our brokenness, but we are unable to see the patterns, to believe in them, or to utilize them.

And to be honest, I don’t have answers to these musings—just more questions arising in my mind. But I have to be careful how I phrase the questions, because our perception of what is or of what is possible (the old “half-full or half-empty” question) affects how we process, and ultimately, how we live: If we see something as futile, we despair, while if we see possibilities, we hope; we become cynical, or we begin to build; we curse, or we bless. And in this respect, if in no other, we place ourselves in control of our destinies, and are judged (even if only by the outcomes) for our actions.

For me personally, the negative course is a losing proposition, and my belief is that it is so for others also. I turn 60 in a week (it’s almost September 2012), and for decades I yearned for connection, and found it in some limited relationships (but then, all relationships by definition are limited, aren’t they?). It seems in the past 5 years, I have come further in far more satisfying ways than I ever imagined. I am arriving at a peace with myself, within my relationships with family, friends, and my God (in three different multi-faceted relationships: God as Creator/Father, as Jesus [Son/elder brother/groom/etc.], and as Holy Spirit [friend/counselor/advocate/etc.]), a greater peace than I have never known. And I find joy coming alongside, sneaking up on me, even in hard times as I learn that relationship is more important than problem-solving. All of this is refreshing, and I find I want more. I become enthusiastic, or to use the term one friend loves, exuberant. In the process, it creates within me a thankfulness, and a desire to share the joy and the insights. And so, I write, and blog, and share.