My Column for the Antelope County News 10.14.2020
While I was on vacation for two weeks, I sat with a black minister as he preached a gut-wrenching sermon to white America. I traveled on a transport ship with a poor young woman from England as she was sent away to imprisonment in Australia for a crime she didn’t commit. I wandered rural Sweden with two men whose lives diverged and converged again in heartbreak and happiness. I stretched and dreamed and danced along with a middle-aged reporter who convinced a professional ballet company to let her perform in their production of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker.
While on vacation I saw the ghost of Emmet Till and ghosts of myriad other young, murdered, black children standing witness and inspiring courage to end their slaughter. And, on the same vacation, in Shaker Heights, Ohio, I watched as two family’s lives entwined for better and for worse. In the evenings Billy Crystal regaled me and Mike with his too true, righteously funny tales of aging. In the mornings I sat with an ancient song-writer singing of God’s faithfulness.
All these experiences took place from the comfort of the guest house where we stayed in the Black Hills of South Dakota. With a book on my lap and a mug of tea at hand, I traveled the world, thinking deeply, laughing, crying, empathizing, learning.
Books open us to the whole world of ideas and experiences. Books allow us to travel places we will never get to go and to visit times we have never lived. Books help us to walk in the steps of, and live in the hearts and minds of people we otherwise might never understand. Books help us be more humane, as through them, we open ourselves to new ways of understanding our neighbors.
For the Good Book, and for all sorts of good books please join me in giving thanks.