Friday, September 1, 2017

The End of the Tour

Not gonna lie, y'all. Lately it feels like we're living under a darkening sky - so many people in such dire straits - and even the best acts of solidarity seem microscopic compared to the enormity of the need. I've really enjoyed my little tornado alley tour, but it's hard not to feel like the whole exercise is a bit privileged and frivolous. Who can get worked up over the finer nuances of playing with story-barbies when the whole world is underwater, on fire, or both?

But I just got this beautiful message from a beautiful person whom I met on the tour, and she said it would be all right if I shared a part of it here.

"I don't think you realize what a difference you actually made for me on Sunday. Frankly, I attended your presentation not expecting much. I don't know you. I haven't read your writing; although, I certainly intend to. I went simply to get my mind off of my son. He recently found out he has testicular cancer. The prognosis is good, but I must tell you I've been terrified, and I thought by attending your presentation I would be able to think about something other than cancer for a few hours. You provided that for me, and your enthusiasm and funny disposition actually made me smile which is something I haven't done a lot lately."

It's a hell of a thing, isn't it? And even though it showed up in my inbox, I'm thinking maybe it was meant for you too. It is so unfortunately unacceptable to be anything but "fine" in front of other people, even when we're really, really not - so you just can't know when that one little thing you did or said made all the difference for a person that you weren't even thinking twice about.

It's so good to see so many people putting themselves front and center to help with the fallout from the hurricane - but I hope you are also giving yourself credit (and doing things that let you give yourself credit) for helping the people right there in front of you, whether you knew they needed it or not. Those needs don't tend to show up on the 6 o'clock news, and if you don't catch them, it's likely nobody will.
Also: I know gas and time are in short supply here in DFW, but if you would likewise enjoy a couple hours of "and now for something completely different", the last stop on the tour is tomorrow at 10AM - The Plate Tectonics Theory of Dialogue at the Roanoke Public Library - and I would be heartily glad to see you.

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