An older and very wise gentleman at a church I go to shared two things with me that changed how I move in and appreciate the world.  Thank you, Carl A.

First, 20 years ago, “These are the golden years, the ones you’ll think about for the rest of your life.”  Carl and his wife stopped to share with my husband and me outside church.  Our young sons were running and screaming through the playground.  Weary years was more like it.  But I could see  in Carl’s eyes, he really wanted us to understand.  “The weight of them on your lap.  The way they look to you.  So much joy, there’s nothing like it.  Pay attention.”

I felt truth’s shivery finger slide up my spine—I knew it.  I’d been keeping journals for my sons and I’d made it a practice to pay attention.  I could see time roaring by.

I’ve always been a noticer, but his words reminded me to be fully present in the glory at hand, this moment, because I was going to be on another side one day, looking back to that day and I better have been there.

I appreciate these days, too, pandemic days with our two grown sons back in our home for awhile—girlfriends, graduated from college, full-time jobs, cars.  Its own glory, laughing around a table with grown men and people they bring along.

A few years ago, Carl gave a personal reflection at church (such a cool tradition of Judson Church!).  Carl shared something his father taught him early: make someone happy today.  And that’s what Carl did.  Isn’t that beautiful?  Wouldn’t the world be different if we all approached a day and each other like that?

I don’t know what Carl’s politics are.  What he thinks about climate change, abortion, guns healthcare ….  I do know he has lived a wise, kind, willing life of great character.  We need more people like him.

Today as I’m doing some revisions on my novel, thinking about love letters and the main character in my book reaching out in the world,  I think I’ll write a love letter to Carl, while we are both still here.

To tell him he was right.  To tell him I listened.  To tell him he made my life grand and I am grateful.