the mess:

i am almost done

going through mountains of books and paper and notebooks — not that I have them under control, but at least separated into meaningful piles. And I have found so much! Like: travel journals, old, old when-I-was-a-teenager notebooks, scribbles, and notebooks where I journaled the books I read — when I read them, where, my opinions, sometimes excerpts. This last I began in 1999.

I do not read as much as I used to. Holy cow, did I read a lot! While clearing and organizing, I put the unread and unfinished books on one stand of five shelves!!!! Yes, that’s how many unread books I own. I have kept myself from buying more because now I know how many are a-wait-ing.

the memory of

reading a verse from Psalms also awoke in me this week — must be the sudden flurry of pages and words from the past in my space — and I recall it vividly.

summer 1996

I arrived from a long car trip and had to change right away to head out to a swim meet at the Olympics in Atlanta. With a handful of clothes and toiletries, I went into our guest’s bedroom. There were written index cards on a small desk, and I leaned over to read one.

May the words of my mouth

and the meditation of my heart

be pleasing in your sight


It stung and made me think. Created a turning in me. Are all my thoughts and words pleasing? Woof, right? I noted the Psalm. Looking at the year today, I see that’s when I started the whirlwind of traveling for work, which is when I began to read the Bible. Now I know.

The events of September 11 also created a shift. Like most of us, I presume, I know exactly where I was when they happened. As I drove back from the canceled seminar, I asked myself: am I ready to die? Like what will happen when I do; if I die today on the highway? The sudden realization hit me, and although it took me a long time — too long — to get myself “ready,” it made me ponder. What does that even mean, you say, to be ready? You will know when it happens.

There’s a third pivoting event in my life. Maybe there are more, but to me, just one more — too private to post in detail, but in a nutshell: to depend on someone else for our happiness is futility. And it occurred because of an aside comment someone made about strangers whom I did not know. It was the most astounding thing I had ever considered. And it changed my life forever.

i have so digressed that my original purpose for writing went out the window!

Yes, it was about the reconciliation of mounds of papers and writings, but the kernel, the essence of why I took to the keyboard, is gone. Good grief, these tangents and circles will be the end of me. Hope what I’ve written instead is good.