Friday, December 09, 2016

Traveling Home To Happiness -- A Reflection.


I spend a great deal of time reading. I enjoy reading deep theological works. My bookshelves feature Bonhoeffer, Barth, Tillich, Moltmann, Elizaabeth Johnson, just to name a few. They all offer profound wisdom, that have influenced my life and worldview.  

Perhaps its just a moment in life when what I need to hear is a word of simple wisdom,  Sometimes we make life more complicated than it needs to be. We lose sight of what's really important in life. We let things that are big and complicated but outside our immediate control to have power over us. We lose sight of those relationships that bring empowerment.

Yesterday I received a Facebook friend request. It was from a childhood friend with whom I've probably not spoken since high school, and believe me that was some time ago. But in many ways it's been longer since we really were connected, What I most remember of Julie comes from elementary school.  Julie lived on the same street. We went to the same school (Theodore Roosevelt Elementary), and we were in the same classes.    I remember her as the cute blonde girl in a girl scout uniform. She remembers me as the freckled faced boy in black frame glasses (with rocket ships at the temples). 

As we reconnected, I discovered that Julie was a writer, something we share in common. I then learned that the words she wished to share emerged out of a deep loss in her life. Two years in the past her beloved husband, whom I've never met, died a plane crash. She entered a time of deep grief, but out of that, she discovered a sense of love and happiness that revealed a new calling -- to share a word of love and truth and happiness. She wrote a little book. It's titled Traveling Home to Happiness.  It's sort of a children's book, but like many children's books it has a message that speaks to the heart of adults. It's a simple message. I don't plan on ditching Barth and Bonhoeffer, but I am thankful for Julie Whitlatch's words of love and truth (she has a website and a YouTube channel as well, where she offers words of wisdom, which might speak to you as well). 

I'm thankful to for what another friend, a more recent friend, has called the "virtual body of Christ." In her book The Virtual Body of Christ in a Suffering World, Deanna Thompson, a writer of profound theology, speaks of the power of virtual connections. Deanna writes out of her experience with metastatic breast cancer. She found strength support in the virtual body of Christ, and shares her wisdom.

My re-connection with Julie is an expression, I think, of what Deanna is speaking about. Out of tragedy, Julie has discovered a way to bring a simple word about the importance of love and truth. These are qualities that seem in short supply right now. But, fortunately we're blessed. I am blessed with friends old and new, like Julie and Deanna, who bring words of hope to our world.  

3 comments:

Deanna Thompson said...

Really lovely, Bob. This is just the kind of meaningful connections that occur virtually that too often get lost in our expressions of worry over some of the downsides to our digital lives. Honored to be counted among your friends, and appreciate our continued connection, virtually and actually. Blessed Advent to you--

juliewhitlatch.com said...

Oh my goodness Bob, I'll be moping up happy tears for days to come. Thank you dear one for your kindness and generosity. Because I self published, this book was not only an investment of heart, but finances too. If not for the later I would give it away to ever man, woman and child, it's intended readership of "brilliant beings from 2 to 102."

Thank you for sharing my journey "Traveling Home to Happiness" and I wish you and yours a Merry Miraculous Christmas... since it is.

Love and good thoughts,
Julie

Robert Cornwall said...

Thank you both -- Deanna and Julie -- for your words and your friendship, even if they might take place more in the virtual than the physical realm. God has blessed me!