Letters To Tom/ Part 4

Dear Tom,

 

I received an email from a mutual dear friend wondering if I was okay. Apparently my letters seemed way to depressing. I told her I was in Santa Barbara where nothing is depressing, and she was relieved. Actually the homeless situation here is depressing, but that’s another story. I hope other readers don’t find our discussion a downer. I’ll try to be more upbeat.

 

As we have discussed, my writing novels has made me so happy, but it has taken me off the American Merry Go Round of always seeking more and needing more, worried that I am always one step away from falling off a cliff. This way of life turns out not to be helpful in the search for our true place on earth. Interestingly, falling, failing, and crashing and burning often help a lot. I never recommend that someone fail in business, marriage, or obeying the law, but there a lot of examples of people who needed that kind of shove to discover what they were born to be.

 

It is with that observation I have come to believe that just about every one worth their salt at one time or the other has been exposed to the world as being flawed. We need to look at those who are spending time in the wilderness as a great opportunity for character development, empathy for others, and growth in spirit. Anne Lamott says periods in the wilderness are not lost time, but time to find life, wildflowers, fossils, and sources of life giving water.

 

Till next time friend, Webb

 

 

Letters To Tom/ Part 3

Dear Tom,

 

Augustine hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “To search for God, is to have found God.” I think a good companion to that thought is when we search for light we catch a glimpse of God within us. Astronomers when asked why they explore outer space say “it opens up the world I live in.” We do self-examination not just to improve ourselves, but it enables us to better understand the community around. Exploration not only discovers the new, it helps us better understand the old.

 

We search and wait patiently for the light, especially the light that emanates from something we love. Anne Lamott explains that “ when we love something like reading, or drawing, or music, or nature, it surrounds you with a connection to something great….. The feeling is like pulling into our own train station (or driveway) after a long trip…. You feel joy, relief, and a pleasant exhaustion.”

 

So Tom we search for meaning, light, or whatever you want to call it in many different ways. If we look outside of ourselves, we learn more about the within. If we search within, we better understand the world around us. If we search the beautiful outside, we find beauty at home. Sounds like dear friend as Augustine began, the importance is the search. To search is always to find, just maybe not what we are looking for. Webb

Hopes Brings the Light

Dear Tom,

 

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. For our readers I have posted it on the website www.thehubbellpew.com.

 

I am convinced that when we come across darkness in our lives or in tragedy, we find God and meaning in the light that always comes immediately afterwards. During my sabbatical there was a period of time where I lived all day and all night in a locked closet, and when it was time for “lights out” there was complete darkness in my small confined space. They were not easy nights, but I knew that at some point, morning would come and light would return so I learned to wait for the light.

 

Difficult times test our hearts and souls, but if we too learn to look for the light, we will always see God and meaning. Tragedies are not God created, but God is present in the response, so are we. Humanity is at its best in response to the tragic. Our response is always thoughtful, compassionate, sensitive, and caring. We bring hope to any time of darkness and in the words of Emily Dickinson, “Hope inspires the good to reveal itself.”

 

So I suggest my dear friend in times of darkness, be patient and wait for the light. It always comes. Webb

 

Letters to Tom / Part 1

Dear Tom,

 

Please forgive me. I have been busy with getting the book out and traveling on the book tour, but they are not good excuses for not staying in touch. Email is a poor substitute for a beach walk, long hand written letter, or God forbid a telephone conversation. However, I’m taking a few days off this week, and I thought I would try to pose a few questions, throw out a few possible answers, and hopefully stimulate your thoughts and receive some Sufi wisdom from you and our readers.

 

Where to begin? I can only start where I am, and that is asking a lot of questions and having very few answers. So I’ll start with a dandy, where do we find meaning and purpose especially when life goes off track. When evil or a catastrophe throw us for a loop or cause us to question life’s fairness. When time seems to be the enemy tearing past us like a sprinting cheetah, or when every step brings us into another pool of quicksand.

 

When pressed I find a lot of significance when my life goes as expected and my family is all doing well. I enjoy and have close friends who give me a deep sense of intimacy and fun. It doesn’t bother me that people have more. Wisdom and my own experience have taught me that all that “stuff” is temporal and of little value. I think the older I become the less I really need. My sabbatical helped me in that respect. It does bother me that people have so much less, and I think for the most part I try to help where I can. Overall, I try to survive the minor trials and stresses of life, and try hard not to be driven crazy by the noise of people telling me what my life should be or shouldn’t be. I look for solace in my conversations with God, in nature and art, the words of wiser heads, and most of all in the quiet comfort of my home and my life with Suzy.

 

But as I said, meaning and purpose are easy to find in when life unfurls in front of us like a carpet runner. (Anne Lamont ). Where is the meaning in suffering, in tragedy, in the rapid passage of time, and the lightning fast pace in which we live our life? Where is there meaning in tar pits of a daily grind. These are the questions I want to pose to you and our readers over the next days. Perhaps together we can walk each other home? (Ram Dass).