Letters to Tom/ Part 8

Dear Tom,


I was reminded recently that in times of tragedy and loss nothing is an important as the presence of a friend. Just being there promises that we do endure, and out of the fires of hell the person is going through, something wonderful will rise like the Phoenix. In the chill of loss nothing warms us like the touch of the hand of a friend. Words are always inadequate, but a hug, embrace, or an old craggy hand like mine protects the recipient from being blown away by events.


When we search for meaning we need look no further than the touch of a loved one. My Aunt Dot once said our family had to be evolved from the monkeys because we were always touching, rubbing, and hugging each other. It’s in those touches of love we get an idea of what it is like to touch God, what the people Jesus healed must have felt.


Your friend, Webb

Letters to Tom/ Part 7


Dear Tom,


For a day I will be back in Charlotte, sitting in a comfortable chair working on my laptop. Nellie, the cat, is in the window sill watching me catch up on emails and hopefully getting a few words written on the next book. They say, daily rituals or routines can be the knots we hold on to when we’ve run out of rope. And although I am feeling good about my life, it still feels good to rest in a regular routine at least until the next book tour trip starts, which for me starts tomorrow.


But comfort and my self-imposed isolation are not where the surprises are. They are not where hope resides. Hope shows up among the chaos and when new and different things are happening. My little Rebecca, age 3, wears a pink tutu over her pajamas and sleeps in a plastic tiara. Most people would say they don’t match and she can’t fall to sleep among the chaos they all create but she does. Similarly, we are at our best when we are exploring, dealing with chaos, and not bogged down in a routine. Aren’t we all a little jealous of the grasshopper in the story of the ant and the grasshopper? Aren’t we a little bit jealous of the joy Rebecca’s tutu brings her even if it doesn’t match her green pajamas?


So I need to celebrate the spontaneity and adventure leaving my cocoon offers. Emerson said, “people who wish to be settled: only as far as they are unsettled is there hope for them.” But sleeping in my own bed does have a few advantages.


My best, dear friend. Webb

Letters to Tom/ Part 6

Dear Tom,


First forgive me for the delay in writing. I am actually in a place with limited wifi, the Carolina Mountains with Suzy and friends from DC. I know, “no crying for me Argentina,” first Santa Barbara and now the Carolina Mountains. First, the west coast ocean views and desert canyons, and now mile after mile of tree covered mountains and misty smoke in cool mornings. It’s been quite a ride. Next I head to the home of the Razorbacks, NW Arkansas. I’ll come down to earth soon.


I can’t help but be awed, amazed, and admire God’s creation everywhere I’ve been lately. It is so diverse yet each part beautiful in its own right. The people who had the visions to preserve our scenery beginning over a hundred years ago need our thankful praise, and remind me of our stewardship obligations to God’s creation for the next generation. How can we justify our short term wants (not needs) destroying the invaluable legacy left us by the visionaries in our past? But I am on a soap box not meditating.


I think God would say sometime it is enough to clear one’s mind, sit on a mountain top, in a grassy field, or on an ocean view porch and simply enjoy his work. Nothing needs to be said or done, just let God speak to us through our senses. The feel of a mountain breeze on our skin or sand beneath our toes, the smell of fresh wildflowers or purified air cleaned and scrubbed by a forest, the sounds of the ocean pounding against the shore or a wild bird calling in flight. Prayer takes many forms. but I believe one of the best ways to pray is to surround oneself with the wonders of his work and let God speak to you through his wonders.


Best my friend. Webb



Letters To Tom/ Part 5


Dear Tom,


I’ve been fortunate to have and had many friends in my life like yourself. Some were gentle, some loyal to the core, and some who were just plain fun to be around.  In my case many were all three. And in our search for meaning friendships are at its core, especially true friends who help you see yourself as you really are. That picture they force you to see is not necessarily the best version of yourself or one that has been photo shopped, but those true friends still love you and they keep you company because of your faults not in spite of them.


I admit having a few friends who were “rogues” for the lack of a better term. I knew they were likely to push the envelope, undependable, and at times use me as an alibi or “beard” in one of their shenanigans. Even yet, I loved them even though I knew if a hand grenade was thrown in our foxhole my rogue friend would throw me on top of it to protect himself.


Each of us are exposed to friends who are flawed, as we are flawed as well. The world as a whole is flawed, but it is in the understanding of the flawed that we develop character and empathy.