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.

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