Dear Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Club members and readers everywhere,
Life is hard. I woke up this morning thinking about the state of affairs of the world today. Time to get real. Everything that I have learned come from a lifetime of reading books. I was a pretty naive kid, small-town Kansas born and raised. I had no street smarts, shy, introverted, I escaped into books when things got really scary. I am the same way now in many ways. I have just learned to mask my fears by the power of the words that I have read. So I turned this morning to my favorite book, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. You may not have read the Pulitzer Prize-winning book but perhaps have seen the Academy Award-winning film starring Gregory Peck who portrayed the attorney father of Scout and her brother Jem. Atticus Fitch has taken up a stance on the courthouse steps sitting in a chair with his rifle across his lap to protect his client, a black man who has been accused of the rape of a white girl. A mob crowd rolls in in multiple cars to try to get the man out of the jail. The mob wants justice in their own hands and they want it now as they have weapons and numbers. Scout appears. She senses the danger for her father and goes up on the steps and turns to the crowd and calls out a man whose son goes to school with Scout. She is brave. There is tension and in one second everything could go wrong but it does not because Scout shows these angry men that love is the only way. Her love for standing up for her father and her community is demonstrating the error of their ways. Violence is never the answer.
Life is like that, sometimes it takes children to make us see the error of our ways. So today as I pray for the students lost in the school shooting and their families, the students wounded fighting for their lives and their families, I too pray for the young boy who saw no other way than to act out on his anger by taking an automatic rifle to a school and kill. The answer to our problem is simple folks, how are we treating our children? My own children know that sometimes I get so caught up in my own life that I have not listened to them. I tell you what folks, I am listening now and so should you. Let’s listen for a while to what these children are trying to tell us. That is the answer. Scout was right. She was strong and brave and yes, a bit out of control at times. Aren’t we all? Our children are giving their voice, let us hear them. Truly, hear them.
Life is about learning from our mistakes. Only, let us change that word of mistakes to discoveries. We have discovered that letting our anger take control of our common sense does not work. Let us begin to make peace not war. Let me begin with the song, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” I am singing it.
Life is short. Never have a felt this more than losing some of my dearest friends in the past couple of years. Now we have lost Billy Graham, our nations peacemaker and a man of God. Right now besides mourning for these families I am caught up in the battle some of my dearest friends are dealing with in their lives. One of my best friend’s husband after 14 surgeries to replace a knee has now had to have it amputated. Can you imagine? What has this family gone through? Another dear, dear author friend has been battling breast cancer, one of the healthiest persons I have ever known. She just had both her breasts removed. Shall we get real? For me, it does not get any more real than this! Let us place some important values in perspective, our children, our family and friends, our communities. Let us build a bridge to a better tomorrow and no better way than holding hands!
Life is to be lived, fully. Let us go forth and be the change we want to see but this time, stop, listen, and learn before you speak. I just repeated this five times out loud so I could learn this lesson too. Words do have consequences. I am sure that angry young man saw no other way to end his misery, how sad is this for our children. Children are our gifts to the world, our future, so you may not like what I have to say but can you at least think about it?
Life goes on without us. We all end at some point in our life. Losing my friends and family members I have never felt more that my time is drawing nearer. Will it be soon? We never know so I ask, how do you want to be remembered? As the angry mob in the book “To Kill a Mockingbird”, or as the child character, Scout, the peacemaker. As a people pleaser, it would just kill me to have someone hate me so much that they would say something bad about me. I mean no harm, but I am human, flawed but I do try to make a concerted effort to be kinder, to love no matter what life’s circumstances have thrown at me. Sometimes I fail and fall big time, but TODAY I WILL TRY TO DO BETTER!
So let us be like Scout, read the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” and you will understand that life is about doing the right thing. You will have to figure out what it is for yourself. That is why I am a lifelong learner, so on the occasion of my late father’s birthday, he would have been 84 today, I am reminded of my loss, all our losses, and what we have to gain from learning from those losses.
LIFE! Make it a good one!
Truly, Tiara Wearing and Book Sharing,
Kathy L. Murphy
Founder of the 753 chapter Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Club Reading Nation
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