SOME YEARS AGO I was invited to be part of a collaborative effort by American writers to describe landscapes using regional terms like eye that are being lost. The definitions were published in the wonderful book Homeground, edited by Debra Gwartney and Barry Lopez.
Of the entries I submitted, my favorite was Eye. To me it speaks of a miracle in the natural world, yes, but also of the miracle of human spirit, surging forth from the hidden springs within us all.
I am a writer and a woman who has been seared by grief, and who has emerged from the fire believing in the wellspring of human goodness. Since 2009, shortly after the death of our son in a car accident, I have been exploring how I might live a life of service to others. Until then my writing had focused on landscape and place and the incredible complexity of nature. Now, in addition, I am drawn to stories of people in need, and how their pain might be alleviated by small, even everyday acts born of kindness.
In the horrible months after Reid’s accident, I realized what I most wanted was to find my way into some form of service in which I could lose myself, and perhaps again find some meaning in my world. Without Reid, I felt I had little reason to continue living. Helping people in need or trouble, carefully and whole-heartedly, has proved to be a lifeline for me, a way of coaxing light back into my life. As I've continued to learn about serving others with no agenda or motive, working alongside them to discover what they most need to heal, I've found myself becoming the person I've always wanted to be. I tell the story of my journey in my monthly blog and my forthcoming book.
I know now that living in service is a lifelong pilgrimage. Opportunities to help others may come in the form of a quick encounter or in a sustaining relationship with a program or a person in need. My hope is that this web site will serve as a forum for those of us who long to alleviate suffering, be it physical, spiritual, or psychic. I invite you to accompany me on my continuing quest.
Subscribe to my monthly blog on service by clicking here.
An extensive interview with me about selfless service and my writing appears in the 2017 North Carolina Literary Review online. It's part of a package that includes interviews with three other well-known writers, and you can find it here.
You may read it by opening the window to your full screen. You do not need to download it.
The interview with me begins on page 98.