Recently I thought seriously about quitting writing. Of course, before I could give it up, I had to analyze why I write. I started way back when I thought I wanted to teach. Why did I want to be a teacher? Well, a teacher can change lives. A good teacher enriches lives. Knowledge is powerful! Teaching can be a tremendous contribution to the teacher and if she is a good teacher, she will touch many lives. Teaching is a service. It's giving to others. It's changing lives by giving to others and you don't give to others without some of it rubbing off on you. All kinds of service are rewarding.
I've told you how I became a hairdresser. First, I gave to my brother and sister by solving their problem. Then, when I got good enough to make others look better, I helped them feel better by looking better. We both felt better. Here again, my work was service.
Now we come to writing. Words are powerful! Recently a professional writer told me I have been gifted with the ability to write. She encouraged me not to give it up. She said so many people look forward to this column. For those who don't like it, they don't have to read it. They have a choice. Writing is so democratic or maybe I should say reading is so democratic. I also have to say learning is optional. You can close your mind to new thoughts or you can expand on them. You have choices. Learning is light. Ignorance is darkness.
You can't have writing without reading. If you have all kinds of written information and if you can't read, what good is all this information? So naturally, we're saying people have to be educated. Writing, reading and education are all services. What is all of this saying about me? To make my life worthwhile, I have to be useful. I pray that there will be work in heaven! I love to work. Now there's a good four letter word. When I was growing up there was only one four letter word and it was a bad word. We wouldn't think of saying that word, but how times have changed!
One night when I used to sleep on the open porch, a group of boys and girls were between my house and Barbara Ann's house. Every other word was that four letter word. It didn't matter if the boys were saying it or the girls. Finally I stood up and said, "If I hear that "f" word one more time, I'm calling the cops!" They quieted down and finally took off. Now I hear it on T.V. off and on. Why? I think it's so degrading!
Last night I started thinking of good four letter words. Love is a positive, beautiful four letter word. The word good is a four letter word. We should use it often to encourage people. Now here's something we should think about. The word "hate" is very harsh and negative, but if we combine it with lies, which is another negative and say, "I hate lies!," we have made a positive statement and turned two bad words into a good positive statement. What are we saying? We have the power, or the choice, to turn negatives into positive thoughts which leads to positive actions! Ah, the power of thoughts put into words that can change the world! It humbles me when I think that God has given us these choices! I am grateful.
What can we write about? Usually we write about the things we think about or we wish to do in the future. These are our daydreams. Or we can write about the people we have known and have influenced our lives or places we have seen that impressed us. These are experiences. One is the future and the other is the past. We need both to have full lives.
The greatest gift I can wish for you is that you have deep interest in service. Service is so rewarding! If you have that desire in your heart, you'll always be happy. No one can take it away from you. You can volunteer for anything you want. And the work you volunteer is great! You don't need someone singing your praises. You know and God knows, so if the two of you are pleased with your deeds, that's all you need.
So why do I write? I want to give people opportunities to think, to do, to laugh and make others laugh. You can do all three and more or you can choose as little or as much as you want. I guess I want to influence people to have an impact on lives. I guess it all goes back to I can't stand waste and a wasted life is the worst waste there is! I'm not interfering because the choices are all made by you. Maybe I want to be a good influence.
I can't believe I'm so old! And I have had a good life. I have chosen good people in my life and I've had good experiences. I want others to feel like I do, when they are as old as I am.
What are your thoughts?
I can't finish without some thoughts on the passing of my friend Kate Criscione.
What a sweetheart! She was everyone's friend! She always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. What a legacy she left to her family! We can all learn a lesson from her!
Thank you, Kate.