To Touch Other People
On the way home from the grocery store this morning I began to wonder if this world would be a better place if I wasn’t a writer. I drove past a man in a tattered knit cap, a backpack on his shoulder, his face shadowed with homelessness. If I wasn’t a writer, I could volunteer for two hours a day at a homeless shelter. At a stop sign, a woman on crutches crossed in front of me, headed to the hospital on the other side of the street. If I wasn’t a writer, I could volunteer for two hours a day at the hospital. My heart swelled. The world seemed full of pain, my brothers and sisters in need, and I wanted to do something to help. Why was I wasting so much time typing stories?
When I got home, as I was unloading groceries, a friend of mine drove up into my driveway. She got out of her car and threw her arms around me. “I have to thank you,” she said in a choked voice. “I have to thank you.” For a few moments she couldn’t say anything. “Thank you for that beautiful CD you gave me. Your brother-in-law’s CD. It is so beautiful. I listened to it on the way to the temple this morning. The music is so beautiful. It touches my heart.”
My brother-in-law is an actor and a singer. I would never, ever want him to stop being what he is, even though he had to go on tour this year while my sister stayed home with three little children and one on the way. Yes, it would be easier for them if he had a more ordinary job, but if he wasn’t what he was, then that wonderful CD would never have happened. It has touched so many people, lifted so many hearts.
When I told the story to my sister over the phone, told her how my friend had thrown her arms around me and thanked me for the CD, my sister said with a big smile in her voice, “That’s what we live for.” That’s what she and her husband and family sacrifice so much for. To touch other people with music.
And after I hung up the phone, I thought that there are many ways to help our brothers and sisters in this life, many ways to relieve their pain, and I dream that someday maybe I’ll write a book that will make one friend throw her arms around another and say, “Thank you! Thank you for that beautiful book you gave me.”
-Rebecca J. Carlson