Time to give away another book! This time the book is Unfinished Business by Lee Kravitz.
You can visit Kravitz’s blog page here and listen to a three-minute video about the book. After you do this, please come back to this blog and leave a comment by midnight Wed. June 30.
I will collect the names of all commenters, shuffle them, select blindly, and announce the winner on July 1.
The book looks great. In fact, it looks so related to one of my purposes for doing this blog, that I am hoping to contact the author. Stay tuned.
Do you ever think about unfinished business in your life? Is there an old debt you need to pay? An old enemy you want to forgive? What about justice?
When I went to live away from my childhood home for the first time, I remember pouring over the photographs, names and home towns of all the freshmen, wondering who they were and who might be one to whom my vibrant connection would occur. Because my college was a 2-year college I graduated and left with what felt like imperfectly formed connections. My unfinished business (in my memoir and in the present moment) is to realize how those connections were just right for me and to celebrate their vibrance.
Lee speaks the truth about the unexpected gifts we exchange through human connection. I recently found myself in an airport, my head firmly bowed into a book on Adolescent Literacy, my highligher and ballpoint at the ready in my hand, and generally oblivious to anyone around me. But there was an insistent cry that kept interrupting my concentration, and the cry was getting louder. I looked up from my text to see a disheveled mother, cell phone in one hand, the other dragging her two-year-old girl by the arm. The little girl in a green plaid dress with curly hair in pigtails was inconsolable. Her mother plopped down onto a seat at gate D12, now crowded with other travelers, and let go of her daughter, using both hands at last to furiously text on her phone. The little girl took advantage of the freedom, flinging herself down on the floor, wailing, kicking off her shoes and squirming from one area on the carpet to another. The mother watched her daughter with an if-you-dare look out of the corner of her eye. I know because I peeked from behind the covers of my book.My heart stirred. That mother. She is me. I recalled with disturbing vividness my own mothering moments of desperation where insanity was just around the corner. An elderly lady, you know, the friendly grand-mothering type, with a cross-word and pencil in her hand, shifted in her seat to avoid coming into contact with the squirming child. No one wants to touch a leper.The girl ended up a short distance from my chair, and further than ever from her mother. The child’s hands were covering her face, and the cry, the cry was mournful. It wasn’t the I-want-that-ice-cream-now kind of cry. It was the cry of a wounded animal. I wanted to touch her. I wanted to heal her. But this is a land of litigation. This is a land where people don’t touch other people’s children. This is a land where toughness is rewarded. I hesitated. But the impulse to be with that little girl in her grief was too strong. I dropped to all fours and crawled slowly across the brown carpet at gate D12, stopping short of the little girl who hadn’t spotted me yet. I reached out my hand and softly tickled her bare feet, brushing my fingers back and forth over her soft toes. She was so deep into her sorrow that it took her a while to notice me, but she uncovered her grey eyes and looked slowly into mine. I hope that my face was arranged in a way that would be pleasing to a two-year-old. She didn’t smile. She simply crept slowly back to her mother’s chair.I knew that it wasn’t over. I had to go over and sit next to her mother. I needed to tell her that I know that fear, the fear that the anger will swallow me whole. I could communicate that through a glance…but then she might think I was judging her. The last thing I wanted to do. I could move and sit by her, but then she might find me too forward. I might be invading her space. And besides, she was still busy texting. I decided to wait for an opportune moment to make my move. I waited too long. The mother stood, grabbed her now whimpering child by the arm and walked away. My stomach churned.I missed a moment to experience what Lee calls “that deep human connection which comes from just being there for another person”. I also happen to believe that I missed God’s call, and I mourn.
Doesn't everyone have unfinished business?? As I grow older and those around me move off into other worlds, I am becoming so much more aware of how we must go back to rediscover the contents of our lives and the people who have helped to make us who we are.
I am in total support of Lee Kravitz's concept. I finished the business of my grandparents and it has enriched my life. My grandfather and his brother had emigrated to this country from Germany and farmed in Kansas. My grandfather left to be a pioneer farmer on a plot of land in Alabama when my mother was eighteen months old. The two families communicated for a time, but then lost touch. I would ask my mother about the Kansas relatives, but she had heard stories from her mother and not wanted to try to find them. One day, I plopped my three daughters in our minivan, stocked up on frozen dinners for my husband, and headed north from Austin on I-35 to Kansas. We found our “long-lost” relatives! And they were so nice! They showed me my mother's birthplace. I sat with her cousin and we talked about why the two families had lost touch. I unearthed my grandparents' marriage license in the courthouse. And then, a year or so later, those Kansas relatives got in their minivan and drove down to Texas to visit us. We're in touch on Facebook now. I love finished business!
I just got a copy of this book from the publisher. It looks great! And the giveaway has already spurred these fabulous stories. What a great idea for a book. Thank you all for not only commenting but sharing deeply.
Kravitz's book, experiences, memories, are intriguing. Sometimes (maybe most of the time?) it is the challenges and crises in our lives that cause us to take stock of our past. I have been thinking recently about my past and how to record it in a healthy, meaningful and interesting way for my descendants. I am thinking about expressing gratitude for all the blessings I've received, and how to pass them on to others. It is time to record my thoughts and ideas before I lose them, or decide there are more important things to do!
I agree with Jzrart and lanietankard who wrote about everyone having unfinished business. I wrote a longer blog post about unfinished business as part of the tapestry of life in January 2010. Here is an excerpt:Unfinished business is part of who we are. We each weave, rest, and weave throughout the times and seasons of our lives. None of us will complete our tapestries. When I’m gone, perhaps someone will pick up some of my threads and begin weaving them into their own tapestry. In the meanwhile, I don’t have to get everything done perfectly. I need to keep weaving and discovering threads, flowing through the seasons of life. A life well-lived will leave a lot of hanging threads – a lot of unfinished business.(http://friesengroup.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/un…)I continue to reflect on unfinished business. I found Kravitz' toolbox of questions for reflection interesting.http://www.myunfinishedbusiness.com/index.php?/…
Sounds like a marvelous memory, Shirley. I'm happy to discover your blog and many thanks for dropping by SunnyRoomStudio to visit the summer literary journal. I have a memoir on my to-do list; will let you know how that goes. And, yes, in looking at your bio, we are indeed kindred spirits. If you read Advancing Philanthropy, I publish in that quite a bit. Have an article coming soon called The Poetry of Philanthropy. I'm sure you discovered the pages dedicated to nonprofits while you browsed around Sunny Room. Best of luck with your Foundation work — it's a challenging world, but so rewarding. It's great to meet you, and I'll be sure our paths cross again soon. Best, Daisy
Obviously, in comment just left … I meant to type MEMOIR as opposed to MEMORY! Also, while I'm here again, I'll mention the new memoir by Mary L. Tabor (Re)Making Love: A Sex After Sixty Story. She's on Twitter @MaryLTabor in case you'd like to connect with her. I'm sure she'd love to hear from you. More re the book @ http://sexaftersixtybook.com/ or her website is http://www.maryltabor.com Have a great day.
Oh, my goodness, Thank you, DazyDayWriter. So glad you found me and now I've found Shirley. Shirley, if there is any way you might like a look at the book for review (I would be so grateful), you can take a look and find me at http://maryltabor.blogspot.com.This is one terrific blog.Mary
Congratulations, Karin, yours was the name drawn out of the hat! If you email me, I will forward your name to the publisher, who will send you a copy of the book. Thanks, everyone, for these wonderful comments and stories. Clearly, the author has tapped a universal human experience. You've all given me a lot to think about.The author had to get fired from his job before he had the courage and the time to finish his business. What does that say about our culture?
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