Last night I had the privilege of joining a local book club celebrating their 38th year together. These women had a complete list of books they had read over the course of marriage, birth, careers, divorce, illness, loss, grandchildren, celebration, hurt, happiness, and laughter. The books were challenging, literary works. I was humbled to be amongst an expansive list of such impressive authors. One of the ladies whispered to me, “It’s all about relationships, coming together and coming apart, being touched and feeling something. That’s the essence of living. That’s why we read.”
When I arrived at Dale Gratz’s home ready to talk about the many themes in What We Leave Behind, I didn’t expect to leave with an arsenal of life bites. I observed these women beeline to the kitchen with the homemade salads and desserts they prepared; they asked each other about their children and grandchildren; they toasted to those they had lost over the years, and asked about the ones who were ailing. They recommended books, they recommended authors. And they listened. And they shared. The level of commitment to their club, each other, and reading on demand is astounding. There is so much to be learned through listening and sharing. We may not all agree, and our debates can get heated and passionate, but to listen without judging is the very essence of female friendship Another commented, “We wouldn’t have survived the last 38 years without each other.” I believe she is right.