Words at Lunch

Working on my manuscript When Whales Sing which had a different working title for 10-12 years. I couldn’t go back to sleep at 3:45 when I awoke with the thought: I’m going to have to dump most of the writing of the past months. The book is about marriage, recovery from ugly experiences, hearing God’s voice and being problem solvers.

The writing of Pat Conroy has become my best resource. It was not intended to be on the research list. Let me share what I read this morning: Conroy was entering his senior year at The Citadel. At a lunch with his mentor, academic advisor and teacher. The conversation:

“This is your last season as a basketball player, isn’t it?”

“Yes, sir,” I said. “I stink at that, too.”

“You say that about yourself as a writer. You say that about yourself as a basketball player. May I give you some advice? You are far too young to know this, but your life is precious and your time is short. For reasons I don’t understand, you are deeply unhappy, and it pains me. Know this. I think you could be special if you only thought there was anything special about yourself. Someone has taught you to hate yourself. Mr. Conroy. I value our friendship very much.”

(My Losing Season, Pat Conroy, Doubleday, 2002, Page 144)

Conroy says his father’s fists and his mother’s voice were the bookends of his youth. In between, thankfully, were a few such people and conversations over lunch.

As I have read the research that plays out in When Whales Sing, those who carry bruises and wounds, bad habits and self-depreciation are rescued from the sharks when someone cares enough to speak words such as, “…but your life is precious.” Some of us have friends who are brave and loving with a penchant to encourage. Many of us are limited to the words of Jesus and the people he speaks through in the Bible. They are singing whales.

Blessed to hear. Anointed to speak.

©D. Dean Benton         Benton Books & Blogs       bentonministries.com

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