Kathryn took my hand in both of hers and said, “I’m a better person for having read your books.” I was honored and humbled, of course. What writer wouldn’t be? But mostly I was in awe of Kathryn, who, at 101 years old, was still becoming.
It’s easy, I think, for most of us to reach a point where we think we’ve arrived. Oh, we may wish we were a little thinner, or more fit, or could afford just the tiniest bit of work around the eyes, but on the whole, we think we’ve pretty much got it all together. Our thoughts and ideas about most things are set (and correct!) and don’t need revisiting. We only do the things we are good at. We hang out with people pretty much like us, and if we come across someone we completely disagree with, we may or may not take the time to set him straight, but we know in our hearts who’s right and who’d dead wrong.
And then there’s Kathryn, who finds opportunity for growth while reading two simple stories set in a small fictional town in southwest New Mexico.
I don’t know it what way reading these books made Kathryn a better person. I’ve known her for years, and, frankly, I’ve always thought she was pretty amazing just the way she was. Even as her strength waned, and her step slowed, her smile was full of delight and her eyes always said “Ah! Just the one I wanted to see!”
Maybe that’s the secret of still becoming at 101 years old. Maybe when every encounter is an opportunity to learn something new, maybe when every setback is an opportunity to grow and overcome, one can pick up even a simple romance like One More Last Chance and say, “I’m a better person for having read your books.”
Can you tell that when I write about Elizabeth I’m picturing Kathryn? What about you? Is there someone in your life who lights the way ahead for you? Someone who you look at and say, “That’s who I want to be some day.”