No, this is NOT a posting about the one-year anniversary of the probe by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential election. In fact, it is not about Donald Trump at all.
Not that the week hasn’t produced its share of potential topics (and fun headlines): I could have gone with the President’s tweet “I Hereby Demand…” as a jumping off point for the President and the rule of law; or entitled my post, “So, Now It’s Off?” as a focus for the decision earlier today (that could change tomorrow) to cancel the June 12 summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un. I could have riffed on an old cheer, “Stand Up, Kneel Down; Fight, Fight, Fight” to talk about the NFL, free speech and the national anthem.
But, since my postings have almost been all-Trump-all-the-time, I decided to forego these potentially alluring items to give you, dear readers, a break from the Trump madness and go with my original intent: to share a more personal reflection about my book tour for Beyond the Comma.
On Sunday at Center Church in South Hadley, Massachusetts I completed the final leg of my previously planned, year-long journey of book signings, facilitated dialogues and interactive exercises based on the themes in my book. To say this was a gratifying experience would be a huge understatement: thirty-five events in twelve states and the District of Columbia, more than 800 in attendance, hundreds of books sold, and—most important—deeply meaningful conversations among the participants (You can see comments about these events here).
From coast to coast, I was met with gracious hospitality, wonderful expressions of affirmation, probing questions and curiosity about navigating changes in one’s life “beyond the comma.” A special shout-out is in order for those who hosted Blythe and me along the way: Sam and Susan Simon, Laurie Hafner, Kris and Eric Shafer, Cliff and Jan Aerie, Dick and Mindy Hamm, Ray Bagnuolo and Lori Souder and Winston Baldwin. Without these generous gifts of support and hospitality, the entire venture would not have been possible.
Many deeply held comments were spoken, including by those who are currently experiencing “comma moments”—the death of a spouse, retirement, a change of jobs—and how my book helps them navigate these changes. Several shared how construction of the narrative in short chapters (an idea from my esteemed editor, Betsy McHaley) allows the book to serve as a devotional tool. Three churches used Beyond the Comma in congregational book studies and two academic institutions used it in classrooms. On the whole, it was a most successful year.
It’s now time to look ahead. With help from my good friend Tim Frakes, we created a video that outlines how you can use me in helping accomplish upcoming objectives for your organization. You can check out the video here and feel free to be in touch if you are interested in exploring how I can help your group plan and implement courageous conversations in our complex world. Discussions are already underway with several entities; look for details on specific events in your area in the weeks to come.
And if you missed my weekly thoughts and reflections about truth telling in the age of Donald Trump, stay tuned. I am sure that the coming week will give us numerous opportunities to resume commentary on the ongoing saga that never seems to lose our fascination in the marketplace of ideas.