#18 – An Invisible Thread

It’s a book I read.  I read it in the summertime actually. I’ve been taking advantage of some Christmas vacation days to catch the blog up to real life time.  Here’s a little something…

There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that says, “An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place and circumstance.  The thread may stretch or tangle.  But it will never break.”  This book tells the story of the connection between the author, Laura Schroff and a little boy named Maurice.

In the 1980s, Laura was successfully working in the advertising business in Manhattan and admits that she barely noticed 11-year-old Maurice begging for money as she passed him on the street one day.  She said that his call for spare change, at first, seemed like nothing more than noise.  She said it was the kind of noise that New Yorkers learn to tune out.  She ignored him.  She kept on walking. Until something made her stop. Something made her go back to him and she took him to McDonald’s for dinner.  Then she went back a week later and took him to dinner again.  She went back again and again and what started as a weekly meal developed into a life-changing relationship for both Laura and Maurice, a connection that would last for decades and counting.

Throughout their meetings Laura learns the difficult details of Maurice’s life, living in poverty, surrounded by drugs and crime.  She buys him a watch so he will not be late for school, packs him lunches, takes him to baseball games, meets his teachers, does his laundry, worries about him, listens to him.  She becomes a sort of mentor/parent to him. Throughout the book, Laura also shares stories of her own childhood and how her relationship with Maurice expanded her family and happiness.

Something about acts of kindness always gets my attention.  I almost just called this a “random” act of kindness, but really that’s exactly the author’s point. She didn’t think her actions that first day were random at all.  She felt there was some force that drew she and Maurice together, that they were destined to meet, connected by one of those invisible threads. What if that’s true for all of our lives? I think it’s a nice thought – to imagine all those invisible threads connecting me to the people in my past, present and future.  It makes me think of lots of happiness and fun, family and friends and love and lessons learned. Plus it’s kind of exciting to think about who I’m connected to and haven’t even met yet! Do you believe that ancient Chinese proverb?  Either way, we definitely need more courage and kindness like Laura’s in this world. Read the book! Or at least go be kind to a stranger.  I’m going to try to.

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#3 – Caving

Would you be afraid to go inside a cave?

I was a little bit...

I was a little bit…

Jen was a lot!

…Jen was A LOT!

It’s a good thing this cave was MAMMOTH!  I mean, it’s really huge!  No need for headlamps and spelunking equipment.  Not even any crawling or squeezing.  Just walk down 160 stairs and you’re in!  See here…

IMG_0165

Cave Entrance

Back in October, when we were in Kentucky for a weddin‘, a couple of my college girls and I took a little drive to Mammoth Cave National Park.  Now, the cave wasn’t scary at all.  But the drive, was a different story…

One time, we took a wrong turn and had to drive down a very, very, very steep, steep hill on a very, very, dark, woodsy, out in the middle of nowhere, scary, scary road. From the beginning we knew it wasn’t the right way.  It wasn’t paved.  It was barely even wide enough for our car to fit. There was a very steep hill.  There was no place to turn around.  There was a rickety bridge that barely held up as we crossed over.  We either passed no houses or houses that were so old and run down that it seemed like people couldn’t possibly live there but you could tell people did. You could tell because you could hear their music. Did I mention there was a steep hill?  It was very steep.  And there was NO CELL SERVICE!!!!!!!  We didn’t have any choice but to keep going.  The road twisted and turned.  I drove the rental car right over a log because it seemed like a safer option than getting out to move it.  Finally, just past the cemetery, the scary road intersected with a normal road and our phones began to work again.  So we called for directions. But then we found out that the only thing to do was to u-turn and drive back the way we came.  I couldn’t do it. My nerves were shot and I didn’t believe that our rental car or any car for that matter could actually make it up that steep hill that we had come down.  So I got out of the driver’s seat and let Nicole handle it.  While I had a panic attack in the backseat, Nicole figured that the best way to do it was as fast as possible.  So she gunned it along the road, past the cemetery, somehow the log wasn’t there this time, rattled across the bridge,  whizzing by the houses and straight up the hill.  Somewhere along the way a woodsman on a four wheeler started following us.  He didn’t seem concerned about the hill.  I thought he might flip over backwards.  Or kidnap us.  But no.  We all made it just fine.  And then we went to the cave.  Feeling brave.  Well, not the woodsman.  He went back to the woods. I think.

OK.  It may not have been that scary in reality.  But, "that's how it felt."

OK. It may not be such a  scary road  in reality. Maybe I exaggerated a bit. But, “that’s how it felt!”

The park ranger gives us cave instructions.  Sometimes I want to be a park ranger.

The park ranger gives us cave instructions. Sometimes I want to be a park ranger.

Ranger teaches us about the cave.  It feels a bit like Disney World inside there.  It's crazy to think of how it was all created naturally.

Ranger teaches us about the cave. It’s the world’s longest known cave system.  There are more than 390 miles of cave passages and “rooms” down there. It feels a bit like Disney World in some parts since the park system has installed lights and protective rails in the tour areas.  It’s crazy to think of how it was all created naturally.  It’s huge! Hence the name.  I think I remember that Ranger said they used to make gun powder in there.  We did not see any bats.  Ranger says they stick to lesser toured areas.

Comfy ancient cave slippers.  For when the cave people were relaxing.

Comfy ancient cave slippers. For when the cave people wanted to relax.

You have to walk on bio-security mats after being in the cave to prevent the spread of some fungal disease that affects bats.

You have to walk on bio-security mats after being in the cave to prevent the spread of some fungal disease that affects bats.

Here's some info...Did you know that some parts of Kentucky are in the Central Time Zone???   We didn't. Oops.  Good thing you gain an hour and we weren't late for our friends' wedding!

Here’s some info…Did you know that some parts of Kentucky are in the Central Time Zone??? We didn’t. Oops. Good thing you gain an hour and we weren’t late for our friends’ wedding the day before.