Believe it or not, these two disparate comments belong together.
Flattered to be invited to attend and speak at the Word Shark Writing Conference organized by Karen Sanderson, editor, writer and blogger, I accepted after realizing I could combine the trip with a visit to my mom, who lives just a half hour away.
A few days before the conference, I worked on my presentation while also baking my mother’s favorite chocolate chip butterscotch oatmeal bars. My mom doesn’t have a big sweet tooth, but for some reason she absolutely loves my bars.
At 5:30 a.m. on the day of my long train ride to Delaware, I grabbed the special bars from the freezer, where I had stored them. Seven hours later I gratefully unloaded my bag with the special treats, basking in my mom’s gratefulness.
But as I pulled the bars out of their freezer bag onto one of her antique flowery dainty china plates, I gasped.
A few days earlier I’d had a special baking day with my 5-year-old grandson, making a new recipe for “O’Henry” bars. They were way too sweet for me, but Clark exclaimed with a worshipful sigh, “these are the best cookies in the world,” so I froze some for his return visits.
But alas, now the O’Henry’s were here in DE with my mom, who I was sure would be deeply disappointed that I’d not brought my specialty c.c. butterscotch oatmeal concoctions.
Before seeing her reaction, I raced off to the writing conference. In truth, I was quite nervous, not about presenting, but about meeting these writers who I only knew on-line through their blogs. What would happen if, in person, we disliked each other, and had nothing in common?
As I entered the room my worries vanished, and the writing conversation ensued with a combination of wit, wisdom, and ‘what ifs’ that writers share throughout the world. We were all just wandering, wondering writers who connected despite our differences in writing styles/age/experiences.
Ribboned in between the practical matters of writing, we all expressed a desire to share our LIGHT in our writing, whether it be through our blogs or books, stories or magazine articles.
The words that were thrown like rainbows throughout the room were:
Call us sappy (and many will), but tired of seeing dark, discouraging words thrown about in the news and blogs, in stories and shows, we all sought for ways to write about the light within the shadows.
I returned to my mom’s place, thoughtful. As I walked through her front door, my mom’s head snapped up, looking a bit guilty.
“What’s the matter?” I asked.
“I just ate another of your O’Henry bars. They are sooo good. I can’t get enough,” she confessed.
“But…” I began, ready to remind her that these weren’t her favorite bars, so she couldn’t like them so much.
And then I figuratively smacked my hand on my head.
She didn’t love my bars because of how they tasted.
She loved my bars because I baked them for her.
Because I cared. Because through my act of (baking) kindness, she felt loved.
And then the discussion from the writing conference all fell into place.
Non random acts of kindness – though our writings, our actions, even our baking, these acts shine through the darkness.