Books in our lives inspire mutual gratitude, trust
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, November 9, 2005
From your thoughtful responses to last week's column, it's clear that
many of you also treasure the 'books' in your lives the people
who have had a profound influence over you.
This is about mutual trust, writes one Cochrane coffee companion:
AS A JUNIOR/senior high school counsellor, I am keenly aware of the
benefits that others receive by my attentive listening and guidance.
But I also try to mention, as often as I can, that I am thankful for
the trust they place in me and am honored that they have allowed me
to enter into their journey.
Every person's life is a story, and it is such a gift from them to
be entrusted with a portion of their story, to be invited to travel
alongside them and partake in their experiences, the good, the bad and
the downright ugly.
Not only is spending time with people truly a gift of the heart, but
your column helped awaken me to a fresh appreciation of those who share
their time and stories with me. The road of life is definitely a two
Thanks for reminding me!
Cindy Zampa, Cochrane
IT'S ABOUT GRATITUDE, writes one of our loyal coffee companions from
THAT WAS A very evocative piece on "books." On this day
after All Saints Day you have made me begin to count up the many books
I have been privileged to read in my long life.
This morning as I gave thanks in my morning meditations for very special
people in my life, I brought back in memory the large number of folk
who left their marks in my mind and soul: a Sunday school teacher who
was my refuge when things got rough at home (I came from a rather dysfunctional
family); a high school teacher whose wisdom in her teaching of literature
knew no bounds and many of whose little bits of life philosophy have
remained with me; an elderly professor in England who took us out on
jaunts in the country to hear the nightingales; the world experience
I learned whilst helping with the editing of an autobiography of one
of Canada's revered diplomats; and so on and on.
Now you have set me on a trail that will keep me busy for days with
memories. Thank you for assisting me to recall the books I might not
have thought about for some time.
Helen Hare, Oakville, Ont.
ALL THE WAY from the Northwest Territories, one of our newest coffee
companions agrees with Helen:
THANKS SO MUCH for sharing some of your good memories. They make me
appreciate my own memories. Sometimes it is so easy to forget how much
we are all blessed, and your story is making me appreciative of all
the gifts I ought to be grateful for.
Joachim Bonnetrouge, Fort Providence, N.W.T.
I MUST SAY, it's a special treat for me to introduce Joachim to the
rest of you. He sent me a note last spring asking to be included among
our e-mail coffee companions. He finished high school in Fort Smith back
in 1966, he tells me, then did some serious traveling, including a stint
with the Company of Young Canadians.
Currently, he's a band councillor in Fort Providence, one of the communities
of the Dehcho First Nations. He's also a project coordinator for the Fort
Providence Residential School Society, a healing project.
To keep himself well, he likes the outdoors and hunting whenever he
gets a chance to get away. For 10 years, now, he's also been a traditional
singer and drummer.
When he first connected with me, he wondered if I had a bio.
I responded that the best way to get to know me was not through anything
I might write about myself, but by getting to know the people I admire
and write about in this column. "More than anything else," I
wrote him, "they are the mirrors of my heart."
These are the people I've come to know and admire, cup by cup, e-mail
by e-mail, in the everyday moments of my life. These are the "books"
that, hopefully, are broadening my heart and mind and are shaping me into
the person I'd like to become.
As another Cochrane coffee companion, Lindsie Haxton, so beautifully
put it in her response to last week's column:
"Sometimes we can become narrow in our reading, both human and
on paper, and your column expressed an openness to discovering and appreciating
good reading in seemingly ordinary places."
© 2005 Warren Harbeck
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