22 January 2007

Huston Smith!

I found him at last!


Lands across the planet have become our neighbors, China across the street, the Middle East at our back door. We hear that East and West are meeting, but it is an understatement. They are being flung at one another. When historians look back on our century, they may remember it most as the time when the peoples of the world first came to take another seriously.

Huston Smith
The World’s Religions

Two days after I sent the letter to Huston Smith, I was driving on a freeway, wondering when it might be proper to follow up with a call when my cell phone rang. A blocked caller.

“Hello?”

“This is Huston Smith calling for Marley.”

His voice was dignified, precise, his inner force rising to overcome the wear and tear of time.

“Professor Smith? I can’t believe it! Thank you so much for calling me so promptly. I cannot tell you how much this means to me.”

“Well, I read your letter and I’d be happy for you to stop by but I want you to know that, if you want me to read a manuscript, I must tell you I am just too busy and so my answer must be no. But if you want to stop by, the answer is yes.”

He was eighty-seven. He got a letter from a complete stranger asking to visit. He called back as soon as he got it. And, he said yes.

If there were other cars on the road, I no longer saw them. “Oh that’s terrific, Professor Smith. That would be just great.”

“Let me give you my fax number so we can finish up all the details that way. My hearing isn’t great this year - it will be much better next year - so I can’t do much over the phone but I’m much better in person. Please take this fax number and we’ll work out the details that way.”

While driving on the freeway, I’m sorry to say, I took the number down, afraid to risk losing him even in the small amount of time that pulling to the side of the road might have taken.

A couple of faxes and phone calls later and we were set. After the silent retreat, I was to stop by his house.

22 January 2007

1 comment:

I'm interested in any and all comments although it may take me a while to post them.