Saturday, August 13, 2011

It's a small world after all---

Husband John and I went to visit the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville yesterday. John is in conversation with the Center about using his exhibit “Who is My Neighbor?” (It is no accident that our studio is named, Global Village Studio.) The Center’s mission extends far beyond a showcase for the Ali story. It continues the mission of Ali’s life especially as he sought to be a bridge between diverse cultures. As readers of this blog know, John's exhibit also strives to build that bridge.

The visit and the ensuing conversation reminded me once again of the smallness of our world. We touch each other so often and in so many more ways than we ever know about. This affect on each other should be humbling to all of us.

I am reminded of when I picked up the memoir, The Soloist by Steve Lopez. I didn’t know Steve or the soloist who lived on the streets of Los Angeles. But in talking about the book, I learned that my step-daughter did know Steve so he was just one degree of separation from me. Then I read about John Carroll, editor of the Los Angeles Times when Steve was doing this project. Carroll was my neighbor in Lexington, KY. I would not call us friends but when our junior high children sneaked out of the house to drink beer at the park, I called every parent of every child I recognized. John Carroll was the only parent who thanked me. Second personal connection with a book I just picked up off the shelf.

John and I were active in the International Affairs Council in Raleigh when we lived there. We hosted a young woman from Turkmenistan so we went to dinner the other host families. One of the men, wanting his guest to feel at home, put a photo up on his computer screen of a guy in Turkmenistan who had received the host’s micro-loan to start a small business. The guest walked into the room and shouted, “That is my brother!” Small small world.

I frequently attended a writers’ group in Raleigh whose variety of speakers enriched my life. Elaine Neil Orr spoke to us one night about her book, Gods of Noonday, her memoir about growing up as the child of Southern Baptist missionaries in Nigeria. I could hardly wait until the program was over to ask Elaine, “Did you happen to know Dr. Martha Hagood, who was also a Southern Baptist missionary in Nigeria?” She picked up her book and pointed, “Dr. Martha lived right there.” Elaine and I had never met but we had a long line of Southern Baptists missionaries (including my Aunt BJ who named me) who connected us through their global lives.

What is your small world story?

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