Today my “household” to-do list read:
• Buy champagne
• Wrap gifts
• Mail phone
• Buy gas
“Mail phone” meant returning my daughter’s broken iPhone 5s. She dropped it on the floor last Sunday and the screen shattered.
Fortunately, I carry insurance on my daughters’ phones (it’s paid off in spades) and filed a claim. Two days later the FedEx guy delivered a replacement phone; the package included instructions for returning the broken phone.
Today I drove to the post office to mail the shattered phone. As I was standing in line, I felt a tap on my shoulder and a soft-spoken greeting: “Hi Larry.” I turned, and it was a longtime, dear family friend who’s retired and lives in town.
She said she received our family’s annual Christmas card and letter. “I loved the photo of you and Christine. It was so cute.”
“Thanks! That was on a hike at…” (my friend cuts me off)
“And the letter. It was a delight. After my husband read it, he said: ‘Do you think Christine wrote it?’ I said: ‘Oh no. That was Larry all the way.'”
“It was me. I didn’t sign it, did I? I guess people know by now.”
“You have a such a talent for writing,” she said.
“Thank you,” I said.
“I hope you’re using it,” she said.
“I am. Quite a lot,” I said.
And then came the question that moved me to write this column:
“Are you putting your writing to good purpose?”
“I am,” I said. “Definitely.”
“That’s good. I’m glad,” she said.
We exchanged Christmas wishes, and then it was my turn at the teller window.
I haven’t always been able to say that my writing is being put to good purpose. There have been entire years when it seemed like a waste of time, when it had no effect — positive or negative — on the universe.
So I ask: “Are you putting your talent to good purpose?” Think about it as you enter the new year.