An Evening with David Brooks – Jill Kinney

JILL KINNEY – I have never hung on someone’s words as I did listening to David Brooks! I have asked myself so many times, “WHY”? What did he say that others have said before, or was it that they didn’t express it in the same way or the same manner? His energy as he walked onto the stage took away the sluggishness of my body from the day’s toil. His humor got my attention early (even in my hesitation to listen to a political journalist) as I caught every joke, and caught myself laughing out loud! But what drew me into his train of thought was that it was thought-provoking! Heart? Soul? Community? I kept thinking he would confess being a closet minister of some sort in his introduction. But what was it that he said to keep me totally immersed in his every word?

It was at a Teachers’ Retreat led by Tillie Tice and Bill Treadwell 20+ years ago that I sat around a camp fire with other Elementary teachers singing and laughing as Bill began his sermonette in which I had been enlisted to do a free-style dance depicting Bill’s words about good and evil. Until I unrobed my cloak and mask, joined in the group, and took a deep breath did I begin to listen to Bill’s words. As I took in his subject matter, I began to tie it to my own life’s experiences. He spoke of one’s heart, our reason to be on this Earth, our connection to one another, how we are to live in Jesus’ shadow. That night I felt as if out of the dark some one hit me in the head! I was jolted out of my seat! Finally I got it! At midlife, in my forties, I GOT IT! I was ready for the Call to get up and come down the aisle to confess my belief in God! (Where were the Angels singing the fifth verse of Just As I Am?) I finally understood what Church was all about! What my life was all about, and how I was supposed to live.

David Brooks did the same thing for me! I wanted to get up and walk down that aisle again and rededicate my life when he closed his lecture. His words were simple enough for me to understand… that we are all here to make our lives better, and for one another. After a day of fighting with our neighbor or our boss or our best friend, that our Soul is still in tack to ask for forgiveness or to give that forgiveness to our brother. That though the times of tribal behavior we can come out of the darkness to find wholeness in one another. That we can fail at our presentations, or we can out-do the rest of our clan at work but yet after the night comes, and we are alone with God, we find the peace within us to sustain our being, to love one another as ourselves.

David Brooks also gave me hope! He recanted the turmoil that we are living in by reminding us that it is not new news! It happened in 1968, it happened too many times in the past and we have lived through it and we have survived. That those tumbling blocks can be rebuilt as we rebuild our communities (by being family, neighborhood or city), our loving souls will give us the strength to gather together and build communication among us. The tribal behavior will have run its course and we will have the yearning to love one another and want to work next to one another in harmony again.

Thanks David Brooks for giving me Hope once again in my life as I am weak and so worn out from the stress of our Neighborhoods, our City and our Nation.

Jill Kinney

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