One of the best parts of having written a book is meeting people who enjoyed reading my words.
Today I had the privilege of meeting a group of Catholics who live in northern Virginia, simply because one of them discovered my book (thanks to the power of an Amazon search: “personal, memoir, Holy Land”) and contacted me.
This group has been meeting weekly for Bible study for more than 15 years (!) and a few of them are heading off on a pilgrimage to Israel/Palestine next month.
The group was very hospitable. Let me illustrate. At one point in Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land, I mention that we pilgrims enjoyed coffee and pastries after a worship service. I tried to set the scene briefly:
After the worship service, there is coffee hour — just like back home. We’re served scalding Turkish coffee in miniature plastic cups. I can manage to hold mine only by the rim. It’s both challenge and delight to get the thick brew down. Plus, there are trays of pastries with various fillings, including my favorite, poppy seed.
Can you imagine that someone noted that very mundane detail — that my favorite flavor is poppyseed — and made a special trip to purchase delectable poppyseed pastries?
I was touched. And I savored every bite — an abundance of poppyseed wrapped in lemon-scented dough.
The group and I talked about what it means to be a pilgrim. We compared pilgrim itineraries, and shared our reactions to various places in the Holy Land, including the Via Dolorosa.
Then, as a last question, someone asked if I could explain the doctrine of predestination. “I’ve always wanted to ask a Calvinist,” she said.
Normally I might have demurred. After all, who can explain predestination?
But I was powered by poppyseeds, so I obliged.
In my continuing nod to Judith Valente’s book The Art of Pausing, let me attempt another haiku:
Poppyseeds ooze, drip
Black coffee to wash it down