Friday, July 26th, 2019. At T minus 10 hours, my wife and I are already racing around to get supplies for the evening’s blast-off: wine, red and white; reusable plastic wine glasses; napkins, all in town; then cheese, mixed nuts, and crackers, all from the closest Costco in nearby Superior. Then to the church’s parish hall, our launch-site venue, to leave the food in the fridge and set up the tables, chairs, and lectern. Back home. Shower and change. Leave at 6 pm, T minus one hour, to get to the site 50 minutes ahead to make sure everything is in order and to greet the 40 people who eventually show up.
Before things start, co-author Sharon Clark, who has flown in the day before from the San Francisco Bay area, and I pose with my wife, fellow author Dr. Cedar Barstow.
Then, promptly at 7:15, our rector, the priest in charge at larger Episcopal churches, arrives from another function to bless the flight of our little wisdom book into the world.
Here are her words: “Gracious God, you created us to live lives of joy. Nothing more, nothing less. Not to win, accomplish, or conquer, but to have joy. You have taught us that true joy grows when it is rooted in wisdom. In the book of Proverbs you showed us that as honey is sweet to the taste, so likewise is wisdom sweet to the soul, and that wisdom helps us release the past, accept the gift of the present, and have hope for the future... We give you thanks for the work of Ren and Sharon, for the wisdom they have compiled in this book to share with the world. May it plant good seed in all who read it, may it reach those who need it most, and may it in some small way help bring heaven alive now here on earth. Through Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.”
After, with Ren’s wife, Dr. Cedar Barstow, emcee-ing, first Sharon tells how the book came to be—she was the catalyst—and reads the first short essay, or “wizzie,” “The Wisdom of Beginning.” Then a St. John’s parishioner, Laura Ferenc, who has read two-thirds of the book tells those present how much she likes what she has read and recommends it to them. Finally, Ren explains to the audience that wisdom, the word, isn’t really from “wise” plus “dumb” but comes from the Latin visio, seeing what is there, and the Old English dom, meaning judgment. So, wisdom as a word means making decisions based on seeing the real state of affairs and the potential impact of saying or doing a better or worse thing. He then tells a few wisdom stories.
The formal program having ended, Ren and Sharon sit at the “book table,” where they sign books, while those present eat cheese and crackers, drink wine or non-alcoholic sparkling juice, and socialize.
WISDOM FOR LIVING is now officially launched!