Tuesday, 24 August 2010

“the memoirs of a beautiful boy”

Having recently overdosed on history and biography I reached for a book entitled “the memoirs of a beautiful boy” ( Robert Leleux, St. Martin’s Press, 2007) in my most recent visit to Sarasota’s Selby Library. The book is a memoir about growing up gay in an isolated town in Texas during the 1980’s.

It’s a slender book, one which I was able to read in two afternoons.

The dust jacket reviews indicated that the book might induce hearty laughter, but at the most it made me smile.  

Despite the hyperbole of the dust jacket I found the book to be a tender memoir with sweet, poignant, sad, and funny parts.  I enjoyed reading it. 

In one passage Jessica, a truth telling friend of the author says this: “Honey pie, life is not a layaway plan”.

She is so right.  Life is never about what may happen next week, or next year.  Life is what is happening right now, and the ways in which we respond to “today”. 

More importantly, life is not about postponing happiness: an ever present temptation for busy and caring parents, and also for those whose lives are so dedicated to advancement in a career that they miss the pleasures of today.

Back in 1991 I listened to a sermon at St. Luke’s on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia, a sermon which I have never forgotten.  (I think that the preacher’s name was Palmer Temple).

He related the story of a married couple, (both school teachers), with two or more children. Every summer this couple would take their children on fabulous and extended trips. When the children were younger the trips took them to every corner of the United States.  When they became teenagers the trips were to Europe.

Some person suggested to the parents that the trips were far too expensive, and that Mom and Dad would be better advised to invest their spare cash in a retirement fund.

The parents responded thus:  “We have decided to invest in the bank of memories”. 

That’s the wisdom of Jessica, and it is also the truth taught in the bible in Proverbs 27 v 1: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth”.

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