What a night shared by all as I had the chance to have passionate heartfelt one on ones with friends new and old at the ROOM FOR GRACE reading at Books On The Square. To Jennifer and the caring and dedicated staff thank you for supporting local authors!
At the event I met a man named Larry Bradner. Larry graduated from Classical High School in 1952, 52 years before those of us who graduated in 2004. After Yale, Larry served our country during peacetime, stationed in Arizona from 1956-1958. Larry has lived an exemplary life as a husband, father, writer and as an active member of the Episcopal clergy at St. Martin's Episcopal Church and at many, many hospitals. Larry sat first row for the Room For Grace author event at Books on the Square. I was able to look out on many faces I recognized, comforted by our congregation, but Larry's was a face I did not recognize. So, unexpectedly, I stopped our discussion and said, "I'm sorry, I don't recognize you, can you tell me how you came to be here tonight." Larry is the father-in-law to Kris Bradner, an integral member of making Maureen's Garden at Vartan Gregorian Elementary School at Fox Point a reality. I can only say what motivated me to stop mid-event and talk directly with Larry was a touch of GRACE. Today, I met Larry for an hour and shared a meal and heard many of his exquisite stories. At 84 years old, Larry remains hopeful, open, loving and charismatic. He has an extraordinary wit that seems second only to his memory and recall. He's got a heck of an ability to tell a story, so it's no surprise he's written a few books himself, about his work at Bellevue Hospital and about the Plum Beach Lighthouse. Last week I was depressed, truly. Unsure how to let go of my book, racked with doubt, afraid to face the events approaching. But this I why I love what I do. ROOM FOR GRACE gives me the opportunity to make deep and meaningful connections. For much of our conversation this morning, my eyes welled with tears. Larry, no stranger to depression himself, has faced many hardships through his life, but continues to love life and has many outlets to fill and motivate his soul. (His brother Bill passed away from a degenerative brain disorder when Larry was only 42; Larry now also visits his wife Marsha who is in a nursing home.) Larry embodies and reminds me what I love, and what I miss, about Rhode Island- the passion for one's community and the ability to strengthen that community. Today I am full of hope. Today I stand proud - the book is published! It will be an honor and a privilege to continue to share the stories of my parents and ROOM FOR GRACE with you, and with new friends like Larry. There are so many more stories and so many more moments that I look forward to on this journey. In sharing myself, and giving that gift, I hope I'm able to interact with more who follow in Larry's light, and but for a moment reach deep beyond the surface together for unbelievable connections and surprises. l hold these precious connections so dearly. Cheers Larry, to your generous life well lived and your beautiful heart wide open, I’m now more open because of you and this moment, this journey, this change.