This past weekend my husband and I attended the Tucson Festival of Books. It was like being dropped in a vat of warm milk chocolate. I sat in classrooms on the University of Arizona campus and digested wisdom, humor, and motivation from authors on the New York Times Best-seller lists.
A large number of authors had written on political topics. Since my primary research has always been women and families, I especially enjoyed Nina Burleigh’s book, “Golden Handcuffs: The Women Who Shaped Donald Trump.”
The spectrum of topics in other books included democracy, the constitution, immigration, civility, and the future of our nation.
Debut non-fiction, “Maid,” by Stephanie Land, was written by a single mom who found employment with a house-cleaning service. It might be a fun read for a book club. It was a memoir about poverty, parenthood, and picking up after the wealthy.
The campus was large, with a lot of required walking to find the various classrooms. While searching for the multiple buildings, my eyes wandered several times to a vendor tent titled, Ben’s Bells Project. My schedule didn’t allow time to stop.
As we were leaving after the final event and the tents were coming down, I again noticed Ben’s Bells Project. I took the time to visit. I learned it was a non-profit founded by a mother after the death of her three-year-old son, Ben. She was naturally overcome with grief and attributed her ability to survive by the kindness of friends and strangers. The mission of Ben’s Bells was spreading kindness.
What caught my eye was the wind-chimes lining the tent walls. They were made with ceramic shapes, glazed with shiny bright colors of red, blue, yellow, orange, green and purple, all stamped with the message, be kind. The chimes, strung with handmade beads and buttons, were whimsical. Below the ceramic medallion hung a small copper bell.
Volunteers created, painted, and assembled the colorful clay with black cord. Weekly, volunteers, hung Ben’s Bells in public locations around Tucson for people to find. On every chime was a note: “You have found a Ben’s Bell. Take it home, hang it and remember to spread kindness throughout our world. Kindness is the light that dissolves all walls between souls, families, and nations.” Paramahansa Yogananda www.bensbells.org
Making one last stop at Ben’s Bells tent was the perfect closing chapter to the book festival. After two days of mental saturation from the finest minds speaking about our divided communities and families, the simplest solution was handed me in the form of a red flower, cut from clay using a cookie cutter, with the message, be kind.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
Powered by WPeMatico