Look up and deep within to arrive home

Driving home after an evening of teaching, I often listen to the radio. Last night I caught a rebroadcast on KQED of a City Arts and Lectures talk by Anne Lamott, who’s got a new novel.

I’m not quite sure what it is that makes Anne Lamott such a funny storyteller. Maybe it’s that she puts her foibles and humanness right out there for us to see, with her life as a big mirror of compassion.

Plus she notices quirky ordinary everyday things and tells us about them, mentioning them as if in passing, like the bumpersticker she saw that read: “Only one-sixth-billionth of this is about you.” Isn’t that great and true?! (Really it’s more like 1/6,800,000,00.) Her timing always puts a perfect point on the story she’s telling and a peek at the insights beneath it.

Just as I reached the Octavia Street freeway entrance, she said something that struck me as a fellow traveler: That it’s necessary along the way both to look up and deep within. When we look up, we get perspective. When we look within, we get perspective. Both are needed for finding our way home.

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