I used to have this friend who thought the best way to open a conversation with someone he’d just met was to walk up to them and say, “So, do you believe in God?”
It wasn’t because he was a particularly religious man – he lived in L.A. and watched way too much of Dr. Gene Scott, but other than that, I think it was pretty much just honest curiosity and a firm desire to cut to the chase in everything that he did.
Well, I have pretty much decided that a really good day for me is if I find a reason to cry for beauty. I know that sounds fruity, but it feels really good, and I’m running about 7 days out of 10 where I can find something as beautiful as that bag that blows around in the wind in American Beauty to cry about. Often it’s a song on the radio or a passage in a book, but sometimes it’s just an item in the news, the way my daughter looks when she’s asleep, or the fact that every vining plant in my yard winds counter-clockwise around whatever it’s climbing on – there’s a beauty in it all that I find poignant, and I like it.
So in memory of Tom, I’m considering walking up to strangers and asking them, “So, when’s the last time that you’ve cried over the sheer beauty of it all?” and they’ll look at me like I’m crazy, but that’s OK. (I actually tried this on a guy in his mid-50’s who was a cattle rancher that I met in a bar at the Phoenix airport, and he definitely didn’t get it, but we still had a nice conversation about cattle.)