“I know what I feel when I see what I write” my high school writing mentor, Margaret Metzger taught. When I met Margaret at age 15, I couldn’t recognize a feeling if it slammed me in the face. Child of a raging alcoholic, I’d pretty much made a solemn vow not to have any feelings period. Good luck with that one honey.
Grateful to Margaret for starting me on this simple path of exploring the heart through writing, I decided to let her know forty years later. I still revered her, and we had stayed in touch over the years. At the time I had taken on a practice of writing one thank you note a day for 60 days. As preparation for this book, I would immerse myself in the daily practice of saying Thank you and see what emerged. I wrote Margaret the following letter.
I hope this finds you in thriving health.
Now please imagine that this is a long, hand written thank you note. . . Typed here only because I can’t read my own handwriting and don’t expect anyone else to.
Enclosed is a copy of Secrets of the 7th Day: Radical Renewal. It is my ecumenical take on the practice of Shabbat, something I’ve been doing most Friday nights for the past 25 years. I wrote it at the request of a dear (not Jewish) friend in Concord who said, “Sara, you have to teach me how to do Shabbat! There is no center in our family!” And thus I began, as if I were talking to this friend.
Now I have a publisher!
And as you’ll see in the acknowledgements in the enclosed manuscript, I thank you for that. I thought you’d like to know.
Thank you, dear Margaret for all the ways you inspired me and — no doubt –1,000s of other young writers from Brookline, MA. It took a few decades, but I think in my 50s, I am indeed finally claiming myself as a writer.
Please let me know how you are. I’d be thrilled to hear from you.
Love and Blessings,
Margaret wrote back with her characteristic gratitude for being in touch after all these years and her enthusiasm for the book.
“You deserve a great publisher Sara, because the book is a delight and inspiration. Can I buy two for my best friend and for my sister? I know they’ll want to do Shabbat the way I now want to.”
I did not know at the time that the Ovarian cancer that we all thought Margaret had beaten, had come back with a vengeance. She would be dead just 9 months later. Leaving her scores of beloveds reeling. I’m sorry of this seems abrupt, but its true. That’s what happened.
I am so grateful I got to tell her Margaret how much she meant to me while she was still alive on this planet. Now is always the right time to speak the truth about love. Don’t wait. None of us knows how much time we have left here. Take a risk, tell them you love them.