Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)
I just finished reading the book you see here, The Council of Dads, and would definitely recommend it. Overall it was a moving, and compelling story written by an author who found out he had very aggressive bone cancer—and mostly all he could think of was his twin 3-year-old girls, and that they might be without a daddy.
Bruce Feiler wrote the book (perhaps it’s books, actually) Walking The Bible, where he literally walks through the places where the events of the Bible take place. He did several “walking” books, so it was ironic (sadly ironic) that he was stricken with bone cancer in his left leg.
He dubbed the subsequent chemotherapy and surgery and rehabilitation “The Lost Year” (for obvious reasons) and chronicled it in this book. The title comes from an idea he had early on to provide a “Dad” for his daughters, should he not survive the disease. It was a pretty interesting idea, with amazing results. Made me wonder whom my “council of Dads” would be if similar circumstances were thrust upon me. It ended up being a revealing look at relationships, what matters most in life, and how we are shaped by everyone around us—some we have special connections to, and have a special impact on us.
In one of his last chapters—in a letter he wrote to friends and family—he explained that one of the most important lessons he’d learned through the “Lost Year” was, “Don’t be in a hurry. Slow down.”
That’s a lesson I’ve learned along the way, but it seems I can never get enough reminders to put it into practice.
Feiler said that in the 1840s, when walking was just becoming a source of recreation, the French would take their pets for a walk to help them set a good pace: their pet turtles! How great is that? Then, as they went at their turtle’s pace, they could interact much more with the surroundings.
We modern Americans (and probably many other cultures) definitely tend to miss the journey. We all are aiming so hard for our destinations, and keeping our schedules that we miss the people and the “little things” along the way.
I love to walk, too. Most for that reason, I think. When you walk, you see and experience so much more. The slowing down allows you to share stories with the people walking with you. It just allows time to live.
There is much to do in life. And sometimes you can’t slow down. But I’d say a lot of what we think we need to do can wait. And should wait. It should wait so we can live life as it’s meant to be lived, and experience and enjoy the important things. Bruce Feiler learned that by means of a horrible disease and the equally awful treatment. But I think from what he’s written in his book, he’d prefer we learn without the pain. That we’d slow down not because we were forced to by illness, but because we choose to not miss any moments of this life God has given us.
It’s a good book. Read it if you get a chance. But even better, make sure you’re slowing down enough to live life today.
Maybe buy a pet turtle. 🙂