One of the first blogs I ever wrote was titled, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” The author of this great quote was a man named Nelson Henderson. Last Friday, Nelson Henderson’s grandson, Jason Henderson, contacted me through WordPress. He had been online looking for information about the famous quote and found my blog by chance. It turns out that his grandfather was a farmer in Manitoba, Canada and his son, Jason’s father, wrote a book about growing up on the farm and that’s where the quote got started towards its famous destiny.
The part I found even more amazing is how much my life experience runs parallel to the Henderson family. My grandfather, Guy McClintick, sounds a lot like Nelson Henderson; practical, hard-working, generous and productive. These are men from a different era when the days just weren’t long enough to do all that needed to be done and to leave the world better than they found it. They planted trees so we could have shade. They worked hard so we could have it easy. They shared their wisdom so we could learn from their mistakes. They left legacies that serve as inspiration to many. Nelson Henderson even left a quote that brought two strangers together a hundred years later.
Now I think I know what Hemingway was talking about. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can and this post, http://grhgraph.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/the-true-meaning-of-life-is-to-plant-trees-under-whose-shade-you-do-not-expect-to-sit-nelson-henderson/ was one of those times. Maybe words are like trees, we plant them now and future generations harvest them. I’m here each day trying to communicate thoughts that might make a difference for someone a hundred years from now. That is an incredible revelation for me. I can’t begin to explain how happy I was to hear from Jason Henderson. He could have just moved on with his life but instead he took the time to share his joy with me.
If I had one wish for my writing career it would be that. If something I wrote helped you find new meaning in your life, I would like to share that with you. You might even surprise yourself and write better than you thought you could. Communication only happens when two people make it happen and lord knows we need all the communication we can get right now. If it happens that you live somewhere close to Kansas City, I would even be willing to meet up under some big shade tree and have a real conversation about what really matters. Sometimes I have good luck and I talk better than I can.
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