There is an interesting story from “Stories for The Gathering” by William White that goes something like this…a scholar was traveling on his way to give an important lecture when the rain began to fall in torrents. When the rain stopped, the river quickly rose above the bridge and the scholar was unable to cross. He hired a carpenter who owned a rowboat to take him to the other side. As the carpenter prepared the boat the scholar asked, “Living this far from civilization, do you have access to a quality newspaper?” “I seldom read a newspaper at all,” replied the carpenter, “What news I get comes from the radio and TV.” “My dear man,” the scholar replied, “anyone who doesn’t read a daily newspaper is missing out on life.” As they boarded the boat, the scholar asked yet another question, “Well, you must have a library nearby where you can check out good books, don’t you?” The carpenter took the oars into his massive hands and began to row, “I haven’t read a book in years,” he replied. “My dear man,” the scholar retorted, “anyone who does not read is missing out on life.”
There was a long pause in the conversation as they crossed the raging water until the scholar asked one last question, “What about plays or symphonies, dramas or good music? Are you able to attend or enjoy any of these?” “As I’ve been trying to tell you,” the carpenter said with some irritation, “I wouldn’t mind going to plays and symphonies, but they are terribly expensive, and my carpentry business keeps me busy as I try to meet the needs of others…and to be honest, even though you might not agree…I do feel very much alive.” Just then the boat hit a stump and capsized sending both men into the raging water. The carpenter shouted to the scholar, “Sir, can you swim?” “No!” came the fear-filled shout of the scholar. “Well, then…” as he grabbed an oar and pushed it in front of the scholar, “here, have my creation and learn how to truly live.” And with that, the carpenter pulled the scholar back to safety.