By Elizabeth Usovicz, Public Image Coordinator for Zone 31
English was not my father’s first language. And like a lot of second language learners, he was an avid reader. He especially liked Conrad and Melville and read their bodies of work not once but several times during his life. As a young man, it was not uncommon for him to drop my mother off at her home after a date and head for a neighborhood diner, book in hand, to read and drink coffee until the night waitress closed up and shooed him home.
Later in life, he added Louis L’Amour westerns to his list of favorites. One of the simple and great pleasures of his day was to settle into a comfortable chair in the evening to revisit a favorite read for a second or third time – or more.
Why did he prefer to re-read, rather than switch to something new? I asked him once. His answer, like him, was straightforward but not necessarily simple: it was a good book the last time, and he got something new from a book every time he read it.
Lately it’s occurred to me that my father got something new out of old favorites in part because his insights changed with his life experience. The books weren’t different but what he brought to them each time was.
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”
— Louis L’Amour
As we enter a new Rotary year, I’ve been thinking about what we each bring to our Rotary leadership experience, both individually as Rotarians and collectively in our clubs, districts, and zones. Beginning a new year brings with it an opportunity for all of us to take a “new read” on Rotary.
Are we truly bringing new perspectives to Service Above Self? Or are we operating from perspectives we’ve always held?
As Louis L’Amour wrote, “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”
Maybe it’s time for a re-read on our engagement in Rotary. To gain something new from being a Rotarian by bringing something new to our leadership roles. And like my father reading in the neighborhood diner, we can change our perspectives and open ourselves up to a whole new world of inspiration.