Yesterday I plunged headfirst into Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky brothers, and spent the day immersed in this sci-fi story from deep in the Soviet Union.
The story is set in an alien visitation zone, full of hazards invisible to humans. Red, the main explorer, carries a pocketful of metal nuts and bolts, and throws them ahead to see if the air is clear.
Friends, for many of us this is a time of re-emergence. The world is not as hostile as an alien landing site, but like the town in this story, our familiar places are not quite the same as before. Small talk is awkward. Shoes are uncomfortable. Some of our favorite people and places are horribly absent.
Dear ones, let’s take a cue from Red’s technique, testing our steps as we go. Maybe we don’t need to rush back out to run endless errands, or attend every meeting, or hop on every plane. Maybe we don’t have to do all the things all the time.
Maybe this is a once in a lifetime chance, to choose anew.
To choose with care.
If you find yourself wanting to reflect on this past year, or to contemplate better times to come, we hope you might consider turning to Month of Sundays, which can be found at all of your favorite booksellers. One newly vaccinated friend recently mentioned that she’s bought a stack of books to gift as she begins to reconnect with loved ones who have been apart, as a way to say, “welcome back.”
Thank you to those who have supported this endeavor to date, where proceeds have allowed us to give more generously than usual to some of the most vital nonprofits around. We designed the book to be evergreen, and hope it will bring comfort and connection through times of ease and times of challenge alike.