Day 34: Brien Crothers


Dear Brien,

A few days ago I made a social media post that referenced a famous author’s use of a bible verse and how she directed it toward a public official via mass media. It was a simple opinion (a positive one, I thought) expressing the intent of bible scripture as uplifting and encouraging good news rather than words to be used as accusatory and condemning.

Brien Crothers, grandpa, adventurer, all-round good man.

Brien Crothers, grandpa, adventurer, author, all-round good man.

It was worded carefully and thoughtfully, but to my surprise I’m concerned it made a few people think less of me. Intolerance and close-mindedness was the implication. Freedom of expression is such a slippery slope these days. And while I certainly do care, I suppose there’s less concern with others’ opinions these days than a genuine pursuit of truth.

Still, it took me to a time early this year when you wrote an email seeking clarification on a relatively deep blog post I’d written a day earlier. I’d addressed the critical need I see for personal filters and anchor points in these times when it’s so easy to get caught in the ebb and flow of mass media hysteria, alternate facts, even a world where “facts no longer exist.”

The thoughtful, kind and genuinely civilized manner in which you wrote was almost so much so that it caught me off guard. In a new era where name calling, ridicule and scorn  are the norm, your civility overwhelmed.

What is this? Well, this is what it looks like when you'v just completed the Marathon de Sables, a six-day, 156-mile ultra-marathon across the Sahara Desert. No big. Ha!

What is this? Well, this is what it looks like when you’ve just completed the Marathon de Sables, a six-day, 156-mile ultra-marathon across the Sahara Desert. No big. Ha!

I’ve reflected on your words almost every day since. Especially these (your response to my response on the general topic of dogmatic truth) … you wrote:

If others were to label our relationship, I think they would call us Facebook friends. (We missed being Camino friends by only a day.) However, I consider you and I to be friends, and I feel blessed to be able to have such a meaningful and open conversation with you, or anyone really, in this time of such division in our country. You and I may see God in different ways, but we see the evils at play in much the same manner. You bring clarity to the flotsam, the debris, wandering about in my head. The one good thing to come out of this disaster of an election is that clarity. I have never felt more at peace with my convictions or more clearly on where to hang my hat (what you call, “anchor points”).

You, sir, made my day that day. It is, indeed, so refreshing to engage these ideas as pilgrims on a long and winding path toward truth. A wise man shared with me only year or so ago, “The true pilgrim is always on the path. He never stops walking.”

I enjoy your writings, completely admire and stand in awe of your sense of adventure, and appreciate your authentic kindness. Also, I’m grateful for the clarity you’ve both sought, and found. Well done, sir.

But most of all, it is true. I consider you my friend. Thank you.

With admiration,

Steve Watkins




2 thoughts on “Day 34: Brien Crothers

  1. Steve,
    You are the best. Each morning of this new year I have started my day with a cup of chai and your note of the day. Today, sir, I am blown away! I meant every word in that conversation, and I reflect on it daily. I can’t tell you how many people I have told about you and your “anchors and filters.” We need those so desperately right now. Mine certainly keep me from being caught up in the quagmire of what is considered today’s political discourse.
    Too, another of my favorite authors recently wrote about finally getting beyond feeling bad about wanting recognition for her writing. I struggle with that desire too. I suppose we all need verification and confirmation that what we are doing is worthy. You have lifted me higher with today’s note.

    All my best,


    Liked by 1 person

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