I love people, especially those who can trick themselves into being joyful. Usually they just need the slightest ray of morning sunlight to nudge them along. Interrupt a board meeting with an infant or a puppy and everyone forgets how stiff their collars are.

A favorite way to invite joy into my and other people’s lives is for me to host gatherings around my dining table. They generally include some kind of a meal. It could even be leftovers. Always, there are the stimulating exchanges of ideas. While I clear the dishes and serve the tea, guests will often talk about the books I’ll never read. To my credit however, I did read The Master and Margarita at someone’s suggestion. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I reciprocated by introducing them to Victor Hugo. It’s the elegance of the people network that seems to excite me most. I love it.

With the carcasses of wine bottles still posturing on the coffee table, and everyone sated with cake, I ever so casually navigate the conversation around to The Serenity of Knowing. I do the same thing when I want to talk about my daughter. But I’m often embarrassed by the size of my pride. For to say “casually navigate” is to misrepresent the colors of the universe and just say that they glitter like a Las Vegas cascade of sequins and feathers.

But as some of you may remember, I had no foresight that The Serenity of Knowing would be so stunning. I bow my head to my blindness, for it was other people who opened my eyes to the beauty of this endeavor. I shall complete the writing, and complete the binding of the eight volumes. When the last of the glue has dried on the last cover, I will be as a parent on the first day of kindergarten, waving goodbye and snapping photographs through my tears. I’ll have every belief that people who are good friends, and other people from other networks whom I shall never meet, will take my bundle of joy out of my hands and show it to places I could never imagine. Who knows, maybe even to Las Vegas.

As published in the March 2012 issue of "St. Peter's Press," the monthly newsletter of St. Peter's Presbyterian Church in Spencertown, New York. At the time of publication, Phillip was still in the throes of the Apocrypha.