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You know, what I do is write for children,
and I'm probably America's
most widely read children's author, in fact.
And I always tell people
that I don't want to show up looking like a scientist.
You can have me as a farmer, or in leathers,
and no one has ever chose farmer.
I'm here today to talk to you
about circles and epiphanies.
And you know, an epiphany
is usually something you find that you dropped someplace.
You've just got to go around the block
to see it as an epiphany.
That's a painting of a circle.
A friend of mine did that -- Richard Bollingbroke.
It's the kind of complicated circle
that I'm going to tell you about.
My circle began back in the '60s
in high school in Stow, Ohio
where I was the class queer.
I was the guy beaten up bloody
every week in the boys' room,
until one teacher saved my life.
She saved my life by letting me go to the bathroom
in the teachers' lounge.
She did it in secret.
She did it for three years.
And I had to get out of town.
I had a thumb, I had 85 dollars,
and I ended up in San Francisco, California --
met a lover --
and back in the '80s, found it necessary
to begin work on AIDS organizations.
About three or four years ago,
I got a phone call in the middle of the night
from that teacher, Mrs. Posten,
who said, "I need to see you.
I'm disappointed
that we never got to know each other as adults.
Could you please come to Ohio,
and please bring that man
that I know you have found by now.
And I should mention
that I have pancreatic cancer,
and I'd like you to please
be quick about this."
Well, the next day we were in Cleveland.
We took a look at her, we laughed, we cried,
and we knew that she needed to be in a hospice.
We found her one, we got her there,
and we took care of her
and watched over her family,
because it was necessary.
It's something we knew how to do.
And just as the woman who wanted to know me as an adult
got to know me,
she turned into a box of ashes
and was placed in my hands.
And what had happened
was the circle had closed,
it had become a circle --
and that epiphany I talked about
presented itself.
The epiphany is
that death is a part of life.
She saved my life;
I and my partner saved hers.
And you know, that part of life needs everything
that the rest of life does.
It needs truth and beauty,
and I'm so happy it's been mentioned so much here today.
It also needs --
it needs dignity,
love and pleasure,
and it's our job to hand those things out.
Thank you.
(Applause)
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【TED】Jok Church: A circle of caring (Jok Church: A circle of caring)

4186 Folder Collection
Sh, Gang (Aaron) published on July 18, 2016
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