I've gone bowling so many times lately it's starting to become a ritual. Every time I turn around, my brother is asking me to go bowling. This past weekend was no different.
We had a nice group show up for bowling and had some fun competition. Sean brought one of his friends and a few of mine even showed up. We were all having a blast and kept cheering each other on, even though everyone wants to win.
It was in the middle of the first game when a woman approached me and asked if I was from The Wayne Independent. I find it neat that people can stop me on the street and pick me out, all because they read my column and recognize me.
Usually it's a compliment like, "Hey nice column," or, "I like your writing." I was actually expecting a similar scenario. I certainly wasn't prepared for what happened next.
This nice woman was telling me how she reads my column and how she likes it, which of course, easily made me smile. Then she went on to say how she really likes the ones where I write about autism and different things related to that. Turns out, I met a mother who has an autistic son and she was telling me how my column has been an encouragement to her family.
I was so moved and I almost started crying. I know people read my column and I've heard different things related to it, but I hadn't realized that I was actually touching someone else's life like that.
As we were talking she said something to me that I also believe. It's not always easy to find people who can relate to the same thing you are going through. Usually you get lucky with something like that when you meet someone who knows another with the same disability or condition. It most often happens when you are at a support group meeting, attending an event for a cause supporting that mental issue or what have you.
The fact that my own writing has given someone encouragement is the biggest compliment I could receive. That chance meeting and conversation also gave me insight into what I can get back from my own column.
If you're a writer and you just do your thing, not knowing if anybody really reads it or even cares about the topic, when you meet someone who says "You helped me," it's your own encouragement that your writing isn't worthless.
Waters is a staff writer for The Wayne Independent and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.