Readers write: Enjoying home, recycling programs, and resilience in Flint

Letters to the editor for the Feb. 18, 2019 weekly magazine.

Christa Case Bryant/The Christian Science Monitor
On Pine Tree Waste's daily recycling run in Sanford, Maine, Dillon Pomerleau tags a curbside recycling bin or noncompliance with the city's recycling rules in Dec. 2018.

Enjoying home

I’ve read Robert Klose’s 2005 Home Forum essay “Life in a crooked house: Who needs straight lines?” at least 20 times since finding it on CSMonitor.com. I swear I’m less anxious. 

I was on the brink of buyer’s remorse, having bought a 120-year-old house in August. It seemed stable at first, but as a live load became a presence in the house, everything became crooked. I sleep crooked, watch TV crooked, and that rolling chair I once used to sit at my desk – forget it; it’s in the basement. 

You perfectly described me in your second paragraph when you wrote “Like a new father listening for his sleeping child’s exhalations, I sat up whenever I heard something out of the ordinary.” I woke every morning thinking about the house before my eyes even opened. I would sit up and make sure the house was still standing. Visitors would tell me I was overreacting, that it wasn’t so bad. “You don’t understand,” I would say. “Sleep over for a night.” I felt like no one understood, and then I found your article. 

Reading it, I laughed ... I cried ... I laughed. For the first time since living here, when I step on a floorboard and it creaks, I don’t stop and fixate on it; I just keep going. I no longer wake up in a panic. I’m actually starting to enjoy the house for the first time. 

I’m scared to ask if you are still living in your crooked house. I suppose I should just thank you, Mr. Klose. You are an amazing writer and hilarious. You’ve given me a gift that I so desperately needed.

Rachael Anderson

Haddam, Conn.

Recycling programs

The Jan. 28 Science article “Can you recycle responsibility?” was great. It’s timely and helpful. It makes me grateful for the program here in St. Louis Park, Minn., which is single-sort recycling and has organic commercial composting as well as collection for home items. Are recycling efforts at risk in the United States?

Bill Ward

St. Louis Park, Minn.

Resilience in Flint

The Jan. 28 article “In Flint, a future built on schools as well as safe water,” a story of progress and resilience, is inspiring. I volunteered in a summer education program (Heart in the City) in Flint, Mich., almost 50 years ago, and I am thankful that The Christian Science Monitor is keeping me informed about the good things happening there currently.

Paul O’Donnell

Providence, R.I.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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