If you are not one of the millions of people who listen to This American Life, you are seriously missing out on some of the best journalism and talk radio that ever was. It’s now on cable as well, but I am in love with the podcast. I get lost in the stories on long bus rides, the subway when my eyes are tired of reading, on the radio in the kitchen while I cook… I may even have a little groupie crush on Ira Glass, now possibly more famous than his composer cousin, Philip Glass. (Truth be told: I am a media fad follower, so this isn’t the most original suggestion. I recognize that I am not unearthing some little-known underground channel, so in all likelihood, you’ve heard or seen T.A.L. at some point. Disclaimer #2: I can’t stand Prairie Home Companion, so it’s not as if talk radio is hands-down my thing.)
To the point: I was listening to an episode at work, which was actually first aired years ago as I found out when I looked it up, and it made my eyes mist over so much that I had to pause and smile and breathe before I continued working. The episode is called Unconditional Love, and the piece I’m talking about is Act One: Love is a Battlefield.
Maybe this made me all mushy because there is familiarity with my own family history, but it was one of the most uplifting human stories I’ve heard in a long time. Not uplifting in a Lassie-came-home kind of way, but in the kind of way that makes your heart suddenly explode for a real person triumphing over some agonizingly human hardship that, to a slightly less brave person, seems insurmountable.
When you’re at work and you are doing something profoundly boring and feeling generally mediocre, give it a listen.