I often start my Monday mornings sitting in my office sipping my coffee, looking out over the bay and across the deep blue waters of the Pacific. I eagerly click my mouse, hoping my friend from across the waves has found the time to write another column. I am always amazed that he somehow finds the time in a schedule filled with chasing after four young kids, running an eye clinic, opening a new school, playing soccer and all the other incredible things this guy fills his week with. Where does he find the time? But thank God he does. His email arrives and my week is now transformed. I immediately forward it to my sociology students at the University of Guam. I ask them to read it and to come prepared to discuss it in class. The issues are so local, yet so universal. The ideas cut to the core of our collective mindset, and make us laugh, cry and sigh. We often carry them into our conversations and our lives.

I first met Dr. David Khorram when my wife and I moved to Guam a decade ago. I was fresh out of graduate school and full of excitement and wonder. Earning my doctorate in sociology from McGill University in frigid Montreal, Guam appeared to be the farthest point on the globe. Deep in my soul I wanted to live a life that counted; to make a difference in whatever way I could. And so my life began on these beautiful islands teaching at a university filled with students who shared my excitement. David moved to the Pacific some years before I did. He lived and worked in Samoa where he met his wife, Mara. They moved to Saipan in the 1990’s and opened an eye clinic by the beach. Soon David was well known among the people, and he found time to travel in the region for work and service. I met him while on one of his visits to our island and we immediately became fast friends.

Since that first day I met David, I have grown to respect and admire him greatly. Through his humor and insight, people’s minds and spirits are transformed. The columns that he has selected for inclusion in this book are as diverse as the coral reefs that surround us. Flipping through them I am drawn again to the story of how David brought sight to a man who had battled cataracts for years. As David completes the surgery and moves the operating microscope, the man screams, “I can see, I can see.” Being an eye surgeon, David tells us that he sometimes forgets how meaningful his job is: “It’s nice to feel the sweetness of someone else’s joy once in a while – to become aware of the miracles that take place every day around us, sometimes close, sometimes far. And to remember the things that we take for granted, like sight, can be so dearly missed by others and so deeply cherished.”

It is thoughts and stories like this that David shares through his column that find common ground among all. He reminds us that our most valuable resource – the one that will ensure our survival as we venture into the increasingly rough waters of the future – is our own people. He reminds us of the Book of Proverbs, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” He proposes that we envision a future for our community and our children where creativity, service, character and global understanding become the foundation upon which we build our homes, our schools and our economic, political and personal relationships. He opens our minds to the possibility that “true prosperity means awakening the possibilities of the spiritual and material well-being of all our islands’ inhabitants, without distinction…”

His words often act as a loving guide helping us to understand some profound life lesson. But he will readily admit that it is often the goofy and humorous thoughts that sometimes get the most enthusiastic response. I am reminded of his account of a phone conversation with a woman who did not speak English very well. He called to invite a friend to dinner and the woman answered the phone. David captures the humor and the frustration of diverse people coming in touch with one another. The multilingual misunderstandings that the phone call sets in motion lead ultimately to the blind wife in the book’s title.

This book does wonders to lift the soul rather than burden it. It helps the reader focus on the good, the positive in everything. The analogy of the mirror helps us understand the value of this approach. The human soul is likened to a mirror – if it is turned to the sun it will reflect the light and heat of that sun. But if it is turned toward the dirt, the squabbles, the decadency and dark side of human reality, it will reflect that same darkness. This book is refreshing because its ideas lift us up and allows us, even in times of great distress and hardship, to focus on the light that shines upon the dirt.

During one of David’s recent visits to Guam, I was thrilled to hear that he had decided to publish this book. I told him that I could now finally use something even more thought provoking and relevant in my Introduction to Sociology class. I teach two large sections of this class each semester, and in recent years I decided that I wanted to give the students an opportunity to read and reflect on something meaningful and not necessarily a sociology text. After much consideration I chose Tuesdays with Morrie, a life-changing book my students love. Yet now I will replace it with World Peace, a Blind Wife and Gecko Tails. I am convinced it will offer my students an even greater opportunity to reflect on their own lives, their communities, and the world their children will inherit.

Kirk Johnson, Ph.D.
Mangilao, Guam
August, 2007

What's the Book About? (The Back Cover)
Acclaim for the Book

Introduction - David Khorram, MD

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