“Life goes fast,” Lee Kravitz observes in Unfinished Business: “Click. You are fifteen. Click, click. You are fifty-five. Click, click. You are gone. And so are the people who loved and nurtured you.” Realizing these truths all too clearly when he finds himself out of a job in his mid-fifties and suddenly adrift, Kravitz decides to take a year out of an otherwise workaholic existence and attend to the real currency of life—human relationships.
“All of us have unfinished business,” he writes. “It can be a friend we lost touch with or a mentor we never thanked; it can be a call we meant to make or a pledge we failed to honor. It can be a goal we lost sight of or a spiritual quest we put on hold.” When he makes his conscience-clearing “to do” list, it is long and complicated, and he is uncertain how his long-overdue overtures will be received; among the fractured relationships are a beloved aunt he has neglected for 15 years, a traveling buddy he borrowed $600 from and never paid back and a bereaved friend he never consoled. His inspiring journey of re-connection and redemption takes us to far-flung places—a refugee camp in Kenya, a monastery in California, a bar in Cleveland—and introduces us to a host of kind and kindred spirits from whom he gains strength, insight and encouragement.
In turn, Kravitz encourages us to act, to keep moving forward toward “true human connectedness” despite the demands and pressures of modern life. “The hurdles we face in tackling our unfinished business can seem impossibly high, but the first step in clearing them is usually quite simple: Write an email, or make a phone call. You can never tell when the weight you’ve been shouldering will slip away, leaving you a more complete and loving person.”