Archive for March, 2008

August Rush

august-rush.jpg  Watching this brillian movie for the second time.  One of my favorite lines:

Evan: “So, only some of us can hear it?”

Wizard: “Only some of us are listening…”

Isn’t that one of the truest things ever to be spoken in the English language?  Not just about the music … but about life in general.  Another great line: Lewis begs his brother, “Hit me!  Hit me!  I’m suffocating in here…”

How many times in my life do I just need to be hit so hard I can think again?  Probably a lot more than I want to admit.

Thanks to the friend (Paul) who first turned us on to this movie … it’s one of my favorites of all time, bro.  So many echoes in my own life … may the music never really end for any of us.

One more line:  Wizard, “What do you want most in life?”  Evan: “To be found…”

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Cruising the Ocean

ocean1.jpg   Got a call from my almost eighty year old dad today.  He’s down in Florida, suffering with my cousins from Ft. Meyers.  He was out on their boat, enjoying the beautiful 80 degree day.  Here in Michigan, it topped out at about 43 degrees, which was enough to take the kids and their friends outside most of the afternoon, shooting hoop and just hanging out enjoying the rare sunshine.

Dad’s funny.  He’s really loved calling me this trip, letting me know of the beautiful weather, the amazing beaches, and the fun he’s having.  It makes me smile.  Yeah, a little envious.  But overall, I rejoice that this man who, if he were like many of his contemporaries, should be enjoying his days in a nursing home, wrapped in a quilt, waiting for death. 

Instead, he’s cruising the country, visiting family and squeezing out every last bit of adventure that life holds.  I want to be that way.  I want to experience it all, you know? 

But right now, I’m kind of in a funk.  A little scared to blog some of my true feelings and struggles, because I’m getting hit with a lot of frustration and/or indifference from some people in my life.  Plus, preparing my heart for the move of dear friends, whose going away party last night kind of brought it all into the realm of reality.  And, although their family are “lifers” for us, it’s still gonna be a time of adjustment.  I’ve kind of set up guard around my heart in the situation.  I know my “emotional” time will come, but not yet. 

How does all this tie together?  While I’d never live in Florida (should say, I have no desire to do so), I do love the ocean.  The power, the rhythm, the smells and just the spirit that sits on the waves are magical to me.  When I was talking to my dad, dealing with all the emotion of the last week, I wished — I tried to will — my spirit to be sitting beach side, just being.  I’d close my eyes, and try to hear the waves, feel the power of the water … to no avail. 

Oh well, the sunshine in Michigan was nice today, anyway.

Give a Damn

flag.jpg  If you’re curious about what’s going on in Tibet (and you should be) begin at this site:

                                                  http://www.tibet.org/

This shouldn’t be happening in our generation with the approval (or rather, the looking aside) of our government.  Then, do something, and go sign this petition:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/tibet_end_the_violence/98.php/?cl_tf_sign=1

No wonder we’re so screwed up …

180px-smiley_svg.png  This is just too funny …

Report: 32% Of Prayers Deflected Off Passing Satellites

March 19, 2008 | Issue 44•12

HOUSTON—According to an official NASA report released Saturday, nearly 32 percent of all prayers exiting Earth are deflected off satellites orbiting the planet—ultimately preventing the discharged requests for divine intervention from ever making it to the Gates of Heaven. “After impact with the satellite, these diverted prayers typically plummet back into the atmosphere, where they either burn up or eventually land, unanswered, in a body of water,” the report read in part. “Of the remaining prayers, research confirms 64 percent fail to make it past the stratosphere because they aren’t prayed hard enough, 94 percent of those with enough momentum are swallowed by a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and 43 percent are eaten by birds.” The report concluded that, of the 170 billion prayers issued last month, one made it to God, whose reply was intercepted by a hurricane and incorrectly delivered to a Nigerian man who reportedly did not know what to do with his brand-new Bowflex machine. 

–The Onion

 http://www.theonion.com/content/index

 

My Class

I teach a class to 35 young, very churched jr. and sr. high kids every couple of weeks.  We’re studying this book that talks about the serious issues “organized religion” has, and how we’ve totally missed the boat when it comes to taking care of people, how we see other people, etc. 

I get excited about this class, because even though it’s a pretty “traditional” setting, I get to spur anarchy and raise questions that most of theses kids’ parents won’t even ask themselves.  And they love it!  Not because I’m such a great teacher, or that we laugh a lot (which we do, because I don’t take myself too seriously), but because they know I will not judge them.  That I look at them for the amazing people they are becoming, without expectations or disappointments.  Even the kids I know are “lost” in this class (because their parents haven’t really taught them or allowed them to think for themselves), I can love unconditionally. 

This week reasserted the need for things like my class in my own life.  At the church, the one that is suppose to be the beacon of “what Jesus said” (when most of the people there are clueless — or think they know, and won’t go any further), I got slammed.  Some parents are concerned that I’m unfit to teach their children because they came across some of my struggling in my old blog.  And they do it so pussily — going to someone else to “take care of me,” thinking I don’t know who they are. 

I know who they are.  And part of me simply wants to get pissed and tell them off publicly.  Weird, but they claim to believe the Bible as the inerrant word of God, but won’t follow it, and purposely go against what it says.  Yet me, who is still trying to figure out what I believe, am expected to abide by the “rule” they blatently spit in the face of.

Good God — is it any surprise that the “church” is dying and has been neutered 0f most of the real influence it could have?  And I know the “church” isn’t God.  But I for one believe the “church” doesn’t even know who God is.  I believe it’s traded its soul to sleep with whatever the ruling party is at the time.  And it shows itself to be that whore over and over and over again. 

Sometimes, I feel dirty just being associated with it.  Honestly. 

But I still struggle to fine a balance.  To be true to the “divine” as I understand it.  To be an agent of love (even to those who sit their trying to impose their pseudo-religion on me and my family), to just live each moment in its fullness. 

It’s so simply, but people just don’t get it.  My husband told me the other day he just doesn’t question things like me.  The book I’m reading echoed my thoughts:  Most people don’t question anything, or if they do, it’s only to the level of their own comfort.  We’re so lost in the day-to-day that we can’t even breath anymore.  We forsake friendships, love, and creating beauty to just survive. It’s crap — all of it. 

My “new” religion is people — relationships.  My kids, my friends … strangers who need scandalous grace.  I told a friend this week I was the person to be “used and abused.”  I’ve had so much practice — why ruin a good thing?  People can think I’m “stupid” or whatever all they want.  I know who I am — screw them.

If God is who — what — I know and see, I think I move closer to that divine spark whenever I honor the people around me.  They can have their religious belief.  I would much rather live a life of reverence, learning, loving, knowing, breathing, and just being. 

That’s what I want to teach my class.  That most of it’s bull.  What counts is what calls to the heart.  ‘nough said.

Missing Mom

clover2_rotate_md_wht.gif  Today has been a heart-wrencher, and it’s only 10:00 am.  Not sure why this aching strikes me so indiscriminately.  I guess it was walking through the store today, seeing the shamrock plants on display. 

Every spring, my mom would buy our family one.  Funny, I loved them, but they were never a big deal in my heart.  I don’t think Mom knew that … we’d all pass them around, smelling and smiling, and I’d watch her face light up when she’d talk to the children about the myth surrounding the plant.  “It’s the first sign of spring, ” she’d remind me yearly. 

I’d agree, but be lost in the thoughts of the thousands of things I needed to do. 

But now that she’s gone, I dearly miss those times.  I miss her thoughtfulness.  My husband (who needs an imaginary name in this blog world, so we’ll call him Dakota) is so good about remembering the millions of little things my Mom did … small thoughtfulness-es that no one else does in my life now.  Things I should have held closely and dearly, and I simply took for granted.

I think the thing that kills me the most is I see so vividly her face — her smile — still in my mind.  And the fact that, the last time I went to see her (not knowing it would be the last time), I didn’t bring the kids so that I could spend more time with her.  But she was so disappointed.  She didn’t say it … but she was like me, easy to read the body language and the eyes.

She loved Easter.  Sure, we were good church people, and tossed around the “real” meaning of the season.  But Mom loved the frills … she always bought the kids new clothes when they were little — things we couldn’t afford, but loved on them.  She always made huge Easter baskets for them, usually stuffed with enough candy to last until Halloween.  The meals … for us, Easter was a “huge” work day, and I really didn’t like it, because we could never do family stuff.  But Mom always came through … amazing meals and warm laughter and Easter egg hunts my kids still talk about.

I remember the last Easter she was here.  I did the dinner, because at that point, she couldn’t (although she still brought my husband’s favorite deviled eggs — which Ive yet to learn to duplicate).  It was unusually warm for April that day, and she sat on the back deck, smiling and watching at the children (really too big for egg hunts, but that doesn’t matter at my home) run and search and scream and squeal.   Often, Dakota has said, “That’s one of the happiest I’d seen your Mom in a long time.”  He was right.  

I often think of her on that day … sitting in her beautiful coral suit, leaning on her cane, just living the moment so vividly — something my Mom didn’t do very often, because she was a worrier.  I’m pretty sure she knew her time was coming, because those last few events we had she treasured like none before.  And I am thankful that I have those last few pictures of her in my head and my heart.

OK, I’ve got myself involved in a cathartic cry now.  Wasn’t the intent, but it does somehow feel a little better. 

These times help me learn to live moments.   Understanding the concept of the immediate, not shrouded in all the religious anticipation that “the best is yet to come,” I’m learning how important each and every breath is.  Each random act of friendship; each step away from the controlling and conquering mindset.  Each step brings me closer to actually, truly learning to live.  It’s tough to blanket yourself in anger and frustration when you are desperately grasping each moment to squeeze every bit of life out of it. 

That’s what I want.  When I lay on my deathbed, looking into the eyes of my children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, I want them to have a lifetime full of moments they lived with me.  Treasures, special — full of shamrocks and smiles and Easter egg hunts and all those things that make this existence “heaven.” 

Thanks, Mom, for the lessons you continue to teach me.  Thanks.

Imponderables

felix.jpg   I wonder if former President Clinton ever heard of French President Felix Faure?  If you haven’t, check out this macabre — but interesting — site:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unusual_deaths

OK, it’s weird, but I have a little death fixation on some days … and an eye for a good source of a good work of fiction… imagine, making Tycho Brahe the protagonist of a “whodunit” story.