Archive for May, 2008

Breathless

Just came across this amazing website: 

http://photooftheday.hughcrawford.com/

Here, you will find the polaroid photographs of Jamie Livingston.  He was a filmmaker, and beginning in March of 1979, he took a polaroid photo of his life and those people and things around him.  He documented the small, insignificant things — and the major things.  I was facinated, because this type of website brings out the voyeur in all of us, I think.

I started looking at the pictures, one by one.  Then, I started looking up significant dates in my life.  Like, July 25, 1987 — the day B. and I got married.  That day, Jamie was traveling (as signified by a female friend, standing in the United Airlines line of an airport).  Or January 30, 1987 — the day I turned 23, he must have been sick, as shown by a bottle of erythromycin.  The day my son Wes was born, Jamie took a picture of a woman by an apartment intercom system, and when my Kara was born, there’s a picture of an African American man and his cat.  When E. was born, he photographed a man by a “Guess Jean” street ad (New York City, maybe?).

But there’s no photo for when the little one was born.  Jamie Livingston died of cancer on October 25 or 26, 1997.  The last month of his life, he proposed, got married, and spent precious hours with loved ones and friends in his hospital room — all chronicled by his photographs.

Imagine … eighteen years of a person’s life, day by day, photo by photo.  The pictures left me breathless, not because they were amazing … but they brought back memories of my own life journey.  They brought to vivid realization that there are billions of people walking side by side through this thing we call life.  People I will never know, yet have the same aspirations I do.  People as important as the President, as insignificant as me.  All living, day to day.  Each day, thousands of journeys end — and thousands of new ones begin.

Jamie was smart.  He gave a lasting legacy to us who never had an opportunity to meet him.  Something deep and moving, which will rest within my heart for a long time — if not forever.  And although it’s probable he never intended such a thing, it still happened. 

I sit here breathless.  Moved by a man I never knew.  And greatful for the reminder of how precious each and every day is.

Advertisements

Overwhemling

Just received a link from dear friends Tim and Suzanna, and a picture of a beautiful, amazing little boy named Zeke.  Ezekiel joins sisters Esther and Eden in making this family a little bigger — a little more for all of us to love!

When I saw this, I cried.  I cried because I’ve known Suzanna for many, many years. And to see her, to know her story and that of her family floods my memory with good times, obstacles, tears and laughter we’ve shared over those years.  They live far away now, but any contact with this amazing family reminds me there is still good in this crazy, screwed-up world we live in.  And the thought of little Zeke, growing up amidst the love and knowledge that Tim and Suzanna share with all that know them makes me have hope.  And hope is in short supply these days.

So welcome, little Zeke, to the crazy thing we call humanity.  You’ve had the cards stacked in your favor — a loving mommy and daddy with passion and compassion, two big sisters to keep you out of trouble (or at least report to a responsible adult when they’ve gotten you into trouble!), and a community of friends who take seriously the responsibility to love and care for one another.  And while challenges and trouble await, may your days here be filled with more joy, more happiness, more adventure, and more love than one little boy can ever hold in his heart.  So much, that it will spill over onto everyone you meet.

Pacifism

Had a great conversation with the big boy this morning.  He was articulating why he felt that we (as Americans) shouldn’t have entered World War II.  Understand that he understands he’s young; he’s still formulating thoughts and learning to fit all the things in his world view together.  But he makes strong arguments for what he believes.

“If there were any precedent sent for violent behavior,” he says, “It would have been when Jesus was being dragged away to be crucified.  I think that we as a church should take seriously the things we should do, and stop buying into the Empire’s idea that violence is the answer to everything.”

I asked him, “What about the fact that we helped stop the Holocaust?”   He understood, but countered, “If the church would have been doing what it was suppose to, it could have stopped it.  Peacefully.”  Then he added, “But the thing is, people talk about doing things, but they won’t follow through with their lives.”

I consider myself a pacifist.  I have often said, however, that if someone threatened my children, I would likely do whatever it took to protect them.  What W’s saying is that he’s realizing we have to totally break free of thinking like the Empire, and begin thinking the way we were created to think.

We’ve so bought into the unholy marriage of church and state, thinking somehow we’re more holy and “like God,” when we really have no idea what that means.  So, we buy into the easiest solution that makes the fewest waves.  Or, we setting for the “slightly bigger box” that somehow makes us seem revolutionary, when in actuality, it’s just a little bigger box.  That’s where I fall so often.

But when I hear things coming from my kid’s mouths that are actually revolutionary, I am stirred to keep searching.  I told my husband after this conversation (of which he was also a part of), it’s these kinds of thoughts that help me know someone who “has all the answers” really is the most clueless of all.  B. asked W., “What about the times God, in the Old Testament, told the people of Israel to go to war to win the Promise Land?” (his verbiage).  I said, “But see?  That very question is part of the problem.”  “Church” as we know it picks and chooses what it wants from Jewish history (OT) to make it’s point; to condone or justify those things that keep it in power.  When there’s something they don’t want to do or believe, they yell, “We’re not under law!”   Crazy.

What I know of Christianity is that is it at best a schizophrenic attempt to put the Divine into a comprehensible box.  There are good things that people do in it’s name.  But overall, it’s a sad attempt to make God into our own image.  The very thing the pagans were accused of.  And I’m not talking about “God” or even Jesus.  I’m talking about what we’ve done in their names.

I told W. today as we talked, “Isn’t it ironic that when Constantine claimed Christian conversion, he continued to conquer and rule as the emperors before him — only did it in Jesus name?”  The very inception of “acceptable” Christianity brought with it an ironic twist.  And we’ve continued to screw with it ever since.  Now, we see the fallout of unacceptable “accepted belief” in every arena of the world’s life.  Not only what we call Christianity — adherents of all “belief systems” have manipulated to their own end.  I see it in the micro — in organizations I have been involved with, and the macro — genocide and coercions to gain power over others “in the name of God.” I have a friend who frequently says, “So much evil done in the name of belief.”  She’s right.

I’m excited that the big boy has chose the path of pacifism.  I hope that he will continue to spur me on to think, read, pray, and consider what I truly think and believe.  I worry, because I know the path he has chosen (especially if he chooses to operate in organized religion) will beat and batter him.  But it’s good to see him think on his own.  I hope that he is never pacifistic in that pursuit.

It Never Ceases to Amaze Me

Thousands dead and dying in Myanmar … thousands killed and missing in China … and what is the American media concerned about this morning?

A New York City broadcaster who slipped the “f-bomb” into what she thought was a private conversation.  She thought the cameras were off, and she was conversing with her co-anchor, and simply said, “What the f&*^ is this?”  Not out of anger.  Not because she was confused.  Just a simple comment, like many of us might make on any given day.

Now, some “conservatives” are asking for her resignation — after 20 years of impeccably reporting the news in NYC.  She went on the next broadcast and apologized, then went on.  She did the right thing.

Why the heck are we still talking about it?  Why am I talking about it?  Because it makes me sick and it makes me angry.  Go ahead; click on the length below.  But then take a minute and say a prayer for the people in Myanmar and China.  Send financial help, if you can.  Then write an angry letting to your local NBC affiliate, and tell them to … well, you know what. 

http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-us&vid=9c0a55d6-3c2b-475f-bbe9-5a3e12c8047a&playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:ecc1f60b-ad5d-4652-81f9-c7b2885b8e97%2Cfbda01b6-ba41-4898-a6ab-0f5753a57bd2%2Cf98535dc-f875-40f0-8f04-b462c3d4f165&from=MSNHP&tab=s3&GT1=42003

It’s Not THAT easy!

Watched “27 Dresses” tonight with a friend.  Good movie — predictable, but fun!  In it, the male protagonist is a writer dedicated to the “commitments” (weddings) section of a paper.  But he himself is very down on the institution of marriage.  In one scene, the female protagonist makes a comment something like, “Are you a hopeless romantic, playing the role of the cynic, or are you a cynic simply throwing around BS to make a living?”  She implies that it’s easy being a cynic.

I hear that all the time.  “It’s easier to be cynical than to make a difference.”  Blah, blah, blah.  Truth be told, being a cynic is very hard work.  See, I think that most of us want to believe in something — someone.  I think our very nature is to seek out the good in the people and things around us.  We want to feel loved, accepted, desired … safe.  But unfortunately, those feelings are fleeting (I don’t care what televangelists say).  Most of us live our lives teetering either on the edge of stupidity, or cynicism. 

See, being stupid is easy.  It’s believe what you see, never questioning, never thinking there could be more than what your limited vision sees.  Being cynical, however, takes into consideration all the possibilities, and draws upon the hopelessness of a vast number of things.  Being stupid is being happy in whatever reality you have created for yourself.  Being cynical, you must determine that your own reality is as full of crap as the next person’s, and still live with yourself day in and day out.

Being cynical takes time and practice, trust me.  Even the best cynic somewhere, deep inside themselves, is holding out hope.  Hope that what they perceive as “the world” will be proved wrong by one person or one situation that truly plays itself out the way it should.  Hope that the early optimism that blanketed them at some point in their life will return in all its glory.  Hope that they are as full of it as they think everyone else is, and that the raging cynic will be just another phase, passing like puberty, acne, and bad taste in movies.

So the next time you hear (or think) that cynicism is a walk in the park, and that someone dabbling (or drowning) in it is “taking the easy way,” check yourself.  Cynacism at best is a cleverly crafted tool by which one who fears to hope can survive.  At it’s worst, it’s simply someone pretending not to be stupid.  Either way, it’s just not that easy.  I know.

 

Random thoughts…

http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/set?id=1216552Swirling thougths, round and round.  Mostly because I’m tired, I know.

Do you think it’s possible to truly trust anyone?  I mean, it seems like people randomly alter the reality around them so much, that they really can’t even be held accountable for what they say … even when they think they’re being truthful.  I’m finding most people say a lot, but when it comes down to it, we’re all involved in layers of each other’s lives, and there are always others closer and further away.  So to take whatever someone says at “face value” is simply an invitation to set yourself up for betrayal.

I tend to be a person who hears a lot.  But I rarely believe anything anymore.  I had a really vulnerable moment with a near stranger the other day, and I had to walk away.  There was just something about this person that broke me a little … and it was scary.  I told him later, “Now that I’ve been vulerable with you, it’s going to be tougher to be mean to you …”  But that brief encounter was enough to remind me that none of us really know who we are.  And we definately don’t know each other, regardless of the depth of relationship.

So, for me, it means taking things as they come.  Not placing expectations on anyone.  Not setting myself up for disappointment.  Enjoying the moments of life, and finding true honesty and goodness in the four children I have.  They have this — I dunno — way of making me believe life might really be pure, honest and good someday.  But that’s another blog …

I see why people who think — and think deeply — often cannot survive this reality.  Nothing is really as it seems (as my zen brothers and sisters would attest), and someone searching for “truth” eventually comes up to the wall of non-truth … and it is simply a mirror.  Then, there’s very little to believe in anymore, because the reflection isn’t even real.

OK, time for bed.

“Toast the World”

Here’s a perspective for you.  Take a minute and watch this:

http://www.exxposeexxon.com/movie/

Then DO SOMETHING!

Breathing (again)

Motorcycle Mirror  I was riding home from church today on the bike.  “E” (11) rode with me — he enjoys the freedom it brings him.  He was flapping his wings like a flying bird, smiling that irrepressable smile that fills his entire face.  I looked in the rearview mirror, and smiled myself.  And then, I inhaled deeply, exhaled slowly, and soaked in the early spring sunshine that is so elusive and so revitalizing.

It’s been a long few weeks.  There are big changes in the place my husband works, and there are a lot of “free radical” emotions floating about.  I can only take so much — I walk very close the line of functioning and running away most days.  So sometimes, it all becomes a little overwhelming. 

A lot of this activity has continued to push me deeper and deeper into cynacism.  My beautiful, sensitive big boy asked if I could be “a little less cynacal” recently.  Wow.  Talk about a slap of reality!  And I recognize this in myself, but find it difficult to want to change.  I really like where I’m at right now.  I feel safe; alive.  I’m discovering a lot about myself.  I love watercolor!  I can feel deeply.  I can forgive a lot of crap.

And I love riding on my motorcycle.  I can breath when I’m out there, tooling around.  I have a rule — no time on the bike.  When I ride, I try to never give myself a feeling of being rushed.  It’s more than a ride … it’s an excuse to breath in life and love and be a part of everything around me.  Too mystical?  Yeah, but I don’t really care what anyone else thinks on this subject. 

I have friends who are starting blogs on food, and movies, and all kinds of cool stuff.  I’d like to do that — but I have to find my rhythm, you know?  Recently, I’ve discovered I don’t even really know what my passion is.  Sad … to be a passionate person without clarity.  Maybe it’s coffee?  Maybe writing?  Maybe satirical responses to organized religion (wait … I can’t do that without getting my husband fired, I think).  Anyway .. while I’m looking and waiting, living in the moment.  I’m doing a lot of breathing. 

And riding, too.