Monday, July 27, 2009

The Visitor

I loved this movie...even the not so perfectly happy ending. At the beginning of the film, the main character, a college professor in NJ, Walter, just goes through the motions of his life. He is a visitor in his own life, a watcher...on the sidelines...after all, his wife has died. So Walter tries to capture something of his life, his wife, by taking piano lessons (she was a concert pianist). But he fails horribly at it.

When he is called to present a paper at a conference in NYC for a colleague, he shows up at his apartment there (which he hasn't been at since his wife died) only to find two young lovers, immigrants, who have taken over the place. The interaction between these characters, the unlikely friendship that develops, brings Walter back to life. The kinship that occurs between the man, an illegal immigrant from Syria, who lives so present in the moment that he often forgets time, and Walter who is so imprisoned by time, ignites Walter. The Syrian teaches him his instrument, which Walter takes to almost immediately....kind of a metaphor for finding his own rhythm, his own way even when there continues to be loss.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I've just started Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. The first page definitely hooks you. Great action and interesting, complex characters. Then Roberts continues to offer through Lin, the main character, fairly profound observations on human nature. Here's just one --regarding Leopold's, a large club in Bombay:

"Mirrors on those pillars, and on much of the free wall space, provided the patrons with one of the bar's major attractions: the chance to inspect, admire, and ogle others in a circumspect if not entirely anonymous fashion. For many, the duplication of their own images in two or more mirrors at the same time was not least among the pleasures of the pastime. Leopold's was a place for people to see, to be seen, and to see themselves in the act of being seen."

The description reminded me in a way of facebook and social media in general.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fun Summer Hikes part 6--Lily Pad Pond

--in Breckenridge, Colorado where my good friends, Linda, Natasha and I spent a few days.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

and also...

The posting below on liturgy and loss was inspired by my daughter's reflections on her experiences in India...the pain, the laughter, the smells, the proximity of real human suffering. She writes:

On Friday I began my morning shift volunteering at Kalighat, Mother Teresa's home for the dying. It is simple work, it is hard work, it is frustrating and it is joyful...As I walked by a bed, one dying younger woman with a shaved head, who is also psychologically handicapped, began pulling at my pants and smiling at me. I sat on the bed next to her and held her hands in both of mine. We just smiled at one another and I stupidly wasn't really sure what to do next...perhaps try and sing to her? Massage her hands and arms? Before I could make up my mind on what to do, she began to massage my hands, and my arms! I was so taken off guard that I started laughing, then she started laughing, her few rotting teeth showing through, and then the Sisters, seeing what was happening started to laugh as well. It was such a sweet moment. I didn't know if I wanted to continue laughing or start crying. Looking into this dying Bengali woman's eyes as she was caring for me, as our roles were reversed for a moment in time, was so real and so human.

Read more here:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fun Summer Hikes --part 4

I took two of my daughters back to Stanley Canyon Reservoir. They did great! Hiked up to the lake in less than 2 hours. If possible, the wildflowers were even more colorful than before.

Monday, July 13, 2009

loss part 2, liturgy and community

One of my daughters asked me recently why I liked the liturgy of the International Anglican Church where we've been going for the past year. It is a big change from the Evangelical megachurches we've been a part of for about 15 years. She wondered if saying the same words aloud week after week would cause them to lose their meaning. You would think so. But the opposite was true, is true for me. Through the painful healing process of this last year, the words were LIFE to me....sometimes the only life I could hold on to...week after week hearing and saying the same words with others is reassuring. You don't feel so alone. You start to believe that "the God who will come is the God who has long since come before."

"The Almighty and merciful Lord grant you absolution and remission of all your sins, true repentance, amendment of life, and the grace and consolation of His Holy Spirit." amendment of life...

And the weekly participation in the eucharist is also restorative. Each week the bishops hold up the bread and wine and say, "The gifts of God for the people of God. Take them and feed in your hearts by faith and with great thanksgiving!" Then you stand and row by row move to the front where the pastors and leaders place the bread into your cupped hands, look into your eyes and say, "The body of Christ broken for you," then you drink from the cup and hear, "The blood of Christ shed for you." Others have drunk from that cup, and sometimes the person dips the bread instead of drinking, so you might find a few crumbs in the cup. You know you are not alone. And it's messy, maybe even unsanitary. But it's also sacred.

--just like loss, just like healing;

just like life.

Fun Summer Hikes part 3

Spruce Mountain--lovely views from a hike just north of Palmer Lake--with my college roomate and longtime friend, Caron.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

July 4--fun summer hikes part 2

Helen Hunt Falls--ok so not really a hike, but we got off late and needed a quick pretty hike!

Then off to Palmer Lake for fireworks. A bit cold and damp...but beautiful!

Fun summer hikes -- Stanley Canyon Reservoir--June 30, 2009

Stanley Canyon Reservoir--once you are about 1.75 miles up the trail and over the first log bridge, you turn the corner and there are the blue Columbine along with a riotous blooming of wildflowers (thanks to all the rain!), which I think are Vase Flower (pink) and Bluebells.

Stanley Canyon Reservoir--my first time with fellow teachers and friends, Pete and Linda.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Funny how loss is, it feels so final, like a period. Not like an exclamation mark, not that exciting, just dull and aching. Just a period. But does it have to be? can't it be a semicolon--not the end of the story, never the end of the story...maybe a part of the story, a connector to something else

But what? that's the risk.

You think you are alone in loss. But you're not, and when others sit with you, cry with you, pray with you, rage with you, you start to heal. you heal because you are not alone and someone else loves you enough to live the pain with you. That's risk because it's messy. and it's real life.

it's opening my eyes

The real life that's been here all along and that I almost missed. An amazing family who has walked this road with me, through their own pain, thier own loss. I know they want to run sometimes. But they don't--they risk and stay and we plunge in again

It's risky to love people enough to really hear them. riskier not to. then you would have nothing to lose. and that would be the real loss.