Wednesday, October 3, 2007

21 minutes

In the movie “10 Items or Less,” Scarlet asks Him if there is anyone that he does not talk with. Him replies, “Why? I engage people. I’m a connector. Human interaction is the spice of life.” Him is played by Morgan Freeman and is an aging former Hollywood star that has not had a movie deal in four years. He is trying to decide if he will take a role in an independent film. For research, he visits a Latino community grocery store. While there, he meets the intriguing and out of place Scarlet. Without a ride home, he joins Scarlet as they make their way to an administrative job interview, and ultimately his home. Freeman misses no one. He notices the boy at the car wash, the employees at the car wash, the ladies in the clothing section at target, the woman behind the counter, etc. It is a magnificent portrayal of what it must have been like being around Jesus (minus some inappropriate comments, etc.) I long to see people. I want to miss no one. I want to live interactively. There are so many people just waiting to be noticed and hoping to be heard. We miss them, though. We have to get to our destination, and we are already 21 minutes behind schedule. If we were more attentive to the barista, we could have seen her eyeing her ring in wonder. If we were more attentive to our waiter, we could have asked him how school was going which would have offered him the opportunity to open up about a whole lot more. I recently had the opportunity to do a wedding for some people I had never met. The wedding was supposed to be at 1:30 PM. I spent much of the rest of the day with the couple and their family and friends. We played pool, listened to the jukebox and ate like we had known each other for years. The bride even located a swimsuit for my daughter so that she could join the rest of the children in the pool. People want to be known. People want to be cared for. People want to be appreciated. We need to push pause. We need to stop and see the eyes of those around us. We need to listen with more than just our ears. We need to truly engage people. After I left the wedding, I took my daughter bowling. I bowled my first game in years, and it wasn’t too shabby. I put up my ball and took off my shoes while Allie chose to play a second game. Why? Because I know myself. I would have paid more attention to my bowling prowess, or lack thereof in the second game. I wanted to be fully present to my daughter as she jumped to high five me after receiving her father’s encouragement. I wanted to look at her and drink every ounce of elixir from the moment. I wanted to remember that evening for the rest of my days…the green shirt, the black shorts, the laughter and the joy. As we finished, we went to the counter to settle our debt. Allie got a bit impatient as I talked to the attendant. When he had to answer the phone, I looked at Allie and said, “Wait just a minute, and don’t interrupt daddy. God has blessed us with the opportunity to be with Steve right now, and I will be finished in a minute.” May we never miss the ones we meet and may we journey with all of our fellow travelers. Forget the destination, and just enjoy the ride.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The summer has basically come to an end as school has begun, and my six weeks on the road are finally complete. I just wish the heat would dissipate like the rest of the memories that were made but not grasped in full. We are too busy to experience life. We simply experiment with it, and hope that at least some of the chemicals react as we are told that they will. Modernity was a nice thing while it lasted. There was hope for a better tomorrow, but it continues to falter with every passing car bomb and the death of more innocent people the world around. "Who are we?" is the question that Michael Moore asks after he attempts to dismantle the illusion of "health care" in america by comparing it to socialized medicine in other countries. Should the question not be better phrased as "Who do we think we are?" We are surely not the bastions of hope and salvation that we act as if we are. Much of the time, we believe in nothing more than ourselves, our abilities and our strength. We have forgotten God while we dance to the rhythm of the desolation of our planet. As long as we get what we want, nothing else seems to matter. Build bigger SUVs, and forget to recycle. What difference does it make? It seems to be a far cry from people who came to this continent for a new and better way. They believed in living, at all costs. We simply believe in paying the price, and with every dollar we do just that. The banks will close and the stock market will eventually fall. We will only have each other, and that is just not enough for too many of us.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Into Great Silence

I was chillin' with Dr. P tonight at the Landmark Keystone Art Cinema. We went to see "Into Great Silence": a 3-hour tour through a Carthusian Monastery in the French Alps. It is considered a documentary, and that is probably why 15 people ditched the movie at varying intervals. There is no score, and everything that is said or printed on the screen comes at you in French, German and Latin with English subtitles.

Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God." This movie could serve as a 3-hour mini retreat. The photogaraphy is resplendent and most of the camerawork is spellbinding. The movie really gives you an opportunity to think about what you are watching, and also calls into question our Western existence with all of its commodification and technologizing.

The unhurried pace and rhythm of the monks begs all of us to slow down and eat our meal sitting in a doorway, ready to welcome the gift of God as it is constantly arriving. Do we notice all of the life around us and care for its well-being? Do we have the time to sit and read? Do we take the time to pray? Do we ever truly embrace those around us as if we belong to each other?

There is so much to say about this film and the fantastic conversation afterwards, but it will probably never be written. It is late, and I have to be at the church in a few hours. I made myself sit down and type. Tonight, I am glad I did--I'm not so sure how I will feel when the alarm goes off. grace and peace to all of you. The monks are praying for you, as they do the work of the world...and I am praying for you too.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Word up everyone. I do not have time at the moment to really post, but wanted to at least get some words on a page that can exist in the zeros and ones of cyberspace. More to come in the future. Grace and Peace,.