Sunday, November 16, 2014

Robin Williams and Us

Remember the 1991 movie, Hook, where Robin Williams starred as Peter Banning and became "The Pan"?  It's a movie one of my brothers and I have been quoting for over 20 years... "You're afraid you're going to get sucked out!"  Anyway, the family and I finished watching it again tonight.  It's the first Robin Williams movie I've seen since he died.  And, I'm sad.  I'm sad that he's gone from the world. 

As I was watching it, I noticed all of the people he acted and interacted with in the movie.  He was their husband, father, nephew, rival, and leader.  Of course, he wasn't these things to them in real life.  But, he was real and they were real, and their lives really did slam magnificently into each other, at least as long as the movie was being filmed. 

I think about how sad I am, and how I didn't even know him.  So, what about all of the kids he worked with in that movie who are probably 30 somethings now?  How do they feel, and how did they feel when they heard he took his life?  He must have seemed larger-than-life to them.  What is the personal impact of thinking someone is larger-than-life, and then having them opt out?!  I think about all of the movies he's filmed, and all of the lives he's touched during the filming, and can't imagine how many people that must be.  And those are just the people he's worked with.  It doesn't even include the people he loved, and spent time with, and supported.  

How about my life?  Your life?  Not that much different, really.  Smaller scale?  Maybe.  Cameras? Probably not.  Impact?  Definitely.  We're filming a movie a day, or writing a page a day if you prefer... 

The Holy Spirit with the pen of His power writes a living Gospel, but a Gospel that cannot be read until it has left the press of this life, and has been published on the day of eternity.  Oh! great history! grand book written by the Holy Spirit in this present time - It is still in the press.  There is never a day when the type is not arranged, when the ink is not applied, or the pages are not primed. 
Abandonment to Divine Providence, Jean Pierre de Caussade

Robin Williams was a comedic genius.  There will never be another one like him.  He was exceptional and unrepeatable.  And the thing is, that his unrepeatability is the thing we all have in common!  He may have been more distinctive and more well-known, but he is no less likely to be duplicated than anyone else.  It is impossible for any of us to be duplicated.  There are other funny people who make the world laugh, but they are not Robin Williams, and they never will be.  After we go, there may be some who are like us, in body, soul, or spirit.  But, they will never be us.    

As my mother once carefully printed on a bookmark for me, with my name cut out and glued at the top...

You are the
Presentation of the
Face of GOD
To the people
Of your time  
St. John Paul II
Dear God of peoples little and well-known,
Thank you for great movies and the talent you give to those who make them come alive.  Thank you for the gift of laughter and all who bring it.  Please comfort all who are left behind when someone they love takes their own life, and have mercy on those who do the taking.  Eternal rest grant unto Robin Williams, O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon him.  May he rest in peace.  Amen.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Saturday Morning Monster

I've been married twelve years today.  I'm so blessed and thrilled to be celebrating a happy marriage with the man who chased the long-lived question, "How will you know when you find the one?" away forever.  I'm so happy about so many things.  I'm so happy I'm not still living that question.  I'm so happy that I'm not the ball of insecurity I was in our early marriage.  I'm so happy that our boys who are eleven and a half months apart are 8 and 9, not 1 and 2 (as cute as they were). 

I'm especially happy to have something to celebrate today, when otherwise I might still be sulking over my monsterhood yesterday morning...I started working at my Church when school started.  So, now the housecleaning that was done incrementally throughout the week, is saved up for one special day.  Saturday.  First thoughts of Saturday bring warm fuzzies with thoughts of sleeping in, breakfast together, and lazing about.  Sleeping in and breakfast together are still going great.  But, after breakfast, things go south.  After the first couple of times it happened, I realized that I had omitted my morning prayer.  Ohhhhhh, that must be the problem.  Attempting to clean the house before prayer is certain disaster. 

So yesterday, I took all the time I needed to pray well before heading down the bumpy-old-stinky-road of cleaning the house.  When I left my prayer spot, I was filled with great resolve to maintain my peace and patience throughout, and promptly made my first error.  I entered my son's room.  The hot zone.  Ground zero.  Utter chaos of dirty clothes, legos, papers, markers, army guys, tanks, cups, shoes, and the like. 

I cleared a spot, called the troops in, and began to give orders, "pick this up", "put those in there", "throw that away".  And then it happens.  Explanations start rolling in of who didn't put what where, things get shoved under the bed, little people start laying in the middle of the floor, and all manner of things happen that cannot defined as the only acceptable response - prompt obedience. 

This now-working mother suddenly values her Saturday mornings a great deal, and when she realizes that she's the only one, she loses it.  Her humanity finds a quiet corner to hide in while her anger and frustration take over, leaving her shaking on the inside and turning to stone on the outside.  I am either barking or silent, but "pissed off" in every form.  My language morphs into that which would befit a mild-tongued sailor.  Apparently, I used the word "crap" quite profusely, a little bit of "damn", and a "pissed off" when I was discussing my frustration with my husband.  Sadly, I got generous feedback on my language later in the day from my son. 

It took hours to recover, and another Saturday morning needs to be redeemed by yours truly.  Happy marriage aside, my husband said he'd rather live in a dirty house than with me on these Saturday mornings.  I don't blame him.  If I could live in a perpetually dirty house, I would too!  But, I can't.  I have a threshold.  A threshold which turns out to be the amount of dirt/clutter/dog hair that accrues in a week's time.  Since prayer wasn't enough to rid me of myself (although, many times it is), we made a new plan.  Until I can handle it in a more sane and ladylike manner, I will tackle everything else, but that room.  He can go in there.

It is humbling that something so simple as a messy room can still reduce me to tears and a potty mouth.  As I continue to tackle the spiritual life and pursue helping others in theirs, I am reminded that I will never be above living an earthly life.  I am a human, and this is where I live.  On earth.  With others.  And their stuff. 

...We are not angels but have bodies, and it is madness for us to want to become angels while we are still on earth...Come what may, the great thing is to embrace the Cross.  The Lord was deprived of all consolation and forsaken in His trials.  Let us not forsake Him; His hand will help us to rise better than our own efforts...                           St. Teresa of Avila     

Dear Heavenly Father of Parents and Children with Messy Rooms,

Thank you for another day to know, love, and serve You.  Thank you for my husband, and every wedding anniversary including today's.  Please forgive me for my selfishness, impatience, and ingratitude.  Thank you for the phone call while writing this post, thanking me for sharing my children, from someone who misses theirs.  Thank you for opportunities to see what I can still be without your grace.  Humbling, though they are. Thank you that Your Hand will help us to rise better than our own efforts.  Please give me, and all parents, the grace to see the gift of our children, including the messes that often surround them.  Finally, thank you for opportunities to redeem lost time.  Please give me the grace to recognize and make the most of them.  Amen.