Thursday, 23 February 2012

Fr. Barron comments on Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life" (SPOILERS)

I really liked the movie "The Tree of Life". It's a movie I would like to own and watch every once in a while. I thought it was beautiful, poetic and thoughtful.

One line that has played in my head since seeing the movie for the first time is "Father, Mother, always you wrestle inside of me." I've been thinking a lot in the past year about competition vs cooperation. These are the words that came to me as I watched the film. I was so interested to hear Fr. Barron use the words nature vs grace to discribe what I think are the same ideas.

I also really loved the scenes where the oldest son prays the prayers he is taught in church and then the whispers of of the real, genuine prayers from his heart are heard - the truth that comes from the boy, unscripted, just seems like such authentic prayers for a young boy - the questions, the doubts.

What a beautiful film - I'm still digesting it.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Grandma Majeran

This pregnancy my thoughts have often turned to my Grandma Majeran who passed away a few years ago. She didn't have an easy life. She got married when she was thirty years old and ended up having ten children. My mind can not even fathom being pregnant ten times, giving birth ten times...and after turning thirty. They didn't have a lot of money. Her husband drank too much and didn't offer her a lot of gentleness or kindness.

I've never heard any of her ten children gush about how incredible a mother she was. I haven't heard "she was an angel mother" or "I always felt she was really there for me" or anything else frothy with lovely praise. I have memories of hearing things like "Kate just did her best to survive" and "she had a hard life" For this reason I never really considered giving my grandmother much credit until now. Physically she dealt with so much more than I have even caught a glimpse at in my own life. Now, when I think of what she endured as a wife and a mother I can't help to think that she actually was an incredible woman for the huge feat of survival. She didn't just survive though, my grandmother had and somehow kept a sense of humour. She was funny, sometimes maybe she didn't even mean to be but I remember her ability to see the humourous side of even difficult situations. She didn't seem to take life too seriously and somehow she didn't become bitter or cranky despite her difficult life.

I remember going into her garage and saying that I really liked a guitar that was sitting in the corner "If you like it, just take it" she shrugged with a smile. Later I found out that guitar wasn't even hers. It was one of my aunts. She bought her grandchildren scratch and win tickets for Christmas gifts. I don't ever remember actually winning anything but scratching those tickets as a kid was kind of exciting. My grandma was told a few times that smoking wasn't allowed in the assisted living home she moved into. She got caught smoking one too many times and got kicked out. Kicked out of an assisted living home!

My grandma marched to the beat of her own drum and I wonder what kind of woman she would have been if she hadn't been as overwhelmed as she was with a difficult marriage and ten lively children. I think about this because the past seven months I've seen the worst of me and wonder if I was stuck being pregnant seven more times if my kids would have anything good to say about me. But I'm not in that situation, this will be our last child and I'll be myself again, and there's a good chance that my kids will have good things to say about me. And I think of Grandma Majeran and think "but for the grace of God there go I."

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

by: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

A noiseless, patient spider,
I mark'd, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;
Mark'd how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;
Ever unreeling them--ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,--seeking the spheres, to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form'd--till the ductile anchor hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

A showdown with the truth.

My favorite part of the book East of Eden is when Lee's father told him the horrific story of how his mother died: "his mother went into labor early, while still in the camp; the men then discovered she was a woman and, behaving as animals, did unspeakable things to her. When Lee’s father found her she was dying, and by her request he clawed her stomach open with his bare hands and delivered the baby." Then Lee recounts:

"And when my father would tell me [the story] I would say to him, 'Get to that lake--get my mother there--don’t let it happen again, not this time. Just once let’s tell it: how you got to the lake and built a house of fir boughs.' And my father became very Chinese then. He said, 'There’s more beauty in the truth even if it is a dreadful beauty. The storytellers at the city gate twist life so that it looks sweet to the lazy and the stupid and the weak, and this only strengthens their infirmities and teaches nothing, cures nothing, nor does it let the heart soar."

Since reading that for the first time, I think I've tried to become a little bolder in facing truths in my own life, looking them in the eye and at the least, giving a nod to their existence. I've found that for the most part when I do that, the truth looks back at me, gives me a little nod of respect in return and then I know and can see exactly what I'm up against, the true beauty of what I'm dealing with - I am awake and ready to rumble.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

“I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.” - Georgia O'Keeffe

I don't know if this is true or not but I've read that the American painter Georgia O'Keeffe who, if you image google her name you get a gazillion painings of flowers, also said the following:

"I hate flowers - I paint them because they're cheaper than models and they don't move."