Tag Archives: God


5 Mar

passengers_2016_movie-wideFollow me into the light…

Recently I became a little obsessed with the movie Passengers — the one starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Instead of watching any other show or movie (also because I now have a hard time finding quality shows that are not vulgar and violent), I pretty much just watched this every couple nights for two months straight. Every time I saw it I noticed something new, and I just couldn’t get over the storyline. I loved how it was this intricate, space-age Adam and Eve story.

I decided to Google “Passengers Adam and Eve” to see what other people wrote about it, because obviously I wasn’t going to be the only one who had thought about this. What I was surprised about, however, was how most bloggers and critics wrote about rape culture and what a terrible person Jim is. In several interviews, even Pratt and JLaw basically renounced (or grew quiet about) the movie as well amid this controversy.

That disappointed me. There is so much good to this movie, there is so much to ponder, and I don’t believe it to be about misogyny in the slightest.

The opening scene is of the spaceship Avalon flying at half lightyear speed as it comes across an asteroid shower. Despite the best efforts of the main shield, the biggest asteroid breaks apart in such a way that the ship is pierced, and through a hibernation pod malfunction, Jim awakens. That sounds exactly like a metaphor for conception and birth to me! Which brought me to think about: who among us chooses to awaken? It could be a choice, it could be against our will, but not many of us know whether we wanted to be on this earth, and a good many of us even wish we had never been born. But it is the ship (our parents) who decide to start the process of “awakening” us and an unknown force (God) who makes the ultimate decision of when and where we end up.

Many people have made the connection between the ship and Earth, both of which are traveling furiously through space. We are on a planet/ship which provides us everything we need, yet we are constantly journeying and never arriving, similar to how Jim feels as he talks to the bartender-android, Arthur, who is a wealth of wisdom, enlightenment, and information. Might Arthur be a representation of the Bible in this story? He is the best friend anyone could want, but he cannot replace Jim’s need to connect with another person made of flesh and blood. This desire, by the way, is given to us straight from God. He wants us to want other people.

Jim, meanwhile, is stuck on an island, alone, for the rest of his life. He is the first, and only, man on Earth, so to speak. You can imagine the thoughts that would occupy your mind if you were alone, surrounded by everything you need to keep living, including other humans just beyond your reach, but destined to die without ever talking to another human again.

This is where the story gets tricky. Many people are horrified and mortally offended by *SPOILER ALERT* Jim waking Aurora up. I concede that he is selfish, but then again, who of us isn’t? And I ask of you, who would do any different? And who of us would do worse, i.e. waking up lots of people (or something even more sinister)? Who would choose to live in deep depression, surrounded by 5,237 people, yet completely alone? And the key thing to consider is, Jim didn’t choose to wake up. He was woken up against his will, against the plan he had for his life, just as many of us don’t get to carry out what we think we want to happen in our lives. Things change, and we have to make decisions based on those changes.

There are two other important factors, namely that the ship is destined to blow up and everyone will die, unless, as it turns out, there are two people awake on the ship to fix the problems. In that case, Aurora truly would have died and never even known it; her story would be completely over if she, or someone else, hadn’t been awake with Jim. And I love how they make her a total badass — even more so than Jim. From the moment she wakes up, she’s confident, intelligent, driven, creative, upbeat, and doesn’t complain when shards of spaceship pierce her bicep.

Secondly, at the end of the movie, Jim finds a way to put her back into hibernation for the remainder of the trip… and he doesn’t hide it from her either! Her choice, in closing, after knowing “everything”, is to stay awake with him and finally come to peace with the life that she has been given, and not always seek more. She chooses to find the story — and the good — in her circumstances.

The ship’s name, Avalon, means “island of apples”. This obviously is referencing the Garden of Eden. Aurora means “dawn,” another reference to the dawn of mankind, when two awaken to the world and begin the story of mankind. James is a very biblical name in itself. There are so many “hidden” parallels, much of which I probably haven’t even discovered yet, that it truly makes this allegory a deeply moving experience for me. I love the acting, the atmosphere, the special effects, and that it shouldn’t be taken at face value, even though the face value is so entertaining in itself. I also completely love the role that Lawrence Fishburne plays. His opening line seriously sends joy through me every time I hear it.

It is a story about humanity and love. It is a story about a man who does the very best he can, and in my mind, upholds the best of what humans have to offer, while still being mortal. It is a story about chances and what we do with them. It is a story about overcoming sin. It is a story about all of us.






18 Feb

This morning Walter taught me the sign for “I love you,” which he had just learned from one of the Magic Tree House books he was reading.

It looks like this:

I love you

I thought it looked like some kind of rocker hand signal, but alas, he was convinced, so I believed him, and he had fun both saying and “saying,” “I love you” to me all morning.

This afternoon we drove to Publix to get some shopping done (which now that I am a mom of two is less of a “chore” and more of an “event,” amiright? ha), and low and behold, our cashier had a tattoo on the inside of her arm near her elbow that was a hand signing “I love you”. I told her that I had never seen that sign before today (or if I had I did not remember), and that now I had gotten this second reminder of it in one day. She said, “Isn’t it cool the way the universe works?”

Universe (God), thank you for your constant reminders that there is love in this world and that I am loved. I am definitely in a season of my life where I need that external reassurance. And friend, if you are reading this, you too are loved. I promise, and the signs are there as often as you can notice them!

Dreams of a Gift

8 Feb

I have dreams… so many dreams lately. Every night I am exhausted by my subconscious.

One dream in particular has stuck with me. In it, I have just given birth to my third baby boy, whom we name Donatello (though in my dream I debate between Donatello and Donitello). We call him Donny. An old friend comes to pick me up from the hospital, but instead of taking me home in her car, she has brought a horse and buggy for me to drive.

We are, at the time, back in Atlanta, and I think to myself, “There is no way I’m going to get home fast in this thing!” (We actually have seen someone driving a horse-drawn cart in Asheville recently — in real life!) So, I drive the horse as fast as I can onto the on-ramp on the highway, and I crash the horse in the process. I know my friend’s wife will be very upset with me, but I say to her, “No worries, I can undo this so it never happened!” (We recently read Philip K. Dick’s Ubik for one of our book clubs, and parts of his sci-fi, psi, anti-psi, inertial, pre-cog world have entered into my dreams, which has been kinda fun.)

Once I un-kill the horse, from then on I am forced to go slowly and apparently have to drive by every home I lived in in Atlanta. I am so worried about finding them, passing them, and getting home to my new baby. I worry because as the hours pass, I know he needs to eat. There was lots more to this dream, but it was dreamed a couple weeks ago, so all that is mostly a feeling now, rather than clear memory.

Eventually I wake myself up, in the middle of the night, after four hours of driving around.

When I fall back asleep, the dream continues. I am, finally, at home with my new baby. Because I have just organized the boys’ closet à la Marie Kondo, the newborn clothes are on the bottom of the stack of boxes, tucked in the corner. I know I will make enough noise to wake up Walter to get to them, and we all know the rule about waking a sleeping child — try not to do it!

I get the baby half undressed, with his diaper open, before I realize I need to leave to go buy more diapers. It is just a short drive to the store (luckily I have a car this time), but on the return trip home I take the highway and get stuck in Atlanta traffic. I am despairing, because I left the baby on the bed, undressed, undiapered, and every second is counting here. I drive faster and faster and quickly get pulled over by a police officer whose ticket is not asking for money nor is it a reprimand, but it is telling me something about myself (another Ubik reference). Oh how I wish I could remember what was written on that ticket!

That is when I wake up, again, and it is morning.

The next day, as I talk to Dave about this dream, I remark how strange it is that we used the name Donatello. I am not a big art fan, nor a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan, nor have I probably even thought of that name in 20 years. So I look it up, and the name is Italian for gift from God.

Gift from God!!!?!

It really shocked — or really, wowed — me to see that. I felt immediately like He was speaking to me. Since I had a miscarriage last year, and I’d really like to have another child, I’d like to hope it means He was talking to me and telling me that yes, I will have another gift from Him in the form of a baby. But, the other interpretation I’ve come up with sounds pretty good too. That in the midst of the anxiety and stress and complications of life, the superficial messes we create for ourselves, there is a precious nugget of goodness we can find, we can attach ourselves to, and that is God. He will be the Calm in the storm of life; He will be the Goal we are trying to attain. Look for Him, without ceasing, because He is what matters amid all the chaos of life.

My newfound faith is in its newborn stages, a delightful blooming of understanding and looking at the world a new way. I may get thrown off course, but if I keep my path headed toward Him, all His gifts will come my way.

Finding God Within

1 Apr

I hesitate to use the name “God” because I know so many people who are atheist or agnostic or other religions (and where I land on that scale I don’t quite know), but I think we all at least believe in the magic of the universe. And that’s really what I’m talking about too, because it truly is magical that we’re all here.

I came home from the hospital with my newest little boy, somewhat ready to take on the world as a mom of two. I was feeling much better than I did after W’s birth. But of course, there had to be something that humbled me.

With Walter, he cried and turned a horrible shade of red. This sounds jokingly easy in retrospect. I had thought I was a baby guru. I had babysat and nannied for babies 3mo+ since I was 12 (so for about 16 years). I thought I knew what I was doing. But oh how I cried when he cried, because newborns are way tinier than babies that have had three months of growing under their belts. And let’s give a little credit to raging post-partum hormones too.

With Rex, I was determined not to get so upset when we got home that I wanted back in the horrible place we call a hospital. But my first humbling experience with him was much worse.

He shivered and shook almost constantly starting (of course) as soon as we got home. He had done it a few times in the hospital, and I had asked the pediatrician about it. I didn’t trust that the ped commented on what I was talking about though, because he said, “Oh it’s OK, the baby calms down when you soothe him and the shaking stops.” But this wasn’t shaking related to crying. This was awake, asleep, happy, upset, constant little tremors. And babies that little don’t shiver from cold temperatures.

I was resolved, after wasting so much of my sleep time when Walter was a newborn, not to lose myself in Google researching everything bad that can happen to a baby. But I had to find out what it was! Did we need to go back to the hospital? What was going on? And Google pretty much said it could either be a) pee shakes, b) nothing, or c) horrible, irreversible neurological problems.

I don’t think I cried (yet), but inside I was full of fear. After a few hours of this and talking over our options with Dave, I took my baby into his nursery and sat in the glider in the low sunlight of the winter afternoon. I held him and I rocked him and I spoke to him and for the first time ever, I said, “Dear God, please take care of this boy. Whatever is going on I give it to you. He is your boy that you have given to me to take care of, and I love him. Please keep him safe.”

Turns out he stopped his shivering almost as soon as my milk came in, so we think it was low blood sugar. But sitting there with him was a life changing moment for me, when I fully felt the universe hold us in its arms. The universe decided to take care of us at that moment, and I’m grateful. I have the happiest little baby full of joy and smiles that I could only have ever hoped for.

IMG_20170330_212107_613Springtime outside as well as in the heart. I love how these boys love nature.

The Vote

8 Apr

I recently left my church as an official member. I needed a break from them specifically, but I have also decided that I do not want to be a member of any church. Possibly ever again.

It is hard to be frank about the subject without being offensive, I think, or at least on the verge of hurting someone’s feelings. Religion is a very touchy subject to most people, and with good reason. It talks about the very depth of our souls. The whole scale, from atheism to fundamentalism, relates to the core of humanity.

Are we good people doing bad things?
Or bad people doing good things?

It is the yin and yang of this life, a life lived on a swirling ball of fire and water and really, really good luck — for us. So far, at least.

When I told the pastors I was going to pull myself off the membership roster, and that I was quitting my deacon duties (really, what more could I have done anyway, and they picked really good people this year to be on the board), they told me that the session would have to vote on my release. It was very Giver-esque. Maybe they didn’t use those words, exactly, but they did both mention my “discernment process”.

The past four years have been some of the most moving and instrumental in my life. I am so much happier and evolved than I was at 26. Unmarried. Childless. That was a long time ago.

I said from the very beginning that I loved Morningside Presbyterian Church. I asked people to come with me all the time and sang its glowing praises. It is a beautiful, simple building. It is filled with wonderful people. I love the congregation. The music is uplifting. And the message, one of extreme welcome (Come one, come all!) is great. I liked the scholarly pursuit of the Bible that was spoken about on Sundays. And that at other times we would have fun together in simple fellowship (and usually with a glass of wine!).

When Dave and I joined Morningside, it was still pretty small. There were the older people, the married gays, the older young adults that had already formed their own clique, and established families that had come in through the preschool. We didn’t really fit in anywhere, but we liked it. Everyone was smart and nice and welcoming. We probably became closest to Leslie and Lloyd at that time, and Jack and Jill, both remarkable couples. A new pastor had just started at the church, and we joined during his first New Member Class. We ushered sometimes, attended church every Sunday, and helped Jack organize baseball games.

Then I was the social activities coordinator, Clifton Ministries shepherd, wedding helper, deacon, deacon moderator, part-time photographer, commitment committee volunteer, season of service committee volunteer, communications committee volunteer… All things I like, all things I wanted to do. But when the need is that great for your time, it becomes work. And the problem is, there is great need there. And I want to help, I really do. But personally (I know others feel differently about volunteering their time), I cannot afford, any more, to give my time away like that. Because to be brutally honest, at times, by some people, I felt un-thanked, excluded, and treated with hostility.

The funny thing is, I believe more than ever in God. Or “God,” if that sounds better. It happened while watching Naked and Afraid with Dave one night. I thought to myself, “How on earth could we have gotten where we are today without someone or something helping us???”

I plan on visiting the churches in my neighborhood. I strongly believe that churches should be the foundation of community ministry. Their main purpose should be to help those in need (which can vary from mental health to finding a good repair guy for your house to homelessness). And everyone who lives in the neighborhood should have to pay a subscription for these purposes. And possibly attend meetings so that we are aware of what is going on in our immediate worlds. We are so focused on our smart phones these days that sometimes it is hard to even meet our neighbors. If my husband wasn’t already booked Thursday night then I would go to our town meeting in Grant Park. I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls recently, and their town meetings always look like fun.

There is a lot going on with me right now, but I’m excited about all of it.