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Remember Me

July 3, 2010

Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it.”
Mahatma Gandhi

When my Mom popped Remember Me into the DVD player, I wasn’t sure that I was in the mood for a teen heartthrob find yourself teach your parents a lesson live your own life let out your feelings let go of your past kind of drama.  Which, from the description and the fact that it starred a Twilighter (hey, I was there in the movie theater when all the girls screamed as soon as Taylor Lautner stepped on the scene in Valentine’s Day, for crying out loud), I was pretty certain it would be.  But I sure was in the mood to curl up under a blanket and watch a movie with my Mom, so in the movie went.

Early in the movie, Robert Pattinson’s character, Tyler, shares the Gandhi quote above.  Being a firm believer that every action – from my footstep on the pavement to the hello I say to a chance stranger – is somehow critically important in God’s grand scheme, it spoke to me.  But I dismissed it as the typical feel-good quote that they always try to work into teen dramas to make it deep.

I was wrong.  Remember Me has gone up on my list of the best movies ever.

It was painstakingly well crafted, from the casting to the mood lighting to the minimalist soundtrack to the cinematography and bookend narration.  The development was subtle and unpredictable.  The movie as a whole was stunningly beautiful.  At the end, I could hardly breathe as frame after frame tied the movie together, and wove each of Tyler’s insignificant acts into a perfect whole.

And the very last frame?  It was perfect healing in tragedy.

The movie will stay with me as a reminder that no life is a waste and no matter how empty or undecided it may be, it too has beauty and purpose if lived with love.  A story may end but the capillaries and arteries of love will continue to bring life to everyone in it.

Light in the Depths

June 30, 2010

And speaking of reflections, I took this deep in a dark, 500-ft gorge today.  It’s not a fantastic picture, but it’s still amazing to me.  Can you see why?

The light?  The darkness has not overcome it.

The Colors of Grace

June 29, 2010

For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be glory forever.  Amen.  Romans 11:36

My family and I spent a day at the beach.  And we took this thing with us.

I didn’t think much of it at first except that it was pretty cute, and really helpful.

And then I thought it made for a few fabulous photos.  It really drew my camera.

I also began to notice its reflection on every surface in the vicinity.

And I noticed its colors in the filtered light on our hair.

And I realized that I seemed unable to take a photo without the colors in it – somewhere.

It colored our vision.

As I flipped through the photos that evening, I laughed, seeing the colors everywhere.

That is how my life is meant to be.  Every frame of my life ought to reflect the light and the beauty of God.  His glory transforms every facet of my existence; it brings vibrance and life to every breath I take.

I can only hope that this is as evident in the pieces of my life as these colors from a day at the beach.

Hello, Cincinnati.

June 26, 2010

Andy and I have been doing this crazy thing – buying a house site unseen.  So when the closing date got pushed back and we were actually able to be present for the home inspection, we were thrilled.  We were even more thrilled when we found that the pictures we’d seen didn’t even come close to doing the house justice.

While we were at peace about buying the house without seeing it in person, it wasn’t until after I stepped foot inside that I really felt as though I was headed for a real place, and a real new home.

And although we had a great deal of contentment and confidence in our purchase before, it sure is nice to have that weight of trepidation and anticipation removed.

So it’s done, and so it begins.  The goodbyes are said, and here comes hello!!!

Eyes to See

June 24, 2010

The world is full of beauty to be seen and touched and felt… but it takes work.

I try.  I try everyday.  It helps me to compose sentences in my head, and to search for just the right frame for a photo.  It pushes me to see the water drops that shine like stars on my baby sister’s eyes when she resurfaces from the swimming pool, and to feel the poignancy when a child says that “this was the best day… ever.”  In fact, I’m rarely ever not turning phrases in my head.

And then I like to come and share this with you.

If the writing is imperfect, or the picture is poorly composed, it only shows me how far I have to go in fully appreciating the value of all the beautiful things in life.

But if the writing is engaging, and the picture captures your heart, I thank God for the grace he’s given me in allowing me to dig deep and to have eyes to see his creative glory.

No matter what, I’m seizing life, through my own mediums.  I’m looking for the joy and humor and depth to be found in insignificance.  I just happen to do it through writing and photography.

And today I was just wondering… where and how do others find beauty?  Am I silly?  I’d love to hear the little places of your lives that bring joy… and how you manage to see it.

Goodbye, Phila. #8 – The Art Museum

June 21, 2010

This is my last Philadelphia post, and I saved it for last because for some reason saying goodbye to the Art Museum was one of the saddest things that I have done in these past weeks.  It was also the very last place we visited before we ran out of time, and it was just a little emotional for me.

It was a dreary day when we visited, which only enhanced one of the the features of the museum that has always captured my imagination – its mystery.  Of course, can one wander and wander through rooms and mazes and keep finding incredible masterpieces around every turn.

But even more than that, each bit of furniture, each old stone gate uprooted and reinstalled, each sword carefully preserved, each painting tells a story of someone’s life and, more often than not, a collective life.

I can’t pause beneath the cathedral gates in the Medieval gallery without wondering how many souls passed underneath them as they went about their everyday lives, never dreaming where those gates would end up.  I see the empress’ bed in the Oriental room and can almost see her lying down to go to sleep in the evening.  I look at the ridged paint strokes on the Impressionist’s canvases and I wonder what Monet was wearing as his brush touched the palette.  And when I stare at that viking sword in the Armor gallery – quite possibly my favorite item in the whole museum – I can hardly breathe to think of what a weapon of mass destruction that was in its time, and whose blood once coated its blade?

And the sheer volume of masterpieces – the multitudes of patterns and styles and colors and mediums.  Standing before the collective creativity of generations never fails to humble me and make me feel small.

And then there’s the architecture of the building itself. The Grand Hall doesn’t speak grandeur so much as it declares the gravity of all the works, stories, and treasures kept within the building’s walls.

And when you step outside, and see all of Philadelphia laid at your feet, it’s impossible to help feeling small in contemplation of history behind you and the future before you.

I soaked up every bit of mystery, drama, and wonder that I could in this short visit to the museum.  I don’t know when I’ll be back.  But it will all still be waiting, growing older and older, as I grow older along with it.

Goodbye, Phila. #7 – Visible History

June 19, 2010

Worn-down stone stoops in Old City Philadelphia have always grabbed my attention.  I point them out to Andy as we drive through, squealing “WOW!  Look at THAT one!” and distracting Andy from the poor pedestrian crossing the street.

So one evening we went on a walk just to see how many we saw.  Andy got really into it right along with me.  And we saw a lot.  So, of course, I popped a few photos.

I don’t have much to say about these stoops.  They may seem quite boring to many of you.  But if you just let your imagination run a bit… wondering how many styles of shoes contributed to the wearing away of the stone over the last 300 years; how many visitors and errands knocked on the door of these houses; of all the news in the history of America that was carried across these steps.

If you just think about it a little… it really is quite fascinating, isn’t it?