Monday, April 25, 2011

The Jesus Story

Easter was the day for Jesus movies. I didn't realize how many there have been. Mel Gibson's bloodfest was on one station, Max Von Sydow was on another. Jesus Christ Superstar was on, too, as well as well as Raymond Burr looking horribly awkward as the apostle Peter.

Charlton Heston was parting the Red Sea, too, as Yul Brynner wondered if maybe he should have held back the troops.

These movies are influential. There was a recent article talking about the masses who have become Christians thanks to Cecil B. DeMille's "King of Kings" - made before the talkies, and so more easily understood by non-English speaking audiences.

And for my money, there's no movie that hits the story of Jesus better than the 1961 King of Kings, with Jeffrey Hunter and those piercing blue eyes.

My parents were devout Catholics, and I used to watch King of Kings with my whole heart - sobbing until there was a lump in my throat when they killed him. I got teary, too, when Pilate screamed "Die if you want to, you innocent puppet!" in Superstar. It all seemed so unjust, so unfair. It was.

And I now see the story of Jesus differently - as an outsider, an observer. I now find religion to be a divisive force. And something struck me. We (I'm including me here, too - this is a human we) find something particularly powerful from the story of sacrifice for our sakes. God is willing to kill His Son. Jesus, despite his last-minute doubts, dies for us. And our response to that extreme attempt to finally shake humanity out of its selfishness certainly gets our attention. But I have to conclude that it didn't work. Humanity is selfish, with generous potential that it occasionally taps.

And I find myself understanding Judas' point of view. Whether Jesus' story is fact or fiction, it raises a powerful question. Was it worth it? Were we really worth it?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Recognizing Your Fairy Godparents...

I wrote a whining, self-pitying little soliloquy here earlier this week, ending with a plaintive cry for a fairy godmother to show up and - poof! - lead me to the land of happily ever after.

And within hours I got, as we almost always do, a version of what I requested. What the universe provides is almost always more interesting than what we ask for.

I've been feeling stretched out. Dried up. So brittle that the next morning's step out of bed might result in a loose pile of Susan dust on the floor.

Negativity's had the helm and it never steers toward anyplace I enjoy. But it just felt like too much effort to try to wrestle it back.

Then a friend called - surprising me with word of mouth about my book (that link's not a hint, Reader - that's to save you looking around going "What book?"). A woman I've never met contacted me to find out about other possible projects related to my stories. Two other people I know want to get together for coffee - just because they want to. My guy's finishing his album and not only didn't laugh when I wondered if bagpipes were what were needed on one rockin' love song, he tried them (jury's out but cool to hear).

What do all these things have in common? A nice treat for the ego, which really needs some love now and again. An assurance that I'm seen, I'm heard, my work has value, that I'm not just a waste of air. Don't you worry about that sometimes? When you get stuck in a routine, going through the motions and going nowhere, don't you wonder if you, the Individual You, even matters?

I woke this morning realizing each of these people could easily be pictured in shimmering gossamer, wand in hand and benevolent smile on beautiful faces. My fairy godparents are everywhere, and they've been stopping by for a visit.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I want to be a writer, she said....

It feels like a gray morning by the sea lately...I can't see very far ahead and instead of seeing what's around me, I'm preoccupied by the fact that I'm uncomfortable.

Changes are ahead, that I know for certain. Our home base will be changing. We have unanswered questions about how we'll accommodate our unique and particular work needs to the new space. My life in the 9 to 5 world continues to change and I cannot see where it's going.

All the lifestyle coaches tell us we can't get where we want to go if we don't name the destination. I want to write. Full time.

I've got a book out in the electronic world, a book I haven't got time or energy to promote, which is akin to leaving a birthday cake out in the street. Chances are it's not going to be appreciated if it isn't delivered to the right people.

I've become "the writer" at my place of work, which means I'm often editing other people's work. And I don't mind - it feels like at least an imitation of what I'd like to be doing. I write articles and columns for a couple of websites and publications. That's not bad, either.

But I'm losing energy for things I usually enjoy - some work that's usually a joy has become a chore. I circle around writing that is fun like a suspicious dog...sniffing but keeping my distance.

It's a spell, I know. It will pass, as these moods do, and a new feeling will take its place. But I read too many fairy tales as a child. I'm waiting for my own personal fairy to appear, tap me on the shoulder with her twinkling silver wand, and poof! I'm living happily ever after. Somehow after all these years, part of me still thinks that should happen.