Category: God

To be read, carefully

emilyrapp Have you ever picked up a book that you knew was going to flatten you emotionally and yet you read it anyway? Willingly?

I know a great many people read to escape so why, therefore, would I want to read something that will have me ripping Kleenexes out the box and wishing the planet wasn’t such a broken place? I can only say sometimes I read to reflect and ponder, and that it’s good to be reminded that when love takes us to the crucible we re-learn how much love defines us not how hot the fire was.

I am adding “The Still Point of the Turning World,” to my To Be Read stack even though I know it’s the heart-wrenching memoir of a young mother who lost her precious little boy to Tay-Sachs disease, a rare and congenital condition that is always fatal. As in, always. Children with Tay-Sachs lack an enzyme responsible for breaking down specific chemicals in the nerve cells of the brain. When these chemicals aren’t removed,”they build up, and the child loses his or her ability to function. Seizures and loss of sight and movement are all symptoms of the child’s body shutting down.”

I read this excerpt, which just about tore me in two, and that actually clinched it for me.  I have to read the rest. I have to know what it was like for this mother to walk that road and come out on the other side, even if I would approach the same quest from a different faith. I believe those I love and who love God like I do will be forever with me in heaven. Could I survive an ordeal like this one if I didn’t? I’m thinking no. . .

In this interview, author Emily Rapp says:  “One of the things about having a terminally ill child is that you start to understand and really absorb your own mortality and the mortality of every single person that you love, and that is really terrifying, but it’s the truth.” Elsewhere in the interview she shares that there is no afterlife in her worldview. How does she cope? I have to know.

Life is as fragile as it is precious. Just reminding myself of this as a I write this makes me want to toss out every little inconvenience I am currently whining about and hug my four adult children. I admit I am a little afraid of that “still point” in the turning world that is the risk of loving people. But love is still worth the risk, don’t you think?


Life, ah, finds a way

I love that line from the movie Jurassic Park.

“Life, ah, finds a way.”

Remember it? It’s uttered early in the movie by the annoyingly right Dr. Malcolm well before any of the supporting cast have been eaten. He had just been told the dinosaurs at the park were all engineered to be female, that there would be no breeding, that everything at the park was masterfully under control because the scientists who ran it had a leash on life and had drawn it in tight.

And of course they were splendidly wrong.

It’s a great line. Creation is indeed bigger than we suppose. When God gave Adam lordship of the Garden, I think limitations were also given and that they still exist. We can manage the Garden but we can’t change what it is. Or recreate it. Or make it our slave.

We can only dabble with the orignal. Sometimes we come up with something lovely. Like the Black Velvet apricot I ate yesterday; which is the intriguingly beautiful pairing of a plum and an apricot. Sweet, velvety soft, an enchanting shade of midnight for its outer flesh, a soothing beige for its inside.

And sometimes we come up with something that it is lovely when it doesn’t run amok and devastating when it does. I’ve nothing against using fertility drugs but I shudder at what they allow us to do and what they routinely do all of their own. Two sets of sextuplets were born prematurely last week, one set in Minnesota, the other in Arizona. Three of the six born to the Minnesota couple have died. When the couple found out early on that six human beings were growing inside the wife’s womb, they were counseled to do the impossible: dispose of some of them from the get-go. They couldn’t do it. I couldn’t have either. Capricious life-taking should never be that easy.

Dr. Theodore Nagel, a University of Minnesota infertility specialist, said in a Star Tribune article on the surge of multiple births: “The problem is that you’re walking this line between getting pregnant and getting too pregnant.” That’s the key problem here. We can’t control the experiment. “Too” stands outside our boundaries.

Life is finding a way despite the confines we dare to place around it. It always will.

I offer no answers. Just an observation. We’ve forgotten the Garden is a wild thing. Untamed. Untameable. That’s what makes it breathtakingly wonderful and completely other. It’s what also makes it never completely ours.