Saturday, October 25, 2008

Just Need to Say This About Palin

I recognize how dangerous it is to say anything that ventures into personal territory regarding a very public politician. I'm gonna do it anyway.

And here it is: Pursuing a vice presidential bid is insulating Sarah Palin from much of the pain that's inherent to raising a child with special needs.

I don't care how many families of children with Down Syndrome border the rope line to greet her. Meeting them and hearing about their individual triumphs and tragedies is akin to experiencing your life as a movie. Only when every string of moments that comprise her days starts to feel as unreal as a cinematic creation will she be able to understand the poignancy of a life forever altered by chance. And I'm not talking about the entertaining, feel-good political Hollywood story she's living now. I'm referring to the documentary her life has become. (Even if she's not fully aware.) The kind of truth expose' that few choose to sit through, and yet those who do leave forever changed.

I'm watching you Sarah Palin, and I'm remembering. Each glimpse of you with Trig gives me an opportunity to replay our family's story as I tune-in to witness yours. When I don't see you with him, you are just a politician to me. Basically, when he's out of sight, your unique circumstances are out of my mind. And I remember that feeling in a personal way too. Like you, I relished my hours at work, knowing my husband or someone else was caring for my son until my work day ended and I had to head home.

And so, I've started praying for you, Sarah Palin. (We are the same age after all, so I identify more than you know.) I'm praying that your crash into reality goes smoothly. And that your eventual day of deeply personal enlightenment might serve our country well no matter the title that accompanies your name: vice president, governor or mom.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Long Live Elvis!

I continue to believe that Elvis Presley transcends life and circumstance. And it's not just because of the simple, universal beauty of his music. I believe it's connected to the perpetual essence of who he is--a spirit that continues to bring joy into lives.

Take tonight for instance. I delighted in a performance by a group of musicians from Lifeworks (all of whom have profound developmental disabilities) called Musical Syndrome. They exuberantly performed several Elvis tunes as part of a rock band. And they played all the instruments of a rock band while singing as edgy and passionately as Elvis himself used to.

And I had to wonder: How did they ever learn about Elvis? What ever caused them to connect with The King? Because each one of them was certainly connected.

One man--the drummer--took the stage only after walking directly to a life-sized Elvis cut-out. (BTW: The cutout Elvis was sporting the gold lame suit). The man spent at least one full minute speaking privately to the cutout. N one could hear what he was saying. We could only see the interaction. As we watched, he stopped talking long enough to reach up to stand the collar of his shirt at attention then quietly offered a private comment to the visage of his alter ego. As the exchange ended, he touched his hand to his lips, kissed his fingers, and then touched them to the mouth of the cardboard Elvis before taking his place on the throne of his drum set. And, yes, he kept a steady, pulsing beat as his group proceeded to rock the house.

Totally captivating. Purely joyful.

So, yep. I think humans have an intuitive ability to connect to Elvis' spirit. Or maybe we have the ability to connect to the same spirit Elvis did when he was regularly rocking inhabitants of this world.

It's gotta be something transcendental. There's just no other way to explain it. And how cool is that?

Long live Elvis! Long live The King!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


There are days when it seems we could prove the entire world is connected--if we could only see the connecting threads.

Today was such a day.

Many of the people I encountered this day are connected to me through relationships that pre-date my knowledge of their existence. Still others are connected as friends from earlier realms of living--high school, former church home, former job--and their lives circle back to cohorts who may not have known of our shared friendship. But today the threads were made known.

I get the visual imagery of a ball of yarn being tossed around, criss-crossing the globe until a web holds everyone fast.

And you know what? I like thinking of that type of connectedness. I like believing each of our lives matters to another--actually lots of others. Maybe even into the dozens, hundreds or thousands.

A shout out to you, Joy Harris. Thanks for asking Beaverdale Books about Involuntary Joy and for giving Pastor Jane the idea for a Breakfast Conversation. I am blessed by the life we all shared this day. And you helped make both happen. Our lives are forever linked...perhaps they always have been. Many blessings to you, Kevin and Grace.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I miss you...

I miss writing. The kind of writing that formed Involuntary Joy.

I miss the quietness of thought. The laid-bare, emotional examination and gut-wrenching introspection that demand honesty...and communion. It's probably the communion I miss most--an irreplaceable kind of alone time with the divine.

I feel things beginning to perk inside again. The kind of things that bubble forth as revealing words of witness to a life that few know of firsthand.

So I'll welcome these things as they flow. And I'll keep them close, pondering their wonder in my heart. Someday soon they'll shape what comes next.