Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Looking Up

     I watched the Pixar movie "Up" the other morning with Jim, Margaret and Marie. The opening scene was so very moving. I was not expecting it, though Bruce told me long ago that I would love it, and that I'd cry. I did tear up. It was good on so many levels--humor, animation, artistry, and the priorities in our lives.
     The opening scene was a montage of eight decades of "Carl and Ellie's" life together; it was precious. Eighty years seemed so short. Life is, really. The present is here for only a moment and then it is a memory. Good moments and tragic moments follow the same rules of time. I reminisce often about my life, my childhood, my adolescence, the sad ending of my first marriage, my life with Bob, our two daughters and the earth-shaking loss of him, of meeting and falling in love with Bruce, our marriage, our family. Someday I won't be here and all those memories will be gone, save for what I have shared with my children.

Me, ten years old, at the Bowerman's
     In the movie, Ellie keeps a scrapbook. I won’t let on about any more, but since watching it I have felt a greater thankfulness for my life, it's past, and it's present with Bruce and our children. In the busy-ness of activities and schedules and "Time Maps" I can lose focus on what is important. I'll never get it perfect, but I'll keep trying.
     Before we knew that Bob's father had Alzheimer's, "Pop" remarked about an elderly man who was increasingly feeble and decreasingly productive. He felt sorry for the gentleman, who had been a college professor with a PhD in Molecular Biology and Botany, and could not imagine how hard it would be. He joked about what we should do if it ever happened to him.
     Pop was still living at home when he lost his only son. He had Alzheimer's and was seldom lucid anymore.  His wife, beloved "Grammy," was distraught and had a hard time with helping me make the decision about an autopsy. Her son had died so suddenly and it was very difficult. Pop took the phone and in one of his last truly lucid moments that I remember, gently and lovingly counseled me to have it done. "You have to know for the children, and it's OK with us. We love you."
     Pop has passed away. He lived such a humble yet rich life. Much of it we know from our time with him, his stories and scrapbooks like Ellie’s. I know there was so much more. I know that in myself there are profound things I have seen and experienced that no other soul knows. Will all of that just drift away into nothingness when I die?  I am convinced that it will not.  I believe that we are here by the hand of a loving Creator who knows us more than we know ourselves. All that we are is because of Him and is known by Him. All that we have experienced will always be with Him. I trust Him.
St. Ignatius of Loyola prayed a beautiful prayer:
     "Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me: I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more."

St. Ignatius of Loyola
      I lifted up Margaret after a long afternoon walk yesterday. I looked up with her at the blue sky as we passed our house and the cross on top of the cupola. I hugged her and kissed her for the hundredth time that day, amazed that I could love her so much and that I could be so blessed, even in this old body, with the experience of giving her life and watching her grow. I may be older and weaker, but His love and grace have made me full. My cup truly runs over.

The movie inspired me--to look “Up.”
God bless,
The Abbey Farm

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