Monday, December 29, 2014

Life Imitates Art?

Rebooting this blog as I embark on a new chapter in my life...
I'm not a big movie buff, but I know what I like. I'm not your typical guy-slash-action movie buff. In fact, they bore me to tears. The best movie I've seen in 2014 was "Ida", a film from Poland that knocked my socks off with its acting, its story (slow reveal) and (most of all) its incredible cinematography. You could pause the frame at almost any point and have an incredible, classic, B&W image for your local art gallery. SUPERB. If you haven't seen it, "get thee to a nunnery". (I kill me.)

In any event, life imitates art: The film "Stranger Than Fiction" (for example) explains that a story (or a life) is either a comedy or a tragedy. The great Mel Brooks once allegedly said: "Tragedy is when I cut my finger; comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die". It all depends upon your perspective. Well my life might currently be defined as a tragedy by some: My youngest daughter was killed in a car accident 2-1/2 years ago. Her husband and 15 month old daughter were seriously injured. In the wake of that, my entire family imploded. Some would see this as a tragedy (and it is: my heart has been broken open WIDE). But life goes on (in this system of things, at least.) My daughter, Raven, is going to be blown away by what happened in the wake of her death when she "rises in the Last Day" (as understood/explained by the sister of Lazarus in the Bible at John 11:24).

Fast forward to where I am today: "Celebrating" my 35th anniversary to the only woman I have ever loved, by moving out of my home and to a crappy apartment in a town of 647 (now 648) people... 35 miles away. I'm doing it because the woman I love wants it and I'm the farm boy in The Princess Bride who can only say to his True Love, "As you wish".

This blog is being rebooted to serve as an online journal of this new chapter in my life. After living with a gourmet cook for the past 35 years, I'm set to learn a few things in the kitchen on my own. In addition to cooking, I'm interested in (among other things), photography, stormchasing, and astronomy (hopefully astrophotography soon). In addition, I have professional (job-related) interests including web design, graphic design, typography, screen printing, videography and video production. This blog may touch on many of those subjects. I'm also intensely interested in helping other people learn Bible truths.

I also plan on using this blog to stay in touch with my only granddaughter, Hazel, who is as precious to me as my own three daughters (as well as their loving husbands). I want them all to know how much I love them, despite my personal flaws and failings. I hope to be reunited with my loving family one day soon.

One of my favorite movies is Wes Anderson's "The Royal Tenenbaums" (screenplay here. My oldest daughter recently said on Pinterest: "This is my family." And in many ways, I'm afraid that it is. My kids were, in many ways, geniuses. (and in many ways, they still are.) My oldest daughter, Jasmin, took cake decoration classes with a bunch of middle aged ladies when she was 13. She has organized multiple beautiful weddings (and wedding receptions). She currently manages the most incredible coffee shop between Omaha and Denver. My middle daughter, Rivkah, is an awesome artist (named a "Super Kid" by the local television station while she was still in Middle School), and now an awesome elementary teacher of Art to elementary students where she has First Graders understanding the color wheel and the difference between "objective" and "non-objective" art. My daugher Raven was, before her untimely death, two semesters away from being an awesome Special Education teacher. Even as a very young child she would express concern, when seeing a disabled person, by saying earnestly "Oh, I LOVE him." My wife, Rebecca, a J.R.R. Tolkien scholar and university professor, is well-portrayed as the mother character, played by Anjelica Huston. And I'm the Gene Hackman character (the Pater Familias) who actually takes it as as complement when his rival tells him that he views him, not as an "asshole", but as "more of a son-of-a-bitch".

But most of all, my family has endured a great tragedy, like the one in The Royal Tenanbaums, that has claimed the life of the wife of Chas Tenenbaum, the oldest Tenenbaum son. This tragedy has left its scars. Just like the divorce of Royal and Etheline left its scars on the children. But while parents may separate from each other (at least for a time) they should never separate from their children. Yet the children will understandably identify with the feelings of one parent over the other, and with daughters it is the understandable if it is the mother's feelings that they most strongly identify with.

But if anything rings true in The Royal Tenenbaums it is that the father's love for all of them endures. He wants them back. They are his True North. And he is secure in his knowledge that part of what made them great ("geniuses" in fact) was his contribution to their upbringing - regardless of how deprecated that may be in their minds at this moment in time.

As Royal Tenenbaum says in (what I believe is) a crucial scene from the movie:

ROYAL: "But you can’t raise [kids] to be scared of life. You got to brew some recklessness into them."
ETHELINE: "I think that’s terrible advice."
ROYAL:(pause) "No, you don’t."

And he's right, and she knows it (as shown by her tacit silence). Like it or not, kids, you would not be the exact same awesome people you are right now if you had been raised by "the love of your mother's life", instead of me. Whether you recognize that to be true, or not, I will always KNOW that it is true. I know I have failed you in many important respects. I know I have damaged you in others. But please know that I love you and your mother (and your husbands) more than anyone alive on this planet. And if I had to pay this price to do it all over again (mistakes, missteps, and all) that I would. But, with the knowledge that I possess today, I would do quite a number of things differently. Sadly, time does not give me the opportunity of a "do over". But I will do what I can from this day forward to try to earn your forgiveness (and God's). God's forgiveness is assured. My family's is not, but I pray that I can earn it, in time, and that they will strive to imitate Jesus' words when teaching the "Lord's Prayer": "...and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Please, dear children and dear wife... forgive me my debts. I miss you all, more than words can say.