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“Gravity” brought us back to earth October 12, 2013

Posted by makingyourdashcount in death, faith, Life Journey, mourning, movies, Sarah, space.
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Warning ….Mild spoilers:

Last night my hubby and I plopped down $32 to see Gravity in 3D at the local IMAX theater. You have no idea how absurd that even is.  I am a $5 matinee kind of girl; I paid as he gave me a “you’ve got to be kidding” glance that surmised that I was crazy.  We then went and plunked down another $6 for a large soda, but at least it was a Coke Freestyle machine so I could make my favorite concoction (equal proportions Sprite 0, Fanta Free fruit punch, and soda water. YUM)

We settled in the IMAX seating.  The screen at the AMC was smaller than the screen at our local science museum, COSI, so I was a bit disappointed in that.   For the most part the movie was gripping.  The 3D effects were natural; it was nice not having contrived  images to make wearing ridiculous glasses bearable.  You don’t need corny effects for space.

The plot was a bit contrived, but..  it’s a space disaster movie, so …whatever.  Sometimes it nice to suspend reality and let the vines grow around the movie theater seat. So suspended we were, through the action scenes involving rogue satellite parts and shattering spacecraft.  The scientist that my husband is exclaimed that Bullock’s character better hold onto something when she reached for the fire extinguisher the first time!  We were suspended.  And then Sandra Bullock’s character, Ryan Stone,  started talking about her 4  year old daughter who died unexpectedly in an accident. I can’t quote the lines exactly ( or at all)  but she talked about her daughter’s tangle of hair, a tangle that a brush couldn’t go through.  At that point, I looked at John and saw his emotion.  Our daughter, Sarah, whom we lost at 16 quite unexpectedly, had a tangle of hair that even at 16 she frequently gave up on!  Then Stone’s daughter’s name, Sarah, was uttered.  My husband and I held hands through the rest of that scene, as one.

It was unexpected and (unfortunately) took us out of suspended reality because we identified with this mom.  We knew Sarah. We knew where Ryan Stone was, because in so many ways, we are there, too.  Loss of a child is sometimes treated sappily in movies and on TV.  but this was really spot on. I identified with Stone wanting to believe in heaven, who wouldn’t? But Stone suspended her own secular humanist reality by wanting that for her daughter- a point that was interesting in a movie with so much religious imagery.    In so many ways we connected with this character.  Our empathy was with Stone; our tears were for our Sarah.

I’ve read some critiques that the movie Gravity is really a chic flick in spacesuits.  Perhaps.  I would prefer to think that it’s an action flick with some humanity.   All in all, it was a good night out.  Was it worth $16/ each?  It is “just a movie,” but it really was a fast paced 90 minutes that really should be seen in 3-D.  Read the reviews and decide for yourselves.  I am glad that we went. I mean, it is Sandra Bullock.

Oh yeah, George Clooney’s in it, too.

Prayer Quandries February 14, 2010

Posted by makingyourdashcount in Uncategorized.
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This has the potential to offend; if it offends you I apologize.  But I’ve always found the expression “I’ll pray for you,” curious and feel a need to write through this.  “I’ll pray for you” is an expression that has gained popularity in recent years; I never heard it as a child, even though I grew up in as religiously diverse a community as one could and attended a Methodist school.  Unfortunately,  this expression has been directed to me  many times in my life, from the loss of one of my brothers and daughter and difficult decisions in the final days of my mother’s life, but what does this really mean and what is the purpose of telling someone this sentiment?  Does one think that praying for someone will invoke divine intervention that will change outcomes?  Or is it really synonymous for “I’m thinking about you,” an emphatic note of support?

When Sarah was in elementary school, there was a mom’s prayer group that got together on Wednesday mornings at one of the member’s home to pray for the students and teachers of the school.  HUH?  Yes, there were at risk students there who could use divine intervention and I am sure there were teachers who could use divine guidance on how to work with these students; however, did these moms think that their prayer would make a difference?  If so, how?  Did they think that their prayers over coffee and cookies would do more than their sitting with these at risk students as tutors, like other moms did?  Obviously, or they would have tutored the students.

I have always ascribed to the concept of praying with one’s feet when there is a need for something.  Although I have found personal peace in the quiet action of praying, in finding that spiritual center, I have no expectations that prayer goes further than that. Prayer can bring a peace that helps one heal.  Prayer can bring peace to help one make tough decisions. But prayer without the right physicians will not cure a cancer;  prayer without antibiotics will not cure an infection.  Prayer without a check sent to a trusted agency does not rebuild homes.

So I am curious.  As tragedies unfold, why do people share the sentiment that they are praying?  Is it because that the action of prayer lets them feel as they are doing something to help remedy the tragic suffering of others?  Or do they think that their prayer will invoke a divine intervention?  Even more curious, why do FaceBook and other public prayer groups sprout?  Are they basically a communal concern group who feel a need to share with others but have no other outlet.  I wonder if the people who publicly pray understand that others “just don’t get it” and may feel put off by their intention, especially when those prayers are directed toward them.

When people have said to me,” I’ll keep you in my prayers,”  I’ve always translated that to I’ll be thinking about you and say thank you.  Maybe I do that because I understand that outreach.  I appreciate people’s empathy, even when there is little that they can do to remedy the situation.   But the outgrowth of public prayer groups was described by someone recently, who was the target of the prayers as “creepy.”  If it is seen as “creepy,” the purpose of the group must be more self centered than directed, since the recipient would prefer it not exist.  That is not a judgment, just a statement.

So I continue to struggle with the concept of communal prayer.  For if I were to believe in divine intervention, I would also have to accept that for some reason God hates our family, since we have had more than our fair share of challenges.  My mother once said, “I don’t believe in a God who micromanages.  God has more important things to do than meddle in my life.”  With that, I will still connect with the hurt and will step forward when financial assistance is needed in disaster, but I will keep my prayers to myself.