It was a busy weekend

and I’m not all that sure it even happened.

Of course it did; there’s too much proof.

It just happened quickly, and I need more time.

I sought out a few of you to vent or catch up or what not.

Thanks for being around.

If you weren’t around, it happens.

Can’t argue with that.

Just like this past weekend.

Catch you next time.

I Love My French Class SO. MUCH.

We watched this in class today. If you have a spare 21 minutes and a translator handy, please, please, PLEASE watch it. I’m sorry there’s no translation. I’m sorry the video quality is crummy. I’m sorry that most of these French short films make me cry for exhibiting so many shades of brilliance and constantly high levels of awesomeness. I wanted to bounce off the walls and dance with people and just keep saying over and over how cool this film is. I stayed in my desk instead, deciding to downplay the reaction a little, just like the French.

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EMILIE MULLER (2/2), posted with vodpod

Whirlwindia

A cute little puppy walked along a grassy path. The puppy’s name was Yip. Her floppy ears flopped and her thin, high tail bounced as she ambled through the tall grass. What Yip didn’t realize was that she wasn’t on a path, but in a meadow, fluffy with flowers and butterflies.

Indeed, it was a butterfly that led Yip off a path where many others before her had worn the grass short and even left a few bald patches. She followed that dancing pair of wings, and the unsuspecting insect drew her closer to a dark, damp forest.

She didn’t really notice the grass brushing her coat as her jaunt carved a little puppy trail through the meadow. A gentle breeze swept along, and the green, filamentous stalks bowed briefly before springing upright, reaching again for the sun which had only woken a few hours ago.

The butterfly caught a mellow draft and found a spot in space that Yip was lucky enough to see. The shiny, delicate powder on its wings reflected the sun’s rays and spread the light like magic. Yip saw colors and joy. She dared not blink, fearing the butterfly might disappear, but her tail whipped back and forth, a happy metronome.

Yip and the butterfly came closer to the forest. The butterfly crossed the meadow’s boundary into the weald, and the cute little puppy eagerly followed. Her paws immediately felt damp earth. Her eyes did not adjust quickly enough to the abrupt darkness, and she thought she went blind. Her tail lowered, and she sighed a low whimper.

But the butterfly seemed to beckon the cute little puppy, for she caught sight of it again when her pupils widened, allowing her to see the shadows and silhouettes of trees. Yip knew trees. Those magical wings led her through a gauntlet of bubbling mud and swarms of mosquitoes close enough to tickle Yip’s ears.

Even though Yip was a cute little puppy, she knew she should feel scared, and she was. But she also somehow knew the butterfly would not hurt her.

Sometimes the butterfly flew too fast. Its wings still held their shine, so Yip would see a flash and then it would go dark before appearing from behind a tree. Her confidence began to grow and her cautious steps turned  into a determined chase through the forest.

Yip felt, but did not see the other animals in the forest watching her: Owls and foxes and squirrels; snakes and hawks and things with pointy teeth. Their eyes glowed green or red, and Yip felt, but did not see this. Even as a cute little puppy, Yip knew where she didn’t belong.

The butterfly floated along, and Yip followed, and they eventually passed through the forest into a cute, little village. The butterfly picked up a swift return wind, leaving the cute little puppy alone.

She wandered along the village’s quiet streets and realized the whole place looked familiar to her, from the houses to the stores to the other puppies and their dog parents.

She had been here before, and this scared her.

But she knew she couldn’t be there long.

Yip began introducing herself to everybody. She said her name is Yip. Her name is Yip, she said.

And everybody smiled at her. Or they hugged her. Or they smiled and hugged her.

She was confused, but something told her she shouldn’t be, because if she had been there before, then these people already knew her. And if everybody looked so familiar, she wondered why she didn’t feel closer to them.

What had she forgotten?

Across the cute little town, the bell tower pealed and everyone filed toward the church. Yip lagged behind but was close enough to watch the double doors open and vacuum up all the villagers. She heard piano music and could no longer control her curiosity. She ran and stepped into the chapel just before the doors closed.

Yip slipped into a rear bench. She saw the most beautiful woman standing in front of the altar. Her eyes smiled and brimmed with tears at the same time while she faced a very handsome man. They held each other’s hands.

The priest pronounced the couple husband and wife, and the couple kissed. The piano started again, and the bells chimed. The couple walked with linked arms back down the aisle while everyone stood. Tails wagged everywhere.

Just before the couple stepped through the chapel doors, the new bride turned and looked at Yip. She smiled at Yip and the warmest, most comforting feeling overcame the cute little puppy.

Yip was her cute little puppy.

The couple left, and everyone dispersed.

Yip knew it was time to go back.

She crossed the village and bounded through forest and across the meadow to where it meets shorter grass and occasional bald patches.

She knew the butterfly wouldn’t be there.

Because I Don’t Have Time for Words Today

Here’s a link for a live chat between one of my favorite classical musicians and a Pulitzer-Prize winning composer.

Plus – you can hear her newest album over there, at NPR. Nifty!

I’m unfamiliar with Jennifer Higdon, but I imagine she’s incredible if she’s in cahoots with Hilary.

This is going to be a busy week, and I’m going to try my best not to snap at you, but emotions are running way, way too high.

Love you, all the same.

A Long Enough Quote

Sometimes God moves loudly, as if spinning to another place like ball lightning. God is, oddly, personal; this God knows. Sometimes en route, dazzlingly or dimly, he shows an edge of himself to souls who seek him, and the people who bears those souls, marveling, know it, and see the skies carousing around them, and watch cells stream and multiply in green leaves. He does not give as the world gives; he leads invisibly over many years, or he wallops for thirty seconds at a time. He may touch a mind, too, making a loud sound, or a mind may feel the rim of his mind as he nears.

“To entreat and to intercede is to transform situations powerfully. God participates in bad conditions here by including them in his being and ultimately overcoming them. True prayer surrenders to God; that willing surrender itself changes the situation a jot or two by adding power which God can use. Since God works in and through existing conditions, I take this to mean that when the situation is close, when your friend might die or might live, then your prayer’s surrender can add enough power – mechanism unknown – to tilt the balance. . . . God’s activity is by no means interference, but instead divine creativity – the ongoing creation of life with all its greatness and danger. I don’t know. I don’t know beans about God.”

– Annie Dillard, For the Time Being

Really interesting and compelling commentary on prayer and the power of God. Church leaders from many denominations can agree generally on the transforming powers of prayer.

Ms. Dillard says she doesn’t know beans about God. And this comes close to the end of her book, almost 200 pages of philosophizing and observing and sincere searching. She doesn’t know beans.

I don’t know beans.

But, we probably know more than we think we know. And God always gives us credit for what we know.

At a regional conference in the Marriott Center on Sunday, one of the speakers, Julie B. Beck, suggested that we’re doing better than we think we are, but we could also be doing better than we really are.

I bet the “mechanism unknown” involves faith, if it’s not faith itself.

We pray when we want perspective. We pray when we want God’s help.

I needed both last night after talking on the phone with someone.

Paradoxically, surrendering myself isn’t the same as giving up. It’s anti-quitting.

I know I could be doing better.

I just don’t know how I’m doing.

My Apologies to Dr. Hawking if My Doubts Were His Tipping Point

Open-mindedness. Tolerance. Acceptance. These are very important to me, and I’ve made a concerted effort in my life to exercise these concepts. Such assertions of late have caused doubts and questions to emerge that I haven’t considered about religion and church and God and spirituality. And my relationship to people who don’t believe the same things I was brought up to believe.

Life is a process. It’s learning and progressing and striving for happiness. And I’ve always taken this seriously.

I deeply appreciate and admire the great minds of our time and throughout history. I’ve lauded the reverence they seemed to have for higher powers or whatever they couldn’t understand. To me, they’ve always allowed room for God. Something. Something that encompasses infinity and eternity, speaking the language of numbers and natural laws, languages they’ve only taken the span of a lifetime to comprehend. Intrinsically, it has to take longer to grasp what infinity and eternity mean.

And then one of the great geniuses of our time up and says stuff in his upcoming book.

Now, he doesn’t deny God’s existence; he just says that the Creator didn’t create the universe.

And if anything should rub me the wrong way, it’s something like this.

Now, my mental capacity is nowhere near Dr. Hawking’s. I haven’t devoted my life to trying to calculate and compute and empiricize and theorize in order to understand.

But, I have prayed.

And God has told me.

So, I know.

Dr. Hawking’s claims were my tipping point. Spending the summer questioning and struggling and researching and trying to reason wasn’t making me happy.

Faith isn’t a rational device: There are no existing extrapolations for it.

I have to thank him, though, one of the greatest minds in history.

Instead of being an apologist for everyone else, he helped me turn into a defender of myself and my personal beliefs.

Things aren’t perfect yet, they’re not quite balanced, and it might take a while – even forever – but they’ll get there.

Welcome to the World of Cognitive Dissonance: Mars and Venus

We watched this film in French class last week, and while the guys laughed at the end, the women were visibly shocked. I had watched it on my own earlier in the week and reacted internally even then. But, admittedly, it pissed me off. I found a version with English subtitles for you. I wish you could experience this entirely in French, but I believe the emotions evoked are universal, and you’ll appreciate it.

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