Friday, August 29, 2008

::Heavier things

Tuesday evening, I sat down on my couch to watch The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
Within fifteen minutes, I was weeping.
It chronicles the experiences of French journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby in the aftermath of a massive stroke.
The early shots are entirely representative of his point of view so that we, the viewers, are seeing and experiencing the world precisely as he would have.
In 2002, a similar situation befell my grandfather, Robert Earl Borst (1913-2004). Thoughts of him and his indescribable grace and patience overwhelmed me until I became hysterical with fresh grief.

My brain embarks on long, complicated journeys of thought sometimes.
The departure depot could be as simple as "corn on the cob" and very soon I have somehow arrived at "satire in modern American literature."

This train, though not as "random" (a buzz word I tend to loathe), started with a subtitled French film, took a detour to my deceased grandfather, and led to the state of funerals in America.

One thing that I adore about the church I attend is that death is treated with the sorrow it warrants. Our pastor never sweeps grief under the unsightly rug of "There's no reason to be sad, they're in Paradise with Jesus!"
I'm no Biblical scholar. I have no seminary education. But I have a hunch that God would have a problem with people being commanded to swallow their grief because "death for a Christian is a celebration!"
Jesus wept at the news of His friend's death, and I read one commentary that suggested that His tears were - at least in part - due to the sorrow of death itself, because it was never supposed to happen.

According to the Bible, death has certainly been ultimately conquered by Christ, and I fully understand the hope that Christians claim alongside their grief. What I cannot abide, however, is those who deny that unmistakable coexistence.

I lost a close friend - Aaron Johnson - when he and I were both eleven.
During the summer between fifth and sixth grades, he was on vacation with his family. A lifelong asthma sufferer, he was plagued with an attack so profound that it ultimately killed him.
I lost two more close friends in fatal car accidents, one at sixteen and one at eighteen.
I've noticed that, at funerals for Christian young people, it seems that unabashed grief is more acceptable. They were "called home so soon", it's such a "horrible tragedy", it's "so unfair," etc.

I have been to many funerals for older folks, however, where open displays of grief were strongly discouraged.
I have heard the officiating pastors say, "This is not a funeral. This is a celebration!"
All four of my grandparents, all Christians, have passed away.
At two of the funerals, I was actually reprimanded for crying, with the obnoxious platitudes of "You wouldn't wish them back now, would you? Be happy for them!" and "Come on now, don't cry. You have to be strong for your parents."
To which I of course wanted to reply, "You know what would make me feel really happy and strong? If I could stab you in the forehead with a fork."
At a funeral for a friend of my grandparents', I noticed a very tearful woman hugging the deceased man's widow.
A nearby mourner actually said to her "Stop that right now! Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again, rejoice!"
I was speechless.
I still am.

Death, at any age, with plenty of time for preparation or none at all, is inevitably sad and guaranteed to be painful.
Denying these truths only serves to render their sting ever more powerful.

While discussing some of these concepts on the dining hall porch swing at Lake Louise with my friend Pastor Zachary, he said "I don't know how anyone who thinks funerals aren't supposed to be sad manages to find their way into their pants in the morning."
Amen, brother.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I like:

old yearbooks, my dad's laugh, green beans, red gerber daisies, long necklaces, the smell of rain, Karin Bergquists's voice, curled eyelashes, new books, abandoned buildings, distinctive penmanship, nonconformity, overstuffed chairs, handwritten notes, crisp chilly mornings at Lake Louise, word games, cute friendly dogs, rose-colored sky, ice water with lemon, decoupaged bookcases, sleeping late, long tight hugs, catharsis, fresh fruit salad, laughing until it hurts, comfortable silences, candid portraits, words that burrow in, chubby babies, good hair days, silly slang terms, lunch dates, watching the sun rise and set, pink bicycles with streamers, overcast afternoons, photo albums, poems that invade me, self-deprecation, sweet elderly men, addictive books, mango smoothies, friendly strangers, detailed daydreams, unforgettable films, guilty pleasures, brown with turquoise, npr, cityscapes at night, reconnecting with old friends, silver nail polish, charm bracelets, spontaneity, popcorn + milk duds at the movies, driving songs, trendy glasses, and expensive cameras.

Et tu?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

::Here comes the sun

Behold, the healing power of stillness.

I love cameras because they can freeze moments.
I hate them because they cannot freeze time.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

::pretty in pink

Tuesday night I saw Stepbrothers.
I'm still giggling about it.
I wish I could own it, like, right now.


In other news, I am so in love with my niece, it's ridiculous.

Yesterday was the first day I hadn't seen her since she'd been born, and I was literally aching. I missed her terribly.

Oh, my little Emma.
My adoration for her is indescribable.

Monday, August 4, 2008

::Guess what guess what guess what?

I'm an AUNTIE!

Emma Charlotte Highfield
August 4, 2008 @ 12:12 p.m.
7 lbs. 1 oz.
19.5 inches.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


My niece - Emma Charlotte - is due in 8 days.
My poor sister-in-law - with her swollen feet and exhausted body - seems so ready.


I may never get used to the sight of little kids talking on cell phones.
There they are in their front yards playing catch, or riding their bikes down the street, or even holding their parents' hands in Wal*Mart...chattering away on cell phones.
Something about that image strikes me as sad.
I can't quite pinpoint it.


I turned off e-mail alerts from facebook three days ago.
Since then, my e-mail inbox has received one new message.
So funny.
I turned some back on because an empty inbox is too depressing.


My friend Alyssa has been in England for a study abroad program this summer, and I find myself drooling over her pictures.
I am a green-eyed monster.
European travel beckons me like a seductress.


My scars are looking better all the time, truly.
I still feel self-conscious and still "freak out" about them, but overall I ought to be thankful that they are looking healthy and actually shrinking.


"That's what she said" - while perhaps sophomoric, immature and pedestrian - makes me laugh.
I can't help it.
Hence, this reduced me to silly giggles:


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