Saturday, November 19, 2005

Harry Potter Day

Yesterday was every bit as busy as I thought it would be. I came home around five and completely crashed. Then this morning got to sleep in until 8:40 -- which is an unbelievable luxury!

Today is the day we've promised to take E to see the new Harry Potter movie (even though it's PG-13). We're gonna walk downtown around 11:30 and get brunch at Mel's first. Then see the movie in one of the theaters nearby. The screens are small at our downtown theaters, but I am very smitten with the romance of walking to the theater. And it's good to support the smaller theaters, rather than the huge megaplexes.

It was quite an experience to interview the woman from our church yesterday who is about to turn 100. I was astounded the first moment I saw her. Sue looks like she's about 80 years old, if that. She walked down the hallway to greet me. She had me stand close so she could get a good look at me, explaining "I have macular, you know." Then we walked into her apartment where she offered to make me a sandwich. I said no thank you. But accepted a cup of coffee, which she poured for me and brought over in a cup and saucer.

It was humbling to meet a person who is just that old. Sue spoke about her mother, and growing up just outside of Boston. She said her mother's parents settled in New Brunswick when the English were fighting the French and the Indians. That's where her mother was born. Can you imagine? That's a long time ago!!!

Sue spoke of her children. One of her son's died of lung cancer at age 42 (in 1983). Her husband, a graduate of MIT, with a doctorate from Cal, died with alzheimers one year and three days after their son died. "September was an unkind month," she told me.

She showed me each of the pictures that "people" her small apartment. In fact, getting her to talk about her past was difficult. Her family is vibrant and clearly keep her fully involved.

I asked her, near the end of the interview, "What gives you hope as you look toward the future." She paused for a moment and answered in a somewhat indirect, but beautiful way: "Every morning I sit in that chair where you're sitting now. I pray for every one of the people in my family. And I pray for the people of our church. I call my friend, Laura, most mornings. And, although I can't sing for the life of me, I do. I have all these songs inside me, you know. And I sing some of them." Later, again speaking about hope, Sue referred to one of these songs that she has inside her. She said, "I do not believe in the end of the world. I do not believe God would ever do that. I believe in the song where we sing, 'world without end.' You know the one." The picture she created was a beautiful one: a woman, deeply connected to her family and soulfully connected to her church, at home, praying and singing her songs, drenched in the morning sun. Simple and inspirational. It says a lot about how we all can have hope as we look to the future.

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