Understanding

There are so many things about life that are beyond my current understanding. Chief amongst these are the experiences of people whose backgrounds are different from my own.  

I do not understand what it feels like to be the victim of an injustice or to perpetrate it.

I do not understand what it is like to be discriminated against daily, to patrol the streets, to fight in a war, to live in fear for myself or my family.…


Sharing

My two favorite parts of “It’s a Wonderful Life” are both born out of crisis.

The first comes as there is a run on the Bailey Building and Loan, the small community bank led by the movie’s protagonist, George Bailey. Fearing insolvency the customers descend on the bank with the hope of withdrawing all of their money out of fear caused by the stock market crash.…


Connected

The speed of everyday life can make the strings that connect us invisible to the naked eye. When life grinds to a halt those same strings might as well be thickly knotted ropes.

Recently, we have seen these connections first in ways that frighten us.  A virus can spread across continents, oceans, and states, while making the rest of the world stand still. The economic reverberations ring out from Wall Street but come crashing down on every storefront on Main Street.  …


Are you contagious?

Contagion is the second most popular movie on Netflix this year as people turn to this 2011 thriller for some combination of information and escapism. I watched this movie when it first came out and remember it as absolutely terrifying. But not for the reason you might think.

Yes, the physical effects of the virus that spreads rapidly across the globe are devastating and graphic (it is portrayed as exponentially more lethal and dangerous than the coronavirus.)…


Heroic Hospitality

Recently, we took our daughters to go see the play, Come From Away. It tells the story of how the small town of Gander, Newfoundland came to the aid of over 7,000 passengers whose planes were forced to land as American airspace was closed in the minutes after the 9/11 attacks. They provided not only lodging, food, and clothes, but also comfort, compassion and love to the strangers who doubled the size of the town’s population for almost a week.  …


Three offers you can refuse…

Every holiday season, AMC puts the Godfather trilogy in heavy rotation. The timing is ironic on many levels.  Including that one of its most iconic lines, “I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse” is antithetical to the very idea of giving. 

As a verb, an offer is “to present something for someone to accept or reject as so desired.”  As a noun, it is “an expression of readiness to do or give something, if desired.”…


A new way to give thanks this Thanksgiving

This week provides a welcome respite for many, as we put aside our daily troubles, gather with family and friends, and pause to give thanks for what we have and those who helped make it possible. 
 
It can come in the form a few words over a meal, a phone call or a prayer.  All are valuable practices in gratitude.
 
But often these moments can be fleeting and soon replaced by Black Friday sales, workouts, and holiday movies.


What are you doing with your money…?

Whether you are an individual giving $50 to a small charity or a philanthropist giving $5 million to a large non-profit, how you look at this transfer of funds says a lot.
 
Are you giving it away or buying impact?
 
In the former, the agency is with the donor. Their giving assumes altruism or largesse. They have the power, control and responsibility.
 
In the latter, the agency is shared.…


“And losing him was like losing the rain.”

When he plays Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out in concert, Bruce Springsteen pauses in the middle of the song, where his friend, the late Clarence Clemons, sax solo used to be.  He does so to honor a man that he was not embarrassed to say he loved or kiss publicly.
 
When he played the song during Springsteen on Broadway, he went one step further, pausing longer to explain his deep affection for the person he called, “The Big Man.”…


Is the force with you?

On a recent flight, I decided to watch the movie, The Last Jedi.

During one scene, Luke Skywalker dispels a long held myth about “the force.”  Over many films the assumption was that the force was something that one possessed, an internal feeling or power that was universally good.  Here Luke explains to the young Rey that the force is actually a connection we have with our world and with each other.…