Artifacts

If you see the movie version of “In the Heights” based on the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, you are likely to be wowed by the lavish dance numbers, moved by the stories of dreams and swept up by the fantastic music. Yet for me it was the poignancy of a collection of artifacts that show up in the film’s penultimate scene that will linger long after the images and tunes leave my head.…


FWD:

With just a few days left in the year many, if not most, of us are ready to consign 2020 to the trash heap of history. Eager to look to 2021, we will set goals, make plans and share our hopes for a brighter future.

If you believe that everyday is a blessing or understand recency bias, you will realize that by looking ahead we may be missing an opportunity right in front of our face. 


Wonderful

While walking my dog in the woods nearby, I stopped to marvel at a giant fallen oak. Uprooted from the ground, it was hard to surmise what had toppled this mammoth tree. I was full of wonder at the extensive roots laid bare for all to examine the many connections severed.  Feelings of both loss and hope filled me as I was reminded that soon that tree would decompose with its nutrients revitalizing the soil that it would soon become part of.…


Blessed

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt as blessed as I did this Thanksgiving. It was a day of almost complete harmony among my wife and I and our three daughters.  

Our day began with a simple exercise of writing down the many people and things we were grateful for this year, in spite of all that has engulfed our nation and impaired our daily lives.

Under different circumstances, this request could have been met with eye rolls and pleas to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.…


Thinking

Inside Bill’s Brain is a documentary series that invites us to see how Bill Gates thinks. Among the more remarkable practices is his long standing “think weeks,” where perplexed by a particular problem, he loads up a bag of books on that topic and takes off to a secluded cabin where he just thinks about that issue. Returning hopefully with a deeper understanding, a plan of action, perhaps even some solutions worthy of exploration.…


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.…


What does a child feel?

We’ve all been there. Seemingly out of nowhere, a child just loses it.  These meltdowns have an almost surreal beginning, leaving us wondering, “Where the hell is this coming from? “  They quickly escalate into an exorcist-like demonic possession. What else can possibly explain what is being spewed from the mouths of babes?  The litany of complaints, grievances, and injustices fly out like one speaking in tongues.…


Thanks to readers like you…

One of the best things about writing these weekly notes is the response I get from readers like you.

Some share a brief thumbs up or question, a related link or recommendation.  Other share personal stories or reflections on their own. 

All are so appreciated, so please keep them coming.

Among the emails I received recently were three that go to the heart of these Monday morning notes.…


Small Invisible Acts

A man wrote a short story that he could not get published. So he included it in 200 Christmas cards he sent out to friends and family.
 
One of the cards ended up in the hands of a film director. He made a film based on that story.
 
It lost a fortune and the director never made a successful film again. He ultimately had to sell his production company and with it the rights to the film.


The Space Between Hope and Despair

In the film First Reformed, a reverend and environmentalist are experiencing existential crises – each waging a battle between hope and despair. In one exchange, the environmentalist shares his conflicting feelings about being an expectant father yet having to answer for the catastrophic effects climate change will have on the earth his unborn daughter will inherit as an adult.  He asks, “What will I say when she looks at me and asks – ‘You let this happen?’”…