Dead Poets Society

The church bulletin this morning had these words from Henry David Thoreau

thoreau 1Poignant.  Especially as I sat, in my “new” church, watching my daughter participate actively in a “Family Friendly” service.  They do those about every 6 weeks, in cycles, and I really enjoy them.  This one, this week, focused on growing up.

So, as Meghan stood singing, in a small, multi age group, I thought about the backdrop behind her.   Initially it still felt “wrong” to me.  I somehow expected her to be in front of the church I grew up in; with the same smile, and the same voice.  I imagined the picture behind the altar that became ingrained in my subconscious as a youth, and the striking stained glass windows.  I was looking for the familiarity of my childhood, even as I myself, and with my family, am still, at almost 40, “growing up.”

Things did not work out.  After 38 years that was initially so hard to swallow.  I was angry.  I was sad.  I was generally heartbroken.  But maybe it was time.  Time for me to “grow.”

For years I prayed for a place where my family could worship together.  We have spent 6 months now, almost every week, as a family of three in the pew.  The motto of the Moravian Church, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things love,” speaks to my soul.

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I looked at the cross, and the Moravian Star, and I smiled.  The backdrop has changed, but not the meaning.  “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”  She was standing in a different place, but there was the same love, and acceptance I have come to equate with my faith.

When I got home I couldn’t shake the images from “Dead Poets Society.”  Quotes from my all-time favorite movie from 1989, with my all time favorite actor, Robin Williams flooded my head.

Thoreau, along with other famous poets wisdom peppered this movie with all the perspective I needed as I high school student.  And, now as I “grow up,” decades later, the meaning of the words changes a bit, but the movie “grows up” with me.

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And the reality that…

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The scene that spoke to the teacher and human in me, as Robin Williams hopped onto the desk…

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The reminders that we are to always look at things from a different perspective.

These are the words that shaped my youth.  These are the words that give me strength – decades later.  I love words, especially straightforward ones that speak to my soul.

In 1989 I thought life was complicated.  I had no idea that just shy of 25 years later I would be facing a rare genetic disease like Cowden’s Syndrome, with all its risks, and perils.  I could not imagine in my worst nightmares that my beautiful girl would be facing it too. And yet, these words, that became part of me – help give me the strength to endure.

My faith is strong.  My understanding of others, and the need to always look at things from a different perspective is a large part of how I define myself.

Growing up.  Changing.  Doesn’t mean ending, but rather new beginnings.

It may be a while before Meghan is old enough – or even interested in my favorite movie, but I will teach her – one step at a time.

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Every day – we work in this house on new beginnings.  We work on finding our voice, and moving forward.

We try to live a little, learn a little, and to keep God involved in it all.

We make a few denim ribbons, we raise awareness, and we keep the reality that we are fortunate.

All this from a “Family Friendly” Church service centered on ‘growing up.’

I consider myself successful as a Mother, if my girl grows up – Cowden’s or not – with these ideas helping shape who she becomes.

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