Monday, August 20, 2012

Of Friends (and Cousins)

Suppose you were befriended by a kindly person during the saddest time of your life. Would you not love that person and see his friendship as a gift from a benevolent God who saw your need and sent an angel?

I have a favorite movie in which a forlorn, unloved, and tortured young man named “Smike” is rescued from the clutches of evil people, and taken in as a brother by another young man named Nicholas. Smike, who is an orphan, suddenly enjoys the love of a family for the first time in his life. When Smike contracts tuberculosis, Nicholas takes care of him like a father, until Smike dies. Nicholas then lovingly buries him near his own father’s grave. In every way, Nicholas loved and served Smike as a beloved brother. Only later does Nicholas learn that Smike was actually his cousin. Smike’s father and Nicholas’ father were brothers. This movie, of course, is Dicken’s novel, Nicholas Nickleby.

The fact that Nicholas loved Smike so faithfully and purely was touching and inspiring. But when we learn that they are actually cousins, suddenly, something quite profound seems to have been at work. The hand of Providence brought the two young men together during a trying time in both of their lives, to be a blessing to one another, and for the purpose of reuniting and sustaining their family.

Have you ever had such an instant rapport with a new friend that you have felt to remark, “we must have known one another in the Pre-existence”? That’s how I felt about my friend, Anita, who first entered my life about thirty years ago.  A new perspective has emerged this past week on that wonderful friendship. She is my cousin. Thirty years ago, she was indeed a gift sent from God – God who cares about blessing our lives (while also uniting and reuniting and strengthening families). This week while I was working on Family History, I made the connection in my ancestry with Anita’s. Knowing now that we are family tells me that our friendship thirty years ago was indeed brought about by the hand of Providence. A smiling Providence.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. (T.S. Eliot)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Marathon Man

The London Olympics will come to a conclusion on Sunday, August 12. The final event of the Olympic Games is the men’s Marathon which will happen on Sunday. No other event is scheduled on the closing day of the Olympics. Clearly, it is the capstone event. Two weeks ago on July 27th, as the Games were set to begin, a vivid memory from a previous Olympics came to my mind: Frank Shorter winning the Marathon in 1972.

After winning the Gold Medal, Frank Shorter instantly became a household word in the United States.  I remember being inspired as I watched him run: I so wanted to run like him. I was not alone in my feelings. Frank Shorter is credited with triggering the running boom in the USA that occurred in the 1970s. And the rest is history, as they say.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


"Inexorable" was the word that came to my mind as I contemplated today's date and my having arrived at this point in time.

My first acquaintance with the word inexorable occurred in my UMD English class when I was a freshman in college. Or it might have been a word in one of Robert Frost's poems. It's a word that, over the years, I have repeated silently to myself, letting the syllables roll over my tongue: in-ex-or-a-ble. It sounds so profound.

Inexorable means something cannot be prevented or stopped. The passage of time is inexorable. The arrival of old age is inexorable.

One of the great things about living many years, is the many priceless memories. Because of my many priceless memories, I am a "wealthy" woman today.