My Father's Daughter


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Greatness

I like sports movies. I like the human drama — Joe Athlete who is talented but disadvantaged in some way overcomes the odds to reach victory. I like that the “games” you see are only the highlights and moments of big action; the defining moments. I like the excitement and intensity. I especially like it when they are based on true stories as so many of them are.

So it was with no great difficulty that I sat down to watch The Greatest Game Ever Played awhile back(Joe Athlete in this case is a very talented, very young, working class golfer who wins the U.S. Open in a time when only “gentlemen” played the game). One of my thoughts while watching was that it would be so neat to have an extraordinary talent and to know you needed to use it. To know that you were great at something, or even among the greatest at something. That would just be cool.

The very next day my Bible reading found me in Matthew 20 where Jesus’ disciples ask him about greatness. Jesus tells them that for anyone to become great he or she must be humbled as a servant. The day after that I was putting my oldest niece to bed and HER Bible reading was in Mark 9. Again, Jesus teaches his disciples about greatness stating that, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35, NASB).

What is great about the greatness that Jesus teaches is that it requires no talent. While he does admonish us to use the talents we’ve been given for his purpose and glory, the greatness he speaks of in the aforementioned passages is the result of humble, simple service. Foot-washing kind of stuff. It requires no special training or environment — it is attainable by anyone in any context.

I know what I put forward here is not a novel concept. It is one of those, Well, duh moments. I just think it is a good reminder for those of us living in a society that gives labels like “The Great One” to the Wayne Gretzky’s of the world. And while I think that talent like that of Wayne Gretzky’s is God-given and admiration of it is admiration of God’s creation (note I said admiration of Wayne’s talent, not Wayne), I also think it’s pretty cool that I can achieve greatness far greater than The Great One’s by humbly serving someone else.

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Home

Michael Buble’s song Home is currently one of my favourite songs. The first time I heard it was while the credits ran on some movie that I saw in the theatre (for the life of me I can’t remember the movie, but I think I liked it). I was moved by the song, maybe because of residual feelings from the movie. This happens to me a lot — the whole music-movie connection. Sometimes a song will make a scene that much more intense (obviously this is the intent and I am merely a pawn in their game, vulnerable to their manipulations), or because of the events in the movie, the song becomes much more moving to me. More often it is the music that affects the movie experience. In Daredevil, which isn’t a movie meant to tug the ole’ heartstrings, the Evanescence song My Immortal plays during a funeral scene that also includes a moment of romance. It was one of the most intense movie moments I’ve had (and indeed, it is a beautiful, beautiful song). One of the reasons I love movies is their ability to transport me into different lives, different experiences, different emotions and if I’m able to lose myself in those moments, I become as emotionally engaged as if I were experiencing the same thing the characters are. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it greatly affects me.

Anyway, I was talking about Home. I really like the music and the words and Michael’s voice, but what I like most about this song is the reminder that I am NOT home. It is a reminder of that nagging feeling I constantly have that I want to go home. The feeling that I am not at peace here, that there is something better, that I miss a home that I have not known but that will fulfill a lifetime of longing. I think I am someone who needs to work on contentment — I am no Paul. But I think that some of my discontent with this life is due to the fact that we were not made for this life, we were made for something grander and something within us longs for that.


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TV Times

I live in a number of sitcoms.

A couple of weeks ago I had a birthday party featuring my siblings, including Phil’s sister and brother-in-law. It was much fun, and it occured to me that these are my “Friends“. For those of you not familiar with this great cultural icon (or for those of you, like my parents, who can’t understand why I would possibly watch it), my reference here implies that we are in each others lives, that we engage in teasing and mockery, that we tell each other how it is without pretense of polite chatter (i.e. small-talk, the bane of my existence), that we laugh a lot together and enjoy one anothers company (though you won’t catch any of us admitting it). Mostly it implies that we are held together by a deep bond and we care about one another deeply. My siblings make me happy, and I love it when we are all together.

There are a couple of groups here at work who take a daily trip to the Tim Horton’s in the next building. I am fortunate enough to travel with the cool, young, all-male gang (this is not a reflection of my man-like qualities, Ada’s observance of whiskers on my face notwithstanding, I am merely friends with their ring leader). I greatly enjoy these excursions as these guys are very entertaining. It is like being in an episode of Seinfeld. And, actually, Seinfeld is referenced quite often – they are all very aware of pop culture. Sometimes I go just for the laughter and purchase the coffee so they don’t know that they make me laugh and that I truly enjoy watching males interact (as a camper [meaning one who camps, not a vehicle wimpy people use to participate in what is erroneously referred to as “camping”] I have often wished I could be a male [so I could pee standing up]; but I’m also greatly intrigued by male relationships and also somewhat envious of them).

Now I’m just waiting for my church to have that Cheers ambiance. You know, where everyone knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. Where people know, people are all the same.


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Confession

Phil slipped on some ice today and fell. He’s not seriously hurt — just missing some skin on his wrist. But this unfortunate incident has reminded me of a peculiar aspect of my character; I think adults falling is hysterical. Whenever I see someone stumble down stairs, or run into something (like a sliding glass door), I choke with laughter. Isn’t that awful?! When I’m the one to fall or crash (which happens far more than I’d like to admit), I am VERY embarrassed. So why am I not more compassionate? I usually try to be mindful of other people’s feelings, but in this one area I can’t seem to control myself. One of my favourite funny movies is The Whole Ten Yards with Matthew Perry mainly because he spends most of the movie falling all over the place, and I laugh every time! Not all physical comedy amuses me (haven’t seen much of the Stooges but I’m not all that impressed by the concept), but for some reason the falling thing cracks me right up! I need help….


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Master of information…

There is too much information out there! It’s overwhelming! As an information professional (official title: Information Specialist — eek! I specialize in information? Don’t you have to know a lot to do that?), it is my job to keep a cool head, weed through the information, find what is relevant and get rid of the extra noise. It is my job to swim the seas of information and find the pearls of wisdom. When someone has a question, it is my job to find the answer. Isn’t that scary? What responsibility! What has me freaked today is that there is a plethora (I love it when I can use that word) of tools for librarians that support them in their tasks. I don’t have the time to examine all of the things that exist to help me do my job and actually do my job.

On a positive note for my noble profession, Phil and I watched a movie this weekend that actually gave a positive portrayal of a librarian. Librarians show up in movies now and then, and sometimes they are pretty stereotypical (mousy yet stern, old spinsters, bun in hair, glasses on chain, cardigan buttoned at the neck). This librarian was in fact quiet and wore glasses but she also saved the life of one of the characters by knowing where to find information on her condition. There was a small band of people trapped in the New York Public Library trying to escape a storm that was freezing the northern hemisphere because of an ice age brought on by global warming (yes, the premise seems sketchy, but it’s an o.k. flick). One of the characters had blood poisoning from a cut on her leg that she sustained while escaping the advancing water that was filling the streets of New York. The librarian was able to diagnose her mysterious illness and they were able to get her the help she needed, thereby saving her life.

The moral of the story is: while it may overwhelm me to do my day-to-day job, in the event of an impending, world-wide natural disaster, do your best to be trapped with me in a library — I may just save your life.