03 July 2009

two posts in one... =) Gandolfini and Elephants.

Post A:

just watched a great movie with my sweet husband. The Last Castle. Perhaps I thought it was great because it has two of my favorite actors in it - Robert Redford and James Gandolfini.

It is difficult for me to watch James Gandolfini in any role other than Tony Soprano. It kind of shocks me how much of an affect the Sopranos has had on my movie and culture consciousness. I wonder if it is unique to me or if others experience this. In this movie we just watched, Gandolfini plays this backboneless jerk - and although Tony is evil in many ways, he isn't backboneless. I found the Gandolfini character hard to believe mostly because of this contradiction, I think.

Robert Redford is an attractive man.

Post B:

Paul has been building (built-in) bookcases in our living room over the past few months - he started and finished the first installment a month or two ago - and then right before Collins was born, he started the next installment - and is on the cusp of finishing them.

And they are just perfect. They are beautiful and functional and such a display of his hard work at learning woodworking and carpentry over the past three years. He did not grow up around this type of work and when we married, he was, in a word, awful at it - mostly due to a lack of knowledge, but also due to impatience. But he set his mind to learning. He apprenticed himself to a master carpenter for about 10 hours a week for about six months - learned a ton - and he has spent many a free hour working hard at becoming proficient. And he has succeeded.

He feels about his woodworking, I would say, like I do about cooking. But I have the benefit of having grown up sitting on the counter under the tutelage of my mother, a very proficient cook.

But my feeling when I look at these new bookcases is one of sheer pride - pride in his work that mirrors a feeling of pride I would have in my own work. I had nothing to do with the bookcases (save offering an occasional aesthetic observation) -
I have rarely felt this kind of pride - an innocent, selfless pride - usually, I'll confess, my pride is either tainted by the bad kind of pride - the self-glorifying, narcissistic type of pride - or, when it is pride in something someone else has accomplished, it is tainted by a tinge (large or small) of jealousy.

But not this - this is the type of pride that is, I think, what Lewis calls true Humility. Being able to rejoice in the accomplishments of others in the same way we would rejoice in our own accomplishments. Because we've really turned our focus off of ourselves and onto God's creation.

From my favorite Lewis book, The Screwtape Letters:
"The Enemy [God] wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbour's talents—or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognise all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things."

It is so nice to see God's work in our lives - to see Him allowing us to bear the fruit He designed us to bear. I think it is one of the great benefits of marriage - that we are able to practice on our spouses, if you will. That we can work on the things we are supposed to exhibit in all of our relationships - openness, honesty, sincerity, love, security, joy, peace (to name a few) - and then hopefully take those lessons out into the world.

I am so thankful for my husband. Whose birthday starts in 26 minutes. Happy Birthday to Paul. And America.

And let us all rejoice in Elephants.

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