Sunday, January 31, 2010


One of my favorite moments when we lived in Tokyo, was when we decided that for Christmas we would take our Christmas card photo smack dab in the center of the busiest intersection in the world, where an average of 1,500 humans cross at every light change. We took the train on over late one evening in November, dragging along a friend who could do the camera work. We waited anxiously on the corner and when the lights changed we all plowed through the crowd, with the determination of salmon swimming up stream, until we finally made it to the middle of the chaos. The flash went off repeatedly as we took as many shots as we could before the light changed. It felt both invigorating and surprisingly comfortable to be in the center of all the coming and going.

Since we moved back to Utah, we have learned to enter intersections in our cars with much greater care. Here we seem to see a higher amount of people who plow through, even if the light is looking a little “pink”. The pinker the light, the faster folks seem to be going.

I have been thinking of intersections lately. My husband occasionally prays for intersections, and, believe it or not, he isn’t just hoping we will live through the ones we enter in our car. He prays that we will have intersections with people, on the chance that we might be of some use. Intersections are one of his strengths. His instinctive kindness makes him a natural at navigating in and out when crossing the paths of others.

In the past I have been the kind of person who plows through intersections, viewing them as just a means to get to the safety of the curb. More and more as I age, however, I am becoming the kind of person who likes to hang out in the intersection. I am beginning to see that opportunities to intersect with other humans are both invigorating and surprisingly comfortable. As other travelers cross my path, I do look for ways to be useful, but more often than not, my life is filled with treasures brought by criss crossing of other travelers. In traveling a road that has chances for human intersections, the “pink” lights don’t mean hurry faster, they mean slow down, stay awhile, let’s talk.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Place Your Bet

Last night on the news I watched as they pulled a woman from the rubble of the Haitian earthquake after being trapped in a collapsed building for 6 days. She was still alive. It took them three hours to dig her out, all the while anxiously hoping that there would be no further after shocks. As they slowly inched her stretcher out into fresh air and across the piles of debry, a reporter pushed his microphone into her face and asked, "Did you think you would live?" "Live?", she asked incredulously, then, with not quite enough time actually think the question, "What a stupid Question", though it would clearly sound in her voice, she answered, "Why Not?"

I thought back to an interview I saw once of a Jewish woman who had survived one of the death marches during World War 2. The Nazi's had gathered up all the young women in the area and forced them to travel, with no food or water, through the winter cold. This woman recalled that one evening as she and her friend sat huddled together for warmth, they had discussed the food they missed the most, and settled on strawberries and cream. Her friend shared her fears that they would not live to eat strawberries in the early summer. The woman being interviewd bet her that they would live and told her friend she would owe her strawberries and cream once they arrived. Her friend took that bet, betting they would never make it. As the interview proceeded, sadly it was revealed that her friend did not wake up one cold, snowy morning. I remember thinking at the time that what they believed would be the end of the story, did indeed become their story in the end.

Bet on living. Why not?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


So, it turns out that when you have your own live-in web designer, and they are temporarily unemployed, you can find yourself with a blog you never knew you wanted. And somehow you can end up with attached consequences, ie, if it doesn't have a new post every week the errant blogger will have to do afore mentioned web designer's laundry. That's what I get for reading "How To Raise Self Reliant Children In A Self Indulgent World" in the middle of child rearing. Eh, who am I kidding, it was "Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book" that did it.

Am I supposed to have a pithy sign-off here? Hmmmm, maybe next week...unless I am up to my armpits in someone else's laundry...