Noticing

I do recommend Charles’ post on Robin Williams–there’s not too much Bill O’Reilly–really.

I like the reflections there. I haven’t read too many others. The young miss, I think I mentioned, broke the news to me, and commented on how much great acting he still had to go–twenty or thirty years’ worth in her estimation.

I find it interesting that four people: me, my daughter, my California friend, and Mr. O’Reilly all found we noticed different things happening in us as we received the news of this tragedy. Such things tell us something about the people reflecting and maybe not so much about the news itself.

Mr O’Reilly’s viewers certainly witnessed his tone, his mid-monologue change-of-heart, and it may be possible to make some observations about that. Guesses more likely. I wasn’t a witness, so I’ll withhold further comment.

I can confess that for myself, celebrity deaths seem to pile up as I get older. John Lennon’s happened not too long after I became a Beatles’ fan. My little brother and I shared some album listens the next two days. I can guess that at the time, I was affected by the inner musician emerging. With Robin Williams, I thought of his talent, his seeming lack of discipline, and perhaps, selling himself short. I wonder about that sometimes. I have a small life, considering the big picture. But maybe I’m in a creative rut, not listening so much to my chief advisor–my wife. Or the urgings of the Spirit. Why is that? Of what am I afraid? My spiritual director asked me that last week: what is the fear?

The young miss remembers Jumanji, an eary favorite in her film buff experience. She feels disappointment as celebrities she knows come to an early demise.

If my experience in the Spiritual Exercises informs anything, it is that I observe myself, my reactions. And I bring this to prayer. And I ask God: what are you trying to show me?

I might, as I felt thirty years ago, it was time to do service work with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Go to Oregon or Alaska or Vermont. The JVC lost my application, and so I was steered elsewhere. How did I react? How did I go deeper into my disappointment?

None of us should harbor any delusions that we can individually alter foreign policy and somehow stop the cleansing of Christians minorities from anywhere. Christians are beset by corruption, violence, gang wars, and poverty in Central America. I don’t see many American conservatives getting on the bandwagon for Christian persecution south of the border. Do you? Do you think Iraq is all about Christians? Ask those of the Baha’i faith. What do you think happens to Kurds and Jews, or would happen to Hindus, educators of girls, or such?

All this bears scrutiny. Not so much for others, but for the movements inspired within us.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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