Wednesday, December 28, 2011

String Theory

My credit card statement for November reflected a charge of $3652. When I called the bank in protest I was informed that the charge was made to Lazear-Smith and Vander Platt Memorial Home in Warwick, New York. So, basically, someone stole my credit card account number to finance a funeral.

If I were an investigatory journalist, this is the kind of story that would have me on a plane to New York, questioning the funeral director, searching the Obituary section of the newspaper, tracking down the family of the deceased. I wouldn't want to confront the guilty party, but I would like to hear their story, to learn what led them to pay for a funeral with a stolen credit card number. I'd like to figure out just how exactly I in Salt Lake City came to be tied to them in Warwick.

Last week I took my children to the Dinosaur Museum at Thanksgiving Point. One of the exhibits featured pictures displaying continental drift. The first displayed Earth as one unified land mass surrounded by sea. The subsequent pictures showed the continents drifting farther and farther from each other through the geological periods - Jurassic, Cretaceous, Present Day. The last picture in the series was labeled "Future," and was simply (and, I thought, rather unadventurously), a large question mark.

We didn't linger too long at this particular exhibit, rushing on to the T-Rex and Allosaurus, exhibits ostensibly more impressive than a two-dimensional depiction of the world slowly falling apart.

Today, my brother is coming home from a two-year LDS mission he served in Ventura, California. We talked to him on the phone on Christmas. He did not sound terribly excited to come home. He loves the people he's meet in California, he said. He loves his life there. Of course, his departure from Salt Lake City was also a painful one. He loved the people he knew in Utah. He loved his life here. When he left, he pierced a small hole in our geography, taking with him a thread of support and connections and love that linked him to his home. And now, today, I imagine him completing the stitch he started, puckering the landscape as he pulls that thread home, a thread now lenthened by the support and connections and love he experienced in California. For my brother, today, Ventura and Salt Lake City will never be closer.

We humans love to play the "who do you know" game. It is among the first things we do when introduced to someone new - attempt to make a connection with them. And, more often then not, we find that we share a mutual friend, attended the same school, visited the same place. We hunger for these connections. They are necessary, as if the ties that bind us are holding the world together, like a massive ball of twine. Luckily, these connections are easy enough to make. It's a small world, after all, despite the shifting, drifting tectonic plates. I wonder with what agony the earth groaned at that initial splintering apart. Perhaps, at our best, we humans are attempting to heal the world, to thrust our needles into the geography and thread it back together,  piecing the lost, aimless fragments back into one glorious, unified whole.

As we approach the New Year, this is my wish for our swiftly tilting planet - not just peace, but wholeness.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Potpourri

I'm going to go ahead and blame the holidays on the complete brain drain I've been experiencing this month. Since I can't summon the mental energy to compose a whole blog post, I'm going to take Bill Murray's advice and baby step my way through this.

- I gave myself an early Christmas present and registered for the LDStorymakers Writing Conference. I attended last year, and it was really wonderful. If you've never attended (Janel, Brooke, Stacy Heaps), think about coming with me this year.

- The other night, I had a dream that I was driving Mitt Romney to the Iowa Caucus (I know, it doesn't make sense), and giving him advice about how to beat Newt. And I'm not even a Republican.

- I just finished Cutting For Stone. It is among the best books I've ever read. I literally cried through the last 100 pages.

- On Saturday, I found a fortune cookie in my purse and gave it to my son. I literally laughed out loud when I read it to him:

(And just in case my photography skills aren't up to par, my son's fortune is: "An alien of some sort will be appearing to you shortly!")