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.


  1. Kim, this had me scraping the floor with my jaw with your opening paragraph, falling in love as I read more and tearing up at the end.

    Absolutely stunning post. My heart is knit with yours.

    (Slick L'Engle tribute at the end, there.)

  2. Beautiful post! (erm, sorry about your credit card getting stolen--did the credit card company fix the fraudulent charges for you?)

    Anyway, have a wonderful New Year! The world would certainly be a better place if we were all united to be whole. ;)

  3. I love this Kim :) Connection makes the world smaller.

  4. This post makes me sigh with literary happiness at having read it and literary envy at having not written it.

  5. Congrats on your brother coming home! The world is such a small place, and we're all trying to find our place in it. Well said.

  6. Beautiful like always.

    You're not an investigative reporter? I am going to have to write that part out of the stalker notebook I keep on you.

    I have family in Ventura! Maybe your brother knows them ;)

    I'm glad our threads have crossed paths

  7. Oh, Shelly, I like that sentiment :) I'm glad, too...
    And yes, the credit card company easily reversed the charge - thank goodness! I have enough debt as it is :)