Thursday, June 01, 2006

Grace

Sometimes, when you stare too intensely at the Big Picture -- career plans, rocky relationships, unjust wars, theological mysteries, ozone holes -- your vision blurs and you forget that, in human life, small things matter. A lifetime, after all, is made up of thirty-second increments. A relationship boils down to so many words, tokens, gestures. An attitude is the product of momentary perceptions, reactions, and reflections, experienced one at a time. In all these things, there's synergy -- the whole is richer than the sum of its parts -- but good synergy only happens because many good little bits are there to be synergized.

And each one is meant to be tasted.

On a related note: i really like random acts of kindness.sometimes, when a stranger breaks his momentum to hold the door, or takes a minute to pick up my coins, or forfeits the last parking space with a little wave -- just for that instant -- my pride comes unhinged and gets knocked to the floor with a swift one-two: surprise, then shame.The shame arises from the fact of my surprise -- i.e., the fact that I expect so little from others, namely because i habitually impute my own meanness to the whole human race -- and the fact that I'm so stunned at a tiny droplet of courtesy when, over the course of my life, I have received so much grace, both human and divine. And not just at random.

Friday, May 26, 2006

An update

I've been receiving some very interesting emails since I started this "blog." Some have wondered what I looked like. Well, there you go.

To get Miss Val's attention:

1. Construct a compelling argument for or against faith.

2. Expose her to cutting-edge art or heart-stopping music. Explain the histories that underlie it and the theories that drive it.

3. Present her with a freshly cooked filet-mignon steak. Craisins on deli-sliced turkey work well, too.

4. Mention John Mayer, Condi Rice, Paris, New York, cognitive science, or coffee.

5. Give her a young mind to invigorate, an old tradition to incinerate, a half-baked theory to extrapolate, or a virgin sketchbook to adulterate.

6. Pinpoint and skewer her unjust biases -- insightfully. Invite her to participate.

7. Sit her at a grand piano in a room with stellar acoustics.

8. Approach her with a personal need that she is equipped to fill. Or a piece of writing to revise, or a furry animal to pet.

9. Bestow her with store credit at Costco, Starbucks, and/or Barnes & Noble.10. Tell her that she has impacted your life in a unique way. Be specific. Mean it.

11. Demonstrate that you're a vibrant and reflective human being. Indicate that you'd like to converse. Call or write her -- without a pretext.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

It is what it is.

I saw someone die last Wednesday.

I did a chest and ab exam a women with very, very bad emphysema and heart problems.

Two hours later, when I came back, her bed was gone, and so was she.

And that's what death is to me: the open syringe wrappers, tubes dangling off the oxygen tank, the empty void where the person used to be, and everyone else moving on with their lives.

I was probably one of the last people to talk to her.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Who I am?

I would never order a skim-milk, decaf latte at Starbucks - I like my coffee dark and strong. There is a time to be gentle and to compromise, but there are also times when I am prepared to disagree and stand my ground. I can quote Yeats and Kant, but also don't mind getting my hands dirty. You would have to pay me to watch a Hugh Grant movie – my taste is more Kurosawa, Kubrick, and Scorsese. I moved to Boston a year ago after living a couple of years in NYC. I am very happy to have found a calling that allows me to working with and help people from different walks of life. I eat carb, and I never wear or drink anything pink. I'm more impressed by a person's character than his achievement. I love seeing beauty in imperfections and common places. Most important of all, I understand passion - I crave it and I live it.