Tuesday, August 21, 2012

From Merton To ParaNorman

Last Friday I had lunch with a man I had never met. He works in my building and had written to me inquiring about Thomas Merton. Anyone who knows me or has read my writing knows that Merton has been a major influence on me. Merton’s writing gave me an understanding of contemplation and he also introduced me to the Dalai Lama and the teachings of Buddhism. Early on Saturday morning a little girl knocked on my front door. It was my granddaughter, Chloe, who came over so we could go to the movies and see “ParaNorman”. We arrived at the theater early as we always do. Often we are the first ones in the theater. When that happens Chloe will often run around the perimeter of the theater like an Olympian sprinter. As someone who often feels like a tired old man I am always impressed with her boundless energy. What impresses me even more is her zest for living and her bottomless joy. As she sprinted around the theater with a huge smile on her face her joy was palpable. I watched her and envied bother her energy and her joy. Life often gets me down. I feel weary and occasionally discouraged. My aging body could never run like Chloe. I think this is why God gives some of us grandchildren. We need some encouragement and who better to encourage me than an energetic, joyful little girl with a smile that melts my heart. Yes, I have learned a lot from Merton but I have also learned a lot from my granddaughter. Merton helped me learn how to live. Chloe reminds me to do it.

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