Sunday, January 6, 2008


Happy Birthday!

Today is my only nephew's birthday. I haven't seen him since the day after my father died in 2003. My nephew was born on the day that in Christian tradition is called Epiphany. My nephew shares his birthday with Alan Watts, Carl Sandburg and Khalil Gibran. He is a musician, a singer, a baseball player and a self-described "computer geek" whose favorite color is green.

The quote from my Zen Calendar today is:

"God made the senses turn outwards, man therefore looks outwards, not into himself. But occasionally a daring soul, desiring immortality, has looked back and found himself."
-- The Upanishads

My nephew was born around noon on this day in January. When I received the news of his birth, I drove to Seattle where I stayed until late in the evening after everyone else had gone home. At that time, I was working as a medical transcriptionist on the evening shift and didn't go to sleep until the early morning hours. As my sister slept, I held my beloved sleeping newborn nephew as I sat in a chair and looked out the window at the full moon and stars shining on a snow-covered Seattle. I remember driving back to Bellingham after midnight in full moonlight and starlight that was almost like daylight because of the snow-covered landscape, feeling awe and love in the wake of my nephew's birth.

My wish for him today comes from the words of Bob Dylan. May my nephew grow up to always see the lights surrounding him:

May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true,
May you always do for others
And let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true,
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

(Today's drawing, "Child with Gift," was done in 2005 on my iBookG4 using the Appleworks6 "Painting" program)

I can't find the quote by Sherman Alexie which I'm looking for and which I wanted to place alongside the photo below, but I recall reading somewhere that he said something to the effect that he was just as moved by the story of Mary and Jesus as he was moved by the stories told by his ancestors.

I did find an interview where Sherman Alexie says:

The concept of forgiveness—not just forgiving others, but forgiving oneself—seems really central to this movie. How did the concept of forgiveness shape the story?

It’s funny, I don’t get talked about much in these terms, but I’m very Catholic: grew up Catholic, Catholic father, still am vaguely Catholic (I’m not very good at it anymore). So I think Catholicism and forgiveness and that aspect of Christianity is a really strong influence on me. And then once you place Catholicism in the context of me being tribal and the ways in which the church horrendously oppressed Indians, there is a serious amount of guilt. So, I think it’s a combination of guilt and irony and contradiction and forgiveness that mix up together and become a dominant theme in everything I do… And I didn’t call it Catholic in the movie, but I think it very much is. Seymour’s conflict is very religious and very spiritual, and that’s the way I approached it. Evan [Adams] and I talked about that very much: that, in some ways, [Seymour]’s a pilgrim.


The Dream said...

Lovely tribute to your nephew. "Forever Young" is one of my all-time favorites. On my daughter's 16th birthday, I created a colorful tree painting with these lyrics within the trees. Your artwork is gorgeous and thoughtful!

Interesting quote on Catholicism and forgiveness. I do believe that forgiveness is the way. When I started to learn the importance of forgiveness - to give myself a break and give others a break, the landscape of my life changed significantly. If God forgives me continually, in all matters, who am I to hold onto resentments? I absolutely LOVE what Emmit Fox has written on this subject - "By forgiveness you set yourself free; you save your soul. And because the law of love works alike for one and all, you help to save his soul too, making it just so much easier for him to become what he ought to be."

robin andrea said...

I stopped by here yesterday, but my computer wouldn't let me comment. This is a beautiful tribute to your nephew. A lot of very deep love here.