What I did on my summer vacation...
It has always been my pet peeve with Hollywood that August is typically devoid of any good movies. From the end of July to a few weeks after Labor Day, the blockbusters fizzle, the Oscar potentials are a no-show, and a movie theatre is only as good as the chill of an air conditioner and the smell of freshly-popped popcorn.
All of which is why I have not blogged for several weeks.
So what does a movie blogger do in the meantime? Read books, rent DVDs, and make an overseas visit with the Pope (just your typical summer stuff, right?).
This summer, I read the new tome from J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I watched several movies on the small screen including Constantine (with Keanu Reeves), The Interpreter (with Nicole Kidman), and Open Water (with two unknowns and a sea of sharks). Then I took a British Airways flight to Cologne, Germany, for World Youth Day with Pope Benedict XVI.
From all that and from the lessons we have learned from Hurricane Katrina, one theme has emerged loud and clear: We have not been made to be alone.
Into a society that treasures individualism have come hints (perhaps shouts) from we are created for one another. Even in the first pages of the Scriptures, God reminds us, "It is not good for man to be alone." (Gen. 2:18) This summer, Rowling, a pool of sharks, and the Vatican are reminding us of this central theme of creation, too.
In Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter cannot confront Voldemort without the aid of Professor Dumbledore... and Dumbledore cannot do it without Harry. In Open Water, it goes without saying that a young couple's refusal to stay with the pack (and a boat driver's reluctance to really take a good look at his divers) leaves them all in hot water (pun intended).
While being packed like sardines in cable cars in Cologne and being surrounded by hundreds of thousands of other people in the middle of an ancient German city, I couldn't help but be reminded that we were never truly alone in that pilgrimage.
And here we are, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and with all the outpouring of generosity from all over the country to aid the victims and survivors, we find again that we are not alone. We are made for each other: to help each other, to encourage each other, to love each other. Tonight at my church we packed up a large van with clothes, bedding, toiletries, diapers, and food that had been donated by parishioners and young adults from our area. God was truly present in the hands that loaded the van and in the extreme generosity of the people who selflessly gave of their possessions.
We are not made to be alone. God made us to lift each other up, whether it be the people of New Orleans or simply the people we run into every day.