Monday, March 31, 2008

Books of Revelation...

We make it a habit to stop by the bookstore on weekends. The boys get to read books in the children's section. I love looking in the children's section too because it always fills me with hope, optimism, silliness, fun and a colorful look at the world. Again through the pure eyes of a child to keep my perspective. I made the mistake of wandering over to the photography section to see if there were any cool books on photography which spark my interest or which would improve my abilities in one chosen hobby of mine. Ansel Adams is great with the large format black and white landscape but not my style. The Great Life Photographers was interesting but too diverse for my cluttered brain at the time. Faces of Africa. Beautiful. I love photographing people the most so it was truly relevant but I don't do much portraits because I know many people don't like pictures of themselves and I haven't gotten over that issue. I do love looking at portraits other have taken however. The eyes always get me. 

Next came Impounded. Formerly censored photographs of the Japanese interment camps was disturbing and poignant. How racial relations combined with the fervor of war can alter the course of life for so many families. That bummed me out. I looked at Leonard Nimoy's Full Body Project with photographs of full-figured women baring all. I didn't even know Spock was a photographer. And the women's comfortableness with their own bodies was refreshing. That picked my spirit up. Again, their eyes were the most expressive and beautiful. Then Darfur. I only made it through a few pages of images before I started crying. I had to close the book so I wouldn't look like a mental case in the store. Feeling even worse for being too weak to bear witness to the genocidal atrocities. Like the indifference of the world on a smaller and more personal scale.

From the Armenians, to Nazi Germany, to Cambodia, to Bosnia, to Rwanda, to Darfur. The World says "Never Again." When will never finally arrive. Too late for most. The pure blackness of the human heart contradicts everything I believe in. I needed to go back to the children's section to be with my boys. Partly for them. Wholly for me. On my way I came across another section and found a book about a man who died and visited Heaven, only to return to this life just before entering. His seemingly lucid and vivid description in his bestselling book was just what I needed at that point as I sat down with my boys, among silly alligators and joking hippos, as I began to read it right there.

I reconnected with Ke Akua to try and understand how the heart of man can be so black and painfully cruel to the most beautiful and innocent among us. It rips me to the core of my soul. I left the bookstore with so much in my head and heart. The answers came that night at about 2:00 in the morning. When my two boys left their bedroom and crawled into bed with me. One nestled in my arms. The other entangled in my legs. They stirred me from my sleep to listen to several songs playing on my Ipod. The familiar words and music took on new meaning which brought me revelation, more tears, a purging of my guilt and then peace. I felt the presence of my angels. Mahalo no e Ke Akua. You are the Man...