Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nine Lives

"It's a small world" wasn't only a cliche tonight. I met Fred Sprinkle through poetry. Glynn, Maureen, and Nancy promoted him through Twitter, which in turn caused me to follow his blog; I Force It To Rhyme.  I then friended him on Facebook. Oregon, Missouri, and Virginia led me back home. I'm glad I followed the trail.

Through his recent Facebook status, I saw his invitation for Wrong Way to Hope, which was having a premier showing in Mt. Vernon at the Historic Lincoln Theater. Fred helped produce it. How cool was that? It sounded like a fun date on the water with a full moon escorting us on the short drive.

Looking through the program, we learned that it was about nine young cancer survivors taking a nine day rafting adventure on a remote river in Oregon.

They let the camera and us hear their journal, join their isolation, observe their solitude, feel their pain, see their scars, sing their stories, wipe their tears.

They let the camera and us watch as they wiped out over and over again in class IV rapids and climb back on their kayak once again to do it again.

They let the camera and us see transformation and jumping joy.

The let the camera and us touch the grief, loss, and regret.

They let the camera and us in. We were with them. Raw. Naked. Hurting. Minus useless sentimentality.

Being with them was pure alchemy, turning our own private pain-with a different name-into redemptive time. A thread of empathy and compassion seemed to complete an invisible electric current from the lives on screen to us. Understanding lit up the dark theater.

The most noticeable thing was how their countenance changed. Surely there was a gauntlet of rainbows arching above that stretch of river during those nine days?

We didn't have far to go or have any long lines to wait in to meet Fred and two of the young people in the film. I would prefer looking into their eyes and shaking their hand ~ than any royalty, pope, or celebrity ~ it was high honor indeed.

I wish them well in spreading hope.

"You can't suck and blow at the same time" and "I think I'll put up some mountains" were the unforgettable take-away quotes for me.

You'll have to see it to understand. :)


Craig said...

Thank you for inviting me! What a story. "I'm going to "Live" until I die"

Maureen said...

So beautifully written, Kathleen. I came here to read just after learning that the husband of one of OurCancer members has died. He had a long journey that brings his soul to rest now. "I wish them well in spreading hope." Indeed. Hope sometimes, if not all the time, is all we have. Blessings.

A Simple Country Girl said...

and thankfully God holds it all in His hands


L.L. Barkat said...

Cool. I like Fred's poetry. I didn't know he did this too.

Anonymous said...

i think that is wonderful that you all got to meet face to face...and see what he has been up to.

i like your writing, you do well at covering stories.