Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reading Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire for the First Time

"Seeing isn't believing, believing is seeing." - The Santa Clause

What if you were kidnapped, tortured, witnessed the death of a friend, and finally, when you managed just barely to escape, you told someone who was responsible for the atrocities you'd endured, and you weren't believed? Your word is being questioned, either because the individual believes you are too young to know what you're saying, or because they've deluded themselves into believing their own personal truth. It could be a mixture of both. What would you do?

I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the first time. I've loved all the other books, but the end of GoF just left me writhing in frustration. A frustration I know will worsen when I start Order of the Phoenix later this afternoon. Harry isn't believed by the Minister of Magic. He fought for his life with Voldemort and only just escaped. He feels helpless and weak, in terrible pain, fighting back memories of Cedric's death and what does Fudge do? He accuses him of having hallucinations and not being trustworthy because he's parseltongue. Can you imagine the rage Harry must have felt? I've never undergone moments when my word hasn't been believed. I've never been looked straight in the eye by someone and know they don't believe a word I'm saying.

When Christ was placed on trial, when people proclaimed his death sentence, he underwent the same experience as Harry, all because people refused to believe the truth. Why would lies be more prone to believe than truth? Why would people, especially people in authority, prefer to believe lies instead of deal with the truth and solve the problem? We've been doing this for centuries. When Hitler rose to power, the West turned a blind eye to him, refusing to believe him capable of the whispered atrocities. Even the neighbors of the Jews dragged from their homes ignored the niggling fear in their minds and believed instead they were merely being deported. By not finding out the truth, these people, these so-called innocents, were just as guilty as the murderers.

So were we, so was England, so was anyone and everyone who knew, deep down, that Hitler was a monster and yet chose to do nothing. Fudge is one of these bureaucrats I despise so much. He chose to live in his perfect little world, uninterrupted by fear and truth. But does his preferred ignorance actually stop the danger from evolving? Of course not! And we have Harry, poor, desperate, terrified Harry who tries so hard to make people understand when they're just not capable of understanding. I admire Dumbledore. Far more than I thought possible. He never doubts Harry's word, never doubts what Harry saw and experienced. He's on the opposite end of the spectrum from Cornelius Fudge. Just because we fear something doesn't mean we should not accept its existence.

Fear needs to be faced, it needs to be acknowledged and understood, and it needs to be fought. We only destroy ourselves by pretending evil doesn't exist. We make the end result far worse by not fighting back. We live in a world of evil. It may not seem as blatantly obvious as Voldemort, but it exists just the same. And we won't be believed when we speak out against evil, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't speak out anyway. A few seeds of truth will fall on fertile ground. When we let fear keep us silent, that is when we are truly lost. Harry will never reach that point in his life, and I pray that neither will I.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thoughts on Masterpiece Mystery's Sherlock

"Watson, come at once if convenient. If inconvenient, come all the same." - Sherlock Holmes, no matter the era or actor

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Sherlock Holmes. A friend introduced me to him about 8 years ago and my life hasn't been the same since. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, but it's difficult loving a character that most people think was either gay (shame on them!) or (as in recent films) completely infatuated with Irene Adler. *tsk, tsk* Not that I dislike Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes (in fact I find him highly amusing and entertaining), but a part of my heart winces every time I imagine him and Irene together. Some things should never have come to pass. So naturally when I heard that a new series was being made, one in which Sherlock Holmes would be thrust into the heart of modern London, I doomed it to failure. Nothing and no one could possibly make such a ludicrous idea into a success, I ranted! Well, it seems I was wrong.

I loved the new Sherlock Holmes movie, you know. And that surprised me. I had no idea there would be two surprises in the same year and that I would come to love the new Masterpiece Mystery! series entitled Sherlock as much as that crazy new movie! Or, dare I say it, even more. Because as much as Robert Downey Jr. entertains me, he's not quite the right appearance for Holmes, in my own mind. Not that I could see Benedict Cumberbatch (yes, it's all right to snicker) boxing 5 rounds with some of the bruisers RDJ took on, but I can definitely picture him fencing the pants off a villain at some point (not literally). Benedict is Holmes. He was Holmes for me within 1/2 an hour and that, my friends, takes some doing. Especially since I never fully accepted RDJ as Holmes, even though I love the film. You might be asking, how does Holmes fit into modern society? Very well, thank you. He's socially awkward, the same as Victorian Holmes, or in Sherlock's words, "I'm a high-functioning sociopath." Can you argue with that type of logic? Nope. Holmes is the same no matter what era he's zapped into.

The writing, I confess, can be good or bad, defining whether the Holmes will be a success or not. But with this brilliant new series, I see Holmes, just as I've always seen him. Rude and obnoxious and undeniably brilliant, with a hint of attraction thrown in just to gain a lady's interest (such as myself). Most women are drawn to Holmes because he has no interest and it makes us curious. I just know that Benedict will make Sherlock a success. Does this mean I'll stop loving Jeremy Brett? In what universe! I love many different versions of Holmes, including Frank Langella's stage production where, saints preserve us, he too fell in love with Irene Adler (read my thoughts on the stage play). What is the power that mysterious woman holds over Holmes? But anyway, all that aside, I'm glad I've given Sherlock the chance to impress me.

That first episode was a humdinger and waiting an entire week for the next installment will be torturous. But wait I will because I am going to show PBS that one more household can love a modern Holmes. Not that my parents are complaining: Mom loves him and Dad chortled at Holmes' smart witticisms. It's awesome knowing I won't be watching alone!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Twilight or Moonlight: The Battle of the Vampires

Can anyone tell me what makes Twilight so darn popular? Because I'm rather clueless. The characters feel one-dimensional and riddled with teenage angst to me. But there has to be something there that draws people. Or people wouldn't read the books or watch the movies.

What is it about Edward that has millions of women salivating? Why? He's permanently 17. He's got more emotional issues than Angel. Well, all right, maybe he doesn't have that many issues. But still, Edward runs a close second. I guess I just see him as the product of a writer whose original intent was something along the lines of fanfiction. Edward really isn't a vampire. He doesn't have vamp teeth, staking him only splinters the wood, and he sparkles instead of burns in the sun. How do any of these things make him a vamp?

I've read Twilight.

And the first time I read it, I found it entertaining. About a year later I wanted to read New Moon so decided to refresh my memory by reading Twilight again. Huge mistake on my part. I don't know if my perception of vampires changed or simply my perception of heroes altered in that year, but what a difference. I've heard all of the arguments for Twilight and I've heard all the arguments against it. I can't make decisions for other people about this series. But I can speak my mind.

Edward is a devoted lover who refuses to sleep with Bella before their marriage. Every girl wants a guy like that; someone who'll respect her. But doesn't Edward's watching Bella sleep concern anyone? Doesn't his inability to stay away from her disturb you? Because it sure disturbs me. I mean, I remember Angel and Buffy's passionate love affair. Those two were completely gaga for each other. But Angel left. And he stayed gone. Because he knew that he wasn't right for Buffy and that it just wouldn't work. Turning her wasn't an option and there was no other way for him to be with her. Is it really just the simple fact that Edward feels like the perfect boyfriend and so many women don't have that perfect boyfriend? Because if that's the only reason why Edward is such a hit with women twice his age then there really needs to be some reevaluating going on in their lives. Seriously, ladies. Men aren't perfect. My gosh, just look around you. But expecting them to be Edward is expecting the sun to rise at night and the moon in the morning. It's not gonna happen.

I think this is what disturbs me the most about Twilight. This particular series of books has made women unhappy with their lives. I've read rants from girls who literally fell into a panic attack when a friend hated the series. There are incredible lists of married women who now look with dissatisfaction at their spouse. Twilight consumes their very existence! Everything is wrapped up in those books. I've even heard women talk about being afraid to read anything else because they don't want to like any other series as much as or even more than Twilight. That thought terrifies me! If I stayed locked in one fandom for the rest of my life, I would be ready for the sanitarium in a matter of years.

This doesn't even begin to cover Bella's unhealthy self-esteem issues. Does Edward help with her self-esteem? No. What about college, a career, making something of her life, accomplishing something important? Bella doesn't want any of that. When Edward left her in New Moon, which was the right decision if he could have stuck with it, Bella was a mess. She did nothing but sit and mope and brood for months. Then when she finally started snapping out of it, it was only to commit dangerous acts that gave her a chance to catch a quick glimpse of Edward through a vision. Does that strike anyone as healthy behavior? Relationships end, sometimes for the better. But we can't just give in to the pain and agony of loss by not living our lives. I pray to God I never make the same decision as Bella. I never want to stop finding and loving new experiences. I never want to just let my soul die because one relationship didn't work out.

How is it that two characters, Edward and Mick St. John, can be so similar and yet so completely different? Edward expresses distinct stalker-like qualities. He can't stay away from Bella, his every waking thought is consumed by Bella. Mick saved Beth's life when she was a child. He was always near to make sure she was safe, but he never, not once interfered with her life. It was accidental that Beth met him at all. His intention was never to fall in love with her. His intention was only to make sure she was protected. Mick let Beth make all the moves in their relationship. He never pushed for anything, never anticipated anything. He just waited, grateful for the chance to be a part of her life.

And Beth? She's a successful young woman! She pulls down a great salary, has a dream job, pays her own bills. She's made something of herself and she's confident in her success. Mick doesn't take her away from any of her accomplishments. He doesn't make her feel pathetic and lacking in self-esteem. He makes her feel safe, but not coddled, loved, but not smothered. Mick would rather cut off his right arm than make Beth feel as if she needed to change her goals to suit him. I only wish that Edward was the same. Bella's only goal in life, her single ultimate purpose, is to marry Edward. There needs to be more. So very much more.

I admit it, Twilight worries me. I've seen the effect it has on women of all ages. I don't want to read a book series that makes me unhappy with my life. Who of a sane mind would? For people who can read the books and enjoy them but have other interests, I say bravo! It's the women who've made Twilight their religion and Edward their God that have me running for the hills. If I'm gonna pick a vampire to love, Mick tops that list every time.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have an episode of Moonlight to watch.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Film Comparison: Gidget (1959) and An Education (2009)

"Surfing is out of this world. You can't imagine the thrill of the shooting the curl. It positively surpasses every living emotion I've ever had."

- Gidget, 1959

When Gidget fell in love with Moondoggie, it was hook, line, and sinker. She would have done anything to win her surferboy and she very nearly did anything. When Gidget and Kahuna cloistered themselves away in that beach shack, where almost anything could happen, I was heartsick. Until Kahuna snapped to his senses and sent Gidget away just as Moondoggie flew up the pathway and pounded on the door to break up the party. Gidget had a hero, two heroes, to fly to her rescue. And she was just sweet sixteen. These two men thought more of Gidget's virginity than she did herself. If Kahuna had been any less of a gentleman, and he was about as low on that pole as you could get, Gidget would have lost herself that night. Moondoggie could have taken advantage of her as well, too many times to count. But he just couldn't do it. Moondoggie would never have been able to face his reflection or his friends again, knowing he had stolen Gidget's innocence.

Which leads me to An Education. Another 16-year-old girl falls for an older man. Only this time, he's older than Moondoggie by at least 5 years. And this time, on her 17th birthday, the girl gives herself to this man in a hotel suite in Paris. Jenny is a sweet girl. Her parents are certainly very strict, but only because they wanted her to receive a decent education. That is until David came along. Because David was perfect. David was educated. David could support their daughter. It was better for Jenny to marry David because than money wouldn't have to be wasted on the furtherance of her education. And then it turns out that the perfect David was in fact a lying adulterous husband who used an underage girl for kicks. He claims to love her. He'll divorce his wife for her. But Jenny's blinders are completely and totally gone now. There is no longer room for David. But there is, however, room for her education.

You know, a lot of people find Gidget to be a very silly little movie. And maybe it is. Just maybe. But in the scheme of things, you have two men who refuse to take advantage of an innocent teenage girl who doesn't know how the world works. You have Moondoggie who wants to further his education so he can become the man he knows Gidget deserves. And you have Gidget, as smart as Jenny, only making much wiser decisions simply because she took the time to speak with her mother about her feelings and confusion. There's a sampler on Gidget's wall that states, "To be a real woman is to bring out the best in a man." That's the kicker! Right there!

Gidget learned about limitations. About saying no. All Jenny learned was that sex wasn't all it was cracked up to be, especially when you find out you've had sex with a married man. In the end Gidget emerges with her true love, Moondoggie. Five years from that movie, I just know they got married, probably immediately following Gidget's graduation from college and they made a home for themselves, occasionally visiting the beach with fond memories. They chose wisely.

Why watch a movie like An Education when it's only going to end in the two parties splitting because one was a liar? I guess I'll never understand modern Hollywood. An Education dished out what Gidget had already served up, 50 years ago and topped with such love. This newer Gidget pales in comparison.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Alias Smith and Jones: Remembering Pete Duel

"Heyes, there's only one thing been keepin' you alive all this time."
"And what's that?"
Hannibal Heyes & Kid Curry ~ Alias Smith and Jones 

Certain things make me nostalgic. The scent of an old sachet makes me remember my grandmother. A picture when I was 5 makes me remember a fishing trip. Even going through old magazines to throw away reminds me of old friendships, broken but still important. Macgyver was my television show when I was a child. He was my hero and remains a special influence even today, nearly 20 years later.

For my mother, at the age of 16, her favorite show was Alias Smith and Jones. It's one of the programs where the women's hair was definitely 1970s, their dresses all had zippers, and little plastic windows could be spotted in the telegram envelopes. But that show meant something special to her. And even now it brings back nostalgia full force.

She remembers those first glorious two seasons when she and her best friend giggled and laughed and adored their western heroes.

She also remembers December 31st, 1971 when Pete Duel (Hannibal Heyes) shot himself.

The question running through everyone's mind was: WHY!? He had so much going for him. A hit television show, fame, fortune. Something, some evil voice slithered its way into his head and convinced him to end it all. Why did he listen to that voice? What desperate murmurings did he hear that last night? Did it happen all of a sudden, or had he been contemplating suicide for months? Years?

You know, there is never a good enough reason to commit suicide. Sometimes death happens purely by accident. But there are those who pull the trigger or jump off a building or even step off a chair with a noose around their neck. What is it like to hit bottom and not be able to see the light anymore?

We'll never know the answer.

Pete Duel is gone.

But he'll never be forgotten. Every time I look into Heyes' twinkling brown eyes and watch that dimple crinkle at the corner of his smile, I feel like I knew him. Like I could look into his soul and save him. His was a soul worth saving, just like every man's soul is worth saving. The Lord wishes that none should perish. His perfect Son died to pay our penalty, so that our souls could be saved. Those satanic whisperings are lies.

I love watching my mother watch Alias Smith and Jones. I can see a tinge of sorrow whenever she looks at Hannibal Heyes, but I can also see her recapture the delight she felt as a teenager, crushing on a teen idol. This is something she and I can finally share, together. I feel the loss of Pete Duel as poignantly today as she did 39 years ago. And I delight just as strongly now as she does in the character of Hannibal Heyes. What an odd combination, loving a character while mourning the actor. But the most important thing we can do is remember those who listened to evil whisperings. Because their stories deserve to be told.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Salvation of Thomas Becket: Thoughts on the film Becket (1964)

"Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings, but mercy is above the sceptered sway. It is enthroned in the heart of kings and earthly power doth then show likest God's, when mercy seasons justice." ~ William Shakespeare

What defines the measure of a man? It is usually his actions over some long period of time that define him. Where Thomas Becket, confidant to Henry II, was concerned, he was nearly as corrupt as his king. When the king caroused, so did he. When the king required female companionship, so did he. And when the king required something of him, Thomas did it, unquestioningly. One would think this man to be irredeemable. Except that no one is irredeemable. It may take years to find God, or it may take only a single moment to make a choice. In the case of Thomas Becket, it only took a moment. Thomas Becket loved his king, as much as he was capable of loving anyone. He and Henry were so close that it irked Henry's wife and mother to no end. When Henry needed consoling, he went to Thomas. When he needed friendship, he went to Thomas. And when he needed someone to manipulate, he went to Thomas. All because Thomas understood that he could do nothing to change the king.

Ironically, it was Henry's manipulative nature which finally cured Thomas of his placatory behavior. In one fell swoop, the Archbishop of Canterbury died. Henry conceived a magnificent plan to have a new Archbishop placed, one who would support him. And who better than his oldest and dearest companion, Thomas Becket? It was the biggest mistake of Henry's life and the best thing that could have happened to Thomas. Becket was suddenly thrust into a religious life. He had always experienced a great respect for God. But it wasn't until Thomas Becket received the robes of Archbishop that he began to seriously consider the state of his immortal soul. All that time he spent with Henry, he was trying to earn his king's respect and love. And Henry did love him. But it was a selfish and manipulative love that did Thomas Becket no good.

Suddenly, Thomas realized that trying to honor Henry wasn't working. He couldn't reconcile himself to the two warring factions within his own heart. It was a fruitless labor and one that only brought a deep dissatisfaction. One day, as he knelt before the altar, Thomas Becket found God. And everything changed. In one fell swoop, Henry II lost not only his confidant but his closest friend and ally. Richard Burton's Becket said it best, "He has not yet forgiven me for choosing God over him." Just as Becket found peace, both with himself and with God, Henry II watched his world be torn apart. Love. How does love appear when it refers to men loving men without sexuality playing a role? Some make the claim that Henry II was in love with Thomas Becket. I utterly deny that point. Women were for sex and Henry II loved his women. Men were for love and respect.

Thomas was the best, honest, and most trustworthy man Henry ever knew and he gave him his love utterly and completely. It had nothing to do with sexuality, but of two people bonding as if they were brothers, or even closer than brothers. When Thomas realized his fulfillment was through God and not the king, it broke Henry's heart. All Henry ever desired was Thomas' good opinion and support. When that was stripped from him, he reacted as a man suddenly desolate. Women gave him pleasure, but Thomas stimulated his mind. There is a moment in "Becket" that is extremely poignant. Henry is now conceiving ways to wreak vengeance upon his former friend. He speaks with his barons, the most trusted men in his realm outside of Thomas Becket. All of a sudden, Henry clutches his heart. He cries out in realization that despite the pain and anger and hatred, a part of him still loves Thomas Becket and grieves for the loss of their friendship. He falls upon the floor and utterly weeps as the immense loss washes over him. His weakness lasts only a moment. He then utters the quote that most people recognize, "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest!"

And this serves up Thomas Becket's death sentence. The barons take Henry seriously and martyr Thomas Becket. Henry lifts his head from the table where he collapsed as his men leave to commit their crime and he murmurs, "Thomas." There is no way to tell whether Thomas Becket's religious actions as Archbishop really stemmed from religious fervor or from ambition to steal Henry's power. But this film presented a man already torn in two directions by Henry and who finally decided that he needed God's approval more than man's.

Regardless of reality, the Hollywood story of Thomas Becket moved me to tears. He was indeed martyred and made a saint by the same man who pronounced his death sentence. Thomas Becket is living proof that a man can commit horrible, unclean, and perverse acts and yet still emerge as a child of God in the end due to a contrite heart. No man is perfect, Thomas Becket least of all. But he gives us hope that if he can be saved, so too can any man. If people only focus on their imagined vision of homosexuality in "Becket" then they've missed the point. This film isn't about Peter O'Toole or Richard Burton and their remarkable talents. It's about a single man who learned that he no longer needed to please man but only God. And that's something worth seeing.

Cautionary Warning: This film does contain some sexual content and brief partial nudity of a woman. The story couldn't have been told accurately otherwise.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Attending a concert with The Three Phantoms

Nothing makes me feel more romantic than listening to the beautiful voices of three former Phantoms resounding throughout the Pikes Peak Center. *sigh* Tonight was the night. Mark Jacoby, Craig Schulman, and Brad Little were hired to perform for hundreds of Phantom enthused fans. And perform they did! It wasn't just Phantom either. They performed numbers from "Kiss Me, Kate," "Les Miserables," "The Most Happy Fella," and a score of other songs that I had never heard before. The most haunting may have been Craig and Brad's duet of "Lily's Eyes" from "The Secret Garden." It nearly brought tears to my eyes. But the best song of the evening, performed by all three, was "Music of the Night." If you think one Phantom singing it is good, than you can't imagine the ecstasy that three of them invoke. I think my heart literally stopped at that one crescendo he hits, or in this case they hit. The sound just reverberated, like nothing I've ever heard before. Wow, what an evening! I think I'm still on cloud nine.

Our parking situation was a tad funny too, from a certain point of view. I couldn't find a parking space and the show was going to start in five minutes. So I literally tossed Caitlin from the car to go get her seat (I was NOT going to let her miss the opening). Then I drove around a bit before finding a parking garage that made me slightly nervous, especially since it was a block and a half away from the theater. This is downtown Colorado Springs, at night, and I don't do downtown Colorado Springs at night. But I parked the car (parking was free for some reason), made sure it was locked and bolted for the theater. Five minutes later, I handed my ticket to the lady waiting inside the door, trying desperately not to gasp for breath since I'd sprinted almost the entire way. I only missed a smidgen of the selections from "The Sound of Music." Which was fine because the gentlemen were not singing at that point.

Like I said, the concert was beyond excellent. We met up with one of my coworkers who also happens to be a close friend and she and her husband offered to drive us back to the parking garage. I could tell by the look in Mal's eyes that he wasn't sure about letting us walk back into the garage since it was late and anything could happen. But Caitlin and I persevered and marched into the belly of the beast. There were a few lingering people that made me nervous, especially since the truck next to our vehicle had its doors open. So I unlocked the car with the beeper, crawled through from the passengers side door with Caitlin right behind me. A minute later and I was pulling out with the doors safely locked. There were a couple of suspicious looking characters waiting by a car down there too as we rounded a bend. It looked disturbingly like a possible drug buy, so I didn't slow down even at the corner.

We tore out of that garage and were thrilled to see that Mal and Lynn had waited for us at the top, just to be sure we were safe. We rolled down the windows, thanked them and said goodnight, and then headed for home, safe and sound. Not only did we have a marvelous experience at the theater, but we had an adventure in the parking garage as well. Next time, I'm remembering that there's a garage right next to the Pikes Peak Center. No more of this gang banger business for me, thanks very much.

Olympics 2010 Opening Ceremony and Voltaire

Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole in How to Steal a Million 

Why am I awake at this ungodly hour (if an hour could be ungodly)? Because I just finished reading the silliest bit of fluff ever written. And by Voltaire, no less. Unless you want your head to spin round and round like a top, never pick up a copy of Voltaire's Candide. It's not worth your time and effort. I have a happier view of life than him, which explains why his philosophies manage to annoy me. *bleh* Thank goodness the discussion ends tomorrow. A small relief and than I'll never think of Candide again.

On a happier note, I did get to watch bits of the Olympics opening ceremony. Canada did a first-rate job. I was very, very impressed. What a shame about the 4th section not lifting for the lighting of the torch, but nothing's perfect and I thought it was brilliant regardless. Now I can only hope that Bodie Miller behaves himself this year. And I can hardly wait to watch the escapades of the figure skaters. It won't be the same without Alexai Yagudin, but he was tops. You only get someone like him once in a century, if you're lucky. Okay, I have work tomorrow (I'm sorry to say), so this is a remarkably short post.

But I can't prop my eyelids open anymore and I still want to watch a favorite scene from How to Steal a Million before I sleep. 'Night!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thoughts on Lawrence of Arabia

As Lawrence sets out across the desert with Daoud and Faraj. 
Auda abu Tayi: You will cross Sinai?
T.E. Lawrence: Moses did!
Auda abu Tayi: And you will take the children?
T.E. Lawrence: Moses did! 

What do you do when you come to the end of your rope? You either allow yourself to fall or you start pulling yourself up one painful handhold at a time. In the world of T.E. Lawrence, he reached the end of his rope. And he simply wanted to fall. An arrogance proceeded Lawrence throughout his tour in Arabia. He believed he could do anything and emerge unscathed. At least, until he was captured by the Turks. Than he found he was just a man and like any other man could be harmed, even killed. Lawrence found himself dangling on the end of that rope. It's not a pleasant thing to face mortality head-on. The young are especially gifted with thinking themselves immortal. I'll never die so I will ride motorcycles as fast as I can. I'll experiment with drugs, alcohol, and other vices because they can't hurt me. I'm young and infallible. If only this were the truth. But it's not the truth.

Lawrence was a remarkable man with many feats of bravery to his name along with many acts of foolishness. How often are we like T.E. Lawrence? We enter a situation, fully confident in ourselves and needing no outside help. Only to find that the outside help might just be the thing that saves us. I never want to reach the end of my rope and actually consider falling. Lawrence was placed in a situation so heinous that he found no other way. The fall didn't kill him, not yet, but that act of mentally giving up certainly left its mark on him. There will never be a time black enough to make giving up an option. It can be so hard to pull yourself up, but once you've done those first few pulls toward freedom, there are always hand to help you the rest of the way. They may be human hands, but more likely, they are the hands of a Savior. Watching Lawrence of Arabia was a remarkable event for me. It opened my eyes, not only to an amazing cinematographic achievement, but to the weaknesses found in everyone. Lawrence's adventures might have been singular, but his struggles, his failings, and his choices were not. In a way, I am T.E. Lawrence. It is for me to decide whether to give up living because of bad circumstances, or to fight my way through to the end.

It may seem foolish, but I wish I had been there to help the real Lawrence fight through his struggles and emerge the victor. I wish I'd been there, to comfort, and listen, and understand. Everyone needs a comforter. Mine is found in both close friends and in my Savior. Lawrence really had no one. And that's the shame of it.