this post is not to related to last night’s oscars.  (i haven’t watched it yet, although i did remember to record it, after forgetting and missing the golden globes AND the grammy’s!)  i felt the urge to mention a moving story that kept popping into my head over the weekend.  roger ebert was on oprah the other day with his wife.  he lost his lower jaw and his voice to cancer 4 years ago, but that hasn’t slowed him down one bit.  he still watches multiple movies every day, writing and blogging about them, and now he’s got a fancy new computer that speaks for him, in his own voice!  (where will technology take us next?)

the stunning part of the story, to me, was how unconditonally dedicated ebert’s wife is to him.  she attends all of his movie screenings and takes such incredible care of him, without showing pity or making him feel helpless.  she seems to translate his deepest feelings quite accurately….she gives him a voice, and perhaps the inspiration to live.  watching their loving interactions with each other put things in perspective for me. 

in the grand scheme of life, the important things really boil down to the relationships we make, most importantly with family.  there’s a reason we vow at weddings to keep each other ‘for better or worse.’  life relentlessly hands us challenges, some of them tougher than others.  the people with which we choose to spend our lives are the ones who will (hopefully) stand beside us when the biggest challenges jump up out of nowhere and slap us in the face!  luckily, jason and i haven’t yet been forced to face anything dramatically devastating.  but i have seen my grandmother go through a challenge recently after having a kitchen fire, and it touches me to see how many family members have stepped in to help her through the displacement, the redesign of an entire house, the daily questions with the insurance company and the occasional bump on her head if she falls.  how awesome that she and my grandfather created this beautiful family, and now we are standing beside her while she struggles.  hopefully, we’ve helped make some tangy lemonade with her handful of lemons!

the bottom line here is that i hope, when i’m at the end of my days, that i have earned two thumbs up from the people i love most in my life….this story has inspired me to try harder.  ebert’s wife read an excerpt from his journal that, since i couldn’t find it on the internet anywhere, i thought i’d share here: 

“i believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier- and something to make ourselves a little happier- that is about the best that we can do.  to make others less happy is a crime.  to make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts.  we must try to contribute joy to the world.  that is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances.  we must try.  i didn’t always know this, and i am happy that i lived long enough to find it out.”