Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 2, 2004
Old photo shows fragility of life
Light One Candle
By MSGR. JIM LISANTE
My nephew recently showed me pictures he took on his last vacation. But instead of opening a photo album, he simply pressed a button on his computer. His file of photos appeared on screen and he was able to highlight, enlarge and even print the photos.
Photographs, in old albums or envelopes in a drawer or on the latest computer, are a special gift. They give us both slices of our past and a reality check. I still look at photos from my ordination to the priesthood and think of it as "just a few years ago." Twenty-two years ago, in fact. Where did they go?
Recently, I came upon pictures from a vacation I'd taken a dozen or so years ago. My favourite photo was taken at a restaurant in Palm Springs.
I'm in the shot, along with my oldest and dearest friend, Father Joe Lukaszewski. Next to him is the legendary film director Frank Capra, who often helped us with charity benefits; next to him was the cutting edge photographer Berry Berenson, and at her side was her husband, actor Anthony Perkins.
I remember that my friend Joe was particularly delighted to meet the star of the movie classic Psycho. He couldn't believe that such a sweet man could portray such a frightening character. He even told Perkins that. To which the actor responded: "It's called acting, Father Joe!"
The photo was striking for another reason. It suddenly hit me that all my companions at dinner that night are now with God. Father Joe and Anthony Perkins, lost to disease. Frank Capra, giving way to old age. The beautiful and kindly Berry Berenson was one of those who were tragically taken from us on Sept. 11, 2001. She'd been on a plane from Boston to Los Angeles, returning to see her son in a musical concert. She, and too many others, never reached their destinations.
None of us that night would ever have imagined that not much more than a decade later, all but one of those at that table would be leaving their earthly home.
Since no one knows the future, we probably should live as if every day was the last. And live the life we desire to instead of the one we sometimes settle for. The photo led me to a number of resolutions I'm trying to embrace more fully. Maybe they would be good for you too.
(For a free copy of the Christopher News Note, Being a Good Neighbour, write: The Christophers, 12 East 48 St., New York, NY, 10017; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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