vendredi, juin 05, 2009

The wayside

Do you have a list of items that go by the wayside when all you can do is veer like a drunk from one task to another?

Here are mine:

Listing my checks electronically (I never was too good keeping up with this one, anyway. Quicken could make lots of money creating a program that pops up on your computer and won't go away, like a nagging parent, until you figure out who has 95.00 of your hard earned money.)

Anyway, I figure as along as I'm not overdrawn I'm cool.

Mowing before the grass looks like the cow pasture down the road.

Getting a haircut. It's been months.

Thank you notes for the DQ's birthday party. I've asked my ex for names and presents three times -- does that count?

Finding an hour to go to Dave's to pick up the kids broken computer (450 infections, he told me).

Going out with friends -- fortunately, I have two wonderful girlfriends who adjusted their time and hopes and just generally wouldn't take no for an answer. What did I do to deserve you, Melanie and Marie?

Most of all, time to exercise -- that's kind of my baseline for stability and sanity.
For months, the yoga studio has beckoned me. This week, I didn't get out on the track round the grade school at all. Next week -- or maybe I should just be realistic and say July is a lot more likely time to return to my routine.

"It's like you are in a perpetual round of exams" says a friend empathetically. And I guess I do OK -- except for the days when I break down and cry.

So what's on your "ditch when it becomes too much" list?

mercredi, juin 03, 2009

Has anybody else?

Actually felt happy because they were starting to feel sick (not seriously ill, but kind of achy and sniffly) and it meant that they might get a few extra hours of time just lying in bed reading a book?

There's something wacked about that.

Sister acts

Nuns fascinate me. As a college student, and a newly baptized Christian, I would make retreats at a local Episcopal convent. Headed by the tiny, slightly ethereal Sr. Felicitas, St. Margaret's House was a lovely old Victorian mansion -- a perfect setting for the sisters and the visitors who came seeking a divine "showing." I recall having a few nuns over for dinner -- you mean they actually left the convent?

Having gotten to know some of the sisters, I was very happy to find out they had a Philadelphia convent (now closed) and spent many evenings there, reading Henri Nouwen and Rumer Godden and Thomas Merton, sitting slightly impatient through what seemed like endless responsorial psalms during the Offices, and chatting with the nuns, some of whom became friends.

As an assistant chaplain at a local university, I worked with a Catholic nun and her supervisor, a charming young priest (we concelebrated the Eucharist once, so I'll not mention his name). Surprise to no one, he left the priesthood, got married, and is now a pastor in another denomination.

So when I told the residents of the nursing home I visited that I wouldn't be back, because a new rector is coming to Calvary in hmmm, 28 days, but who is counting,I gave the Catholic sister a particularly warm farewell. Without fuss or bother, she would sit among the sleeping and the wheel-chair bound and take communion from me. Not rebelliously as far as I could tell. Not because she was being polite. To all appearances, she was simply doing what you do when you are with a brother or sister Christian -- sup at the same table.

I respect the conscience of other Christians who don't feel it's right to do that. I realize that in her denomination, it is seen as act of disobedience. But I was happy in this time and place, to share our broken and redeemed humanity, more profound that all barriers that others put up to keep us separate.

lundi, juin 01, 2009

Grace filled today

I'd forgotten how time seemed to stop in the ultrasound center. Why is she taking so long on that side, you wonder. You hang on everything the technician says, half hoping and half dreading that she or she will drop a clue, desperate to hear something reassuring, and trying to act like a mature adult.

The week before the test you go through in suspended animation, wondering if the trip with one of your best friends will have to be put on hold, the plans for grad school shelved, where you can get a wig that looks like your own hair. The fear that has nothing to do with a reasonable acknowledgement both of mortality and odds.

And perhaps it's good to know what so many others experience -- to develop both a sense of proportion and one of empathy.

The ultrasound showed a normal anatomy. Life resumes -- and normalcy has rarely seemed so very touched by the unseen hand of an awesome God.

Walking the thin line

I wish I wasn't overcome with total incredulity when some conservatives talk about abiding by the "original intent" of the those who wrote the Constitution. Who knows how our Founding Dads would apply what they wrote? Do these Constitutional fundies really believe that it's possible to make law without intrepreting it though their own lenses? Of course our experience is a factor when we make judgments. It's fair for others to call us on it, too, if they think we are being unfair.

On the other hand, I find myself almost equally amazed at the disregard of those who argue for continuing reinterpretation without regard to tradition. Roe V. Wade is bad law because it read a basically non existent "right to privacy" into the Constitution. It's perfectly reasonable to argue for a right to privacy, butlet's not pretend it was part of the intent of the Framers.

I have the same problem in the church -- caught between the conservatives, who want to maintain the old order while people flee in millions, and the liberals, who want to accomodate the latest cultural trends without paying attention to the Scriptures or tradition.

Every time we move too far in one direction or another, we run the risk of becoming irrelevant to most of the world. All around us, people struggle to keep a marriage going, or how to get past the first emotional tsunami when a child tells them she's gay, whether they should fudge their income on their tax forms, or pay taxes for the woman who comes to clean their house every two weeks. They won't be helped by ideas given verbatim from 2000 years ago, or made on the fly, based on something we read in Redbook.

It's challenging to balance in the tension between wisdom and revelation. I sympathize with those who want to take sides. But the truly productive work is done somewhere in the murky middle.

dimanche, mai 31, 2009

Their time of the month

I'm simmering. Steaming. Really annoyed. Guess I'm just being female, huh?

When did men convince women that to display emotion somehow made what you were saying wrong? That tears were a sign of an unbalanced mind and heart? That to feel "empathy" was an illegimate characteristic for, say, a judge?

I'd like to flay a few of the commenters on my recent GR post for displaying their so-male arrogance when it comes to figuring out whether Judge Sonia Sotomayor would be an appropriate person to serve on the Supreme Court. But I can't, for personal and professional reasons.

Here are the personal ones. You can figure out the professional reasons.

I come from a family where a parent sometimes used words to inflict emotional distress. I recall a few sad times when I did it to my own children -- and then stood back in dismay, horrified by that critical, clever, macerating voice. Eighty percent of the time, I'll bite my tongue. It takes a lot to push my buttons, and then I brood about it for weeks, wondering what I could have done differently. On the other hand, I also suffer from an excess of empathy -- it took about an hour into a wounded ex-wife's story tonight before it emerged that she has been dating a guy for three years. In the meantime, I'd experienced every twist and turn of her abandonment as though it was my own story -- which it certainly was not.

I know these guys on GR aren't really worth getting all fussed and bothered by. After all, they are just venting their emotions. Only they either don't know that they are doing so, or they don't have the balls to admit it. I'm not sure which one is more silly.