November 26, 2014
Let me back up, because this post already sounds breathless and uncomfortably fan-girl-ish.*
As my professional (cough) alter-ego, I lurk around a nerdy corner of Reddit and try to answer some of the questions people pose about life (money), the universe (money) and everything (also money). I try not to give quick, pat answers. I try to think about where they're coming from, have compassion and patience, and generally be helpful if I can and silent if I can't.**
Some folks are...erm...less so.
But - and here's where I'll eventually meander back to where I started - some people are more so.
There's one user in particular that gives stellar advice - and when I say "stellar", I don't just mean that the advice itself is good, although, to be frank and not at all hyperbolic, it transcends goodness. I mean that the advice she gives is not only good, but also articulate, grammatically and factually correct, often funny, sometimes nerdy, and always unpretentious.
In short: she's who I want to be when I grow up in written form.
A few months ago one of my colleagues told me who she is in real life. A few weeks ago, she retweeted something of mine on Twitter and then messaged me and then we started emailing and then - today - we talked on the phone.
Some of my excitement has to do with validation, of the "we spoke and she didn't laugh at my stupidity" variety, which - again - has nothing to do with my actual stupidity and everything to do with a slowly dying lack of confidence in my actual intelligence. (It was excruciating to even write the "i" word without making a very self-deprecating joke.)
Some of my excitement has to do with the sheer joy of talking shop with someone a few years further down the road of experience than I am.
Most of my excitement , though - and this is a surprise to me too - comes from the fact that she's a she, married, with two kids, and I'm a she, too! I'm married, too! I have some number of kids too!
Listen, I have a lot of male colleagues (most of whom I've never met) that I respect, that respect me, that I work well with, and that I just flat out enjoy talking to. But women in my particular corner of the industry are scarcer on the ground.
I don't know why it matters, but it does.
All of that to say: "hero" might be a little strong, but "someone I respect, want to emulate, and want to genuinely respect me while not holding back when she notices where I might be in need of improvement" seems a little wordy.
*NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT
**You wouldn't even recognize me, that's how mature and stuff I am.
November 20, 2014
Let's not talk about it.
Tuesday: buses cancelled. Blowing snow, full-on winter with no "hey, it snowed" lead-in.
I foolishly wrestle the kids into their snow armour and walk out the front door because I can see the school from my front door, have been in a car or cabin with them (plus five other children that I love and five other adults that I also love) and Need to get them to school. Realize my mistake by the time I cross the road, bring them home at noon.
|This, my friends, is what's waiting for you on the other side of the crosswalk. Everest for little people.|
Wednesday: buses cancelled. Blue skies, warm(ish) sun.
I walk the kids to school because it's nice outside. Plus, I have work to do, Wednesday is my daycare day, and I've been looking forward to it - pining for it, even - since about eleven minutes after last Wednesday. Skies are less blue, sun is less warm(ish) on the walk home from school. One of Oscar's mitten seams isn't precisely lined up to the proper longitudinal degree, which means he moans (literally) All.The.Way.Home. It becomes a mournful duet when Lucy sees snow on her boot. Snow. On her boot.
Today: buses cancelled. Still dark outside. Snow everywhere.
I will wear pyjamas. The kids will wear pyjamas. They'll probably watch Frozen in a constant loop, because apparently that's a treat. I will work on my precious spreadsheets in another room and throw pretzels at them when they get hungry.
Tomorrow: IS A PA DAY.
I'm having some stress. It has nothing to do with snow days, but they are the frosty icing on the frosty, frosty cake.
Give me a couple of days and I'll be over it.
November 10, 2014
1. I'm a card-carrying member of the Ironic Generation and sincerity is hard.
2. It feels like I'm apologizing for not going to church, even though it's something I don't think bears apologizing for, or - worse - that I'm protesting too much, which must mean that I feel guilty, even though it's something I don't think bears feeling guilty about, or...you get the picture.
3. It's church. And twined up in with my reasons for not going are a whole bunch of things that are true about my relationship with Jesus Christ, which means:
i) more sincerity, GAH!
ii) sub-points (let's be honest, these are kind of awesome)
iii) writing about things that are almost exclusively internally experienced, like that's easy
iv) giving you reasons to reflect back on what you know about me and be surprised
4. A lot of the reasons I don't want to go to church sound a lot like reasons I think church is bad, or that I'm somehow smarter or better or more spiritually honest than all those people that show up week in and week out, which makes it hard to write the truth about why I don't want to go without making it sound like the truth about why no-one should go, which I'm pretty sure isn't the truth.
5. See point 4.
6. It's a pretty big topic, which might be a pretty big understatement.
7. It's not possible that some of you will read this, think back to what you know of me, and snort "if that lady is a believer, I don't want to be one", it's impossible that some of you won't. For that I apologize. Apologies everywhere.
8. Writing this is so much easier than actually saying it to people, which feels like an enormous cop-out.
There are also a million reasons* why I want to write a post about why we don't go to church
1. I like explaining myself, and my penchant for navel-gazing in public is only surpassed by my penchant for (choose one: reading, eating, avoiding people I kind of recognize in the grocery store because I'm too embarrassed that I don't remember their name to say hello, and maybe they don't recognize me anyway, and then I'll have to remember why I recognize them, and maybe I don't really recognize them, but how likely is that, since this is the town I grew up in and it's only ever had 11,000 people in it?)
2. I've had the same conversation with three different people in one week - ONE WEEK - and feel like it's kind of a theme.
3. Writing it out will (maybe, but let's not hold our breaths) make me organize my thoughts.
4. I'm afraid that most of my Reasons For Not Going to Church are intellectual objections that have very little to do with Going to Church and very much to do with I Don't Want to Go, and I'm hoping those of you still reading will call bullshit on me, should bullshit ever appear. (<= look, there's some!)
Deep breaths, people:
I believe that Jesus Christ is God, that he really lived, he really was perfect, he really died, and that God really brought him back to life, that this sequence of events is what make it possible for broken people in a broken world to be reconciled to the kind of life God meant for them to have before they decided to break themselves, and that the kind of life that God means for us to have is right. Inexpressibly right, consistent with his revealed character, and just...right.
I don't believe that "going to church" in the way we've come to understand the term is a biblically-mandated activity. I believe that spending ourselves in knowing, caring for, and supporting people - all of them, every single one - is The Activity. I'm not very good at it.
I believe that knowing other people who believe and are satisfied with everything that Jesus Christ promises to be in us, and maturing with them (which means actually knowing them, having real relationships with them, and being vulnerable to them through ups and downs) is precious, and these relationships with these people is what Church (as in - the body of believers, the body of Christ, etc.) really means.
Incidentally (<= not incidentally at all), I believe that ^^this^^ is The Important Bit, and everything else that makes people divide themselves up into denominations is window dressing.
I believe that church organizations and structures are logical because anytime a bunch of human beings get together in groups they have to fight the tendency to argue over stupid things, so organizing those stupid things in advance (like: "where are we going to meet?" "what time, again?" "will there be food?" "do we all talk, or just one person?" etc.) makes it easier to focus on the important things...but that it also makes it easier to focus on the stupid things and get them confused with the important things.
I believe that it's easier to know other believers by attending church services with them, because that's where theyre statistically likely to show up, and it's easy to assume that because they walk through the door they're willing to talk about Jesus, but it's also easier to simply attend beside them without actually building a relationship with them - rather like that developmental stage where toddlers play beside each other but not with each other.
I believe attending church services makes it harder to actually know, have real relationships with, and be vulnerable to people who do not believe in the same things that I do. Those people tend not to show up very often, funnily enough, which means I have to have my eyes open for them ALL THE TIME. Of course, I could do that in addition to attending services, so this one's kind of bullshit.
I believe that the minutiae of modern church, the logistics that go into making a Sunday morning happen (what do we do with the kids? we need people to clean the building, who pays for the electricity?) take a lot of energy that fools me into thinking that I'm Getting Involved, while taking up time and resources that could be devoted to getting to know, having real relationships with, and being vulnerable (and of service) to people who don't believe the same things that I do.
I believe that the power of God is such that he can reveal the truth about himself to anyone, anywhere, and anytime, which - again - makes me question what the value of church really is.
I believe that singing about Jesus in a group of people is my favourite activity ever, and am suspicious that it's the real reason I even want to attend church services.
I'm uncomfortably aware that the hubris of walking into a church and asking if the members, leadership, and organization as a whole meet my criteria for worthiness is obvious. Glaringly, excruciatingly so.
I believe that I can grapple with all of this, come to a satisfactory answer, and go to church honestly. I believe that I could never have grappled with it and still go to church honestly. What I don't know is if I can grapple with all of it, never come to a satisfactory answer, and go to church honestly.
*Look, ladies, I never said I was good at math.
Posted by The Mrs at 8:16 AM
November 6, 2014
"Scoff, scoff," I would scoff scoffingly, "that's just a cliché that Avon used in 1953 to sell bubble bath."
I would point to the description of this image, which - I scoff you not - is MOTHER'S DAY-BUBBLEBATH.jpg, and which I nicked from a page called "Mother's Day Gift Ideas" and call my case closed:
|You can't see the book, but it's there. I stand by my image choice.|
And pictures like this
Make me want to throw that radio into the water and scoff maniacally.
My, how the tables have turned. (See also: the scoffer becomes the scoffee)
I've become someone who looks forward to her bath at the end of the day.
Her bath with a book. Her scorchingly hot bath with bubbles and orange-smelly stuff and a cold cloth for her forehead and an even colder gin & tonic for her hand and a book in her other hand and sometimes even a (cotton candy scented) candle.
Feels like this:
Looks like this:
P.S. I didn't wear a girdle, didn't blow dry my hair, didn't have a coffee, didn't buy new clothes, and still managed to pass my exam last week. Will wonders never cease?
Posted by The Mrs at 5:46 AM