Archive for May, 2011

May 28, 2011

Breakage

I’ve been canning today (during record-setting heat. Sorry Community, I should have known better than to start this project), and just unloaded my first breakage-free pot-O-canning.

(I am *so* thankful for experienced people with simple answers.)

Middle daughter bounced through the kitchen and asked if any broke this time. I said I figured out what made them break, and carefully avoided it this time.

“What made them break?” she asked.

“Temperature stress,” I began, then translated it down to 6-year-old level. “When the inside is too different from the outside, the glass isn’t strong enough to handle the difference, and it breaks.”

And I froze.

Wow.

That is a good explanation for several things in my world right now.

May 25, 2011

The Love is Gone

Or rather, the gushy relief of discovery has dissipated.

I didn’t have it long, or even all the time, but things happened last week that removed the press that was driving me out of my home church and toward Catholicism.

Someday I’ll write about the initiation of counseling with our pastor, my terror of anticipation and relief at being wrong.

For the record: I love to be wrong. This could say something about a basically pessimistic nature– or that I’d rather be corrected of the negitive.

Three big things happened last week:

  1. Pastor said he saw no profit in discussing/debating theology. (This freed me of the fear the men were going to gang up on me to talk me out of my “new” beliefs.  I was ready to start praying to Catherine of Alexandria, and I haven’t gotten to praying-to-saints yet.)
  2. I brought up the fact my husband’s depression predates mine, and the focus left my issues to focus on him for a while. (More confirmation that this is legitimate couple-counseling and not gang-up-on-Amy).
  3. During Sunday school the hyper-Calvinist who’s been unwilling to hear my non-Calvinist arguments/reasoning verbalized that he is blunter than he should be, and recognized the wrong of that. (It’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to an apology out of him, and I’ll totally  take it.)

I am so thankful to see the outworking of my prayers, but with those events, the wind is out of my sails.  I am no longer being driven away from my home church.

Intellectually I’m okay with that.

In two months I would have wondered if this were all a dream, with me simply being pushed away from pain, and embracing welcome.

But it is more work to engage my mind again and use my will to continue in the work of self-education.

I am convinced of the necessary role of emotion: it was accepting emotion that allowed me to say this isn’t right, initiating my trajectory toward the Church in earnest.

But more and more I’m convinced that real health is the harnessing of all strengths: mind, emotion, body and will without over-honoring any the expense of the others.

So I think this receding of emotion is part of God strengthening other parts that need more exercise.

I trust my Shepard.

May 8, 2011

Coming Out…subtly

As an NP, I’m skilled at seeing things, both real and imagined.

And I’m told my NF makes me more likely to “project” my thoughts and feelings on others.

(At times this combination has made me a leedle paranoid.  For example, that Mom knows what I’m really thinking and is such a cool customer she’s waiting for me to crack first…)

Today I hosted a family gathering at my home.  I didn’t hide any of my Catholic reading, but I made sure The Catholic Family Bible was returned to its shelf after I read this morning.  And I wanted to file away the guide to confession  I had brought home from the Wednesday service before Easter.

When I made that mental note I was looking at the pamphlet propped up by a pile of other things on my desk in the livingroom.

I was cleaning up after the party (my introvert self so thankful it was over) when I noticed the image was still where I had first noticed it.  I squirmed.  I wondered who had seen it, and if they’d noticed it whether they’d known what it was, and if they’d known what it was, what they’d thought of it, and me.

Then I noticed that the shelf with all of my specifically Catholic books, while subtle enough when one is standing, was directly in one’s line of sight when sitting on the couch four feet across from it.

So when I saw my folks at their place later today, I kept expecting my mom to question me.

Thinking about it later I realized that she never sat down, but if she had I wouldn’t have had to worry about it: she’s  not the observant one.  What I have to wait for is for my dad to bring it up with her, and see if after they’ve had a chance to talk…

Returning to the first point, I keep telling myself not to be forced into talking about anything before I’m ready, and if (they noticed or not and) they don’t say anything to me about it, I can at least posit that while this Catholic  may have been “done in a corner,” it was at least not done in secret.

I can point to today and my bookshelf and say You saw it there first.

I have a small theory about learning, or understanding. Mainly it’s that our brains take in more than we’re aware of, and that’s how God prevents complete shock in so many cases.  With the astuteness of 20/20 hindsight we can look back and say, Maybe I should have known that.  Or even I guess I *did* know that!

Or maybe I’m just projecting again…

May 3, 2011

Concerning Mary

This began as an epic comment on Churchman Kirk’s Mary post, so I figured that my own (albeit raw) post was in order.

Mary is a dream-come-true for me, which, in my pseudo-insecurity makes me question the impulse to embrace her.

As a (shall we say) forceful female, I’ve always resisted attempts to imply “boys are better.”

Not that I persisted long in my childish notion that girls are better, but I stood strongly on the philosophy of (I learned later) the musical Oklahoma! “I ain’t sayin’ I’m no better than anybody else, but I’ll be damned if I ain’t jest as good.”

What’s always been hard for me is not encountering nearly as many men with this attitude.

And so I find the veneration of Mary honorable and a hopeful act, for by acknowledging her place and treating her with respect, I see the value of all women (vicariously) lifted up.

That said, I totally get the hesitancy of adoration (is that the right term, or are the labels restricted to certain individuals?) for Mary.  And Kirk’s post framed it nicely for me when he said,

A Catholic man must be a momma’s boy indeed!

When I hear that term, momma’s boy, I think of my own attachment to my mother, and the difficulty I had “separating.”

In the TV show Burn Notice the main character observes, “People with happy families don’t become spies. A bad childhood is the perfect background for covert ops – you don’t trust anyone, you’re used to getting smacked around, and you never get homesick.”

I wondered a lot about “happy families” in high school.  How does normal separation happen when no one is driving you away?  For me I think I made up problems.  And in doing so I followed a time-test progression of how children see their mothers:

  1. Mommy is amazing! A goddess! None can compare with the giver of all life and sweetness!
  2. Mom’s alright.  Useful to have you around.  OMyGoodness you just saved my LIFE thank you!
  3. My mom is great and definitely better than your mom, but I’ve developed enough social skills not to put it quite that way. Or even to really speak of it much.  I just know.
  4. Mother you’re in the WAY!
  5. Yeah, I know she’s great,but I’m mature enough not to be deluded to thinking she’s *perfect*

In this way MOTHER is a mirror, not only of our developmental stage but just as clearly of ourselves.

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May 3, 2011

A Well-Timed Warning

At the end of March I purchased G.K. Chesterton’s Conversion and the Catholic Church for my Kindle.

That would have warned my husband, if he were me, but despite not erasing the receipt (so I know he noted it), Dear Husband did not infer the beginning of my research.

Chesterton’s 3 stages of conversion (in my own words)

  1. I’ll be fair and look straight at Catholicism.  I can tell it’s not been treated quite fairly
  2. Wow.  This really makes sense with the way I perceive reality
  3. Crap.  Now I have to Choose or run from The Truth

I find this demarcation delicious (if terrifying at first), especially since I recognized myself in the 3rd stage from the first awareness that I was paying attention.

Correspondingly I am the convert he warns lay people to be careful of when he says,

For the convert’s sake, it should also be remembered that one foolish word from the inside does more harm than a hundred thousand foolish words from the outside. …

There is many a convert who has reached a stage at which not word from any Protestant or pagan could any longer hold him back. Only the word of a Catholic can keep him from Catholicism.

I have met a number of sincere Catholics in recent weeks, and without stretching to say they major on minors, I can at least observe that they emphasize as essential things that are at best important.

This is a big deal because I know I’m a bit bullish (as in bull terrier) and hang on until I am satisfied in a matter.  But I grieve for those who are driven off. Honestly, if I didn’t have this awareness (the quote from Chesterton) in the back of my mind I might have been driven away.

I grieve because I see the same thing happening in my protestant evangelical church, where Precision (which I love, btw) can overrun Love. That every word be 100% correct is important in dogma– if I’m using the word correctly– but please let analogies and poetry be analogies and poetry.  I already understand that God is too much to be contained in one picture.

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May 1, 2011

Feeling Judged

How can I tell when it’s external, and when it’s projecting?

You know, like judging myself, and attributing it to someone else.

And would knowing make a difference?

My house is trashed.  And lately is all the time.

Two weeks ago the family of my 8-year-old’s best friend came over.  The friend entered and took in the piles that adorn my front room.

“Wow,” she said, sounding impressed.  “This place is messy.”

Her mom walked in a moment later and said nothing, though I expect she had the same thought, since children’s standards tend to be built by the mother.

The mother never really seemed to relax at the table (maybe the tea was a poor choice of flavor) and jumped at the chance to get back outside.  She kept asking me what projects consumed my time (Ducks? Rabbits? Garage? Library? Garden?), remaining tense as I blithely reiterated nothing big would happen till the snow was gone. And I finally realized she must be fishing for a reason for our house to be so destroyed.

And the real reason is that I fight depression and feel successful when my girls get through math, language arts and allergen-free meals.  I know the food is sanitary, the family has clean clothes, and this is (frankly) enough for me now.

Despite mentioning the novel in that last post I’m not actively working on it, for the above-mentioned minimums consume all my attention and energy.

For my creative- and story-hunger, I’ve turned to knitting and music.  And not the complex knitting, either.  I started a 3D “pet” and quickly decided that is still beyond my skill-level.  I am currently working a gaugue-swatch for a little 2T cardigan.

(I didn’t want to do it, at first, since I don’t have any 2Ters anymore, but then I resigned myself to sensibility, and agreed with the book that starting small really was the preferable way to learn something.  It’s done sooner, less emotional investment, and troubles probably won’t be noticed by the wearer.)

This mom and I don’t have much in common, and our conversation has always been minimal, but now I wonder if she’s thinking of my messy house every time she sees me.  Makes me want to figure out enough small-talk to interact and decide if she’s only tired (like me), and thereby reassure my bruised little heart.

But the fact is, I’m no good at small-talk.  There are times when I like to talk to hear myself talk, but those are times when the person I’m with also likes to hear me talk and continually sparks these fabulous verbal essays.

The basic nature of man. The difference between openness and intimacy.  Separating giftedness from personalty type. Archetypes compared to religious symbolism and practice.  These topics energize and challenge me and I can’t race fast enough to beat the clock.  I’ll talk till I’m hoarse and tired.

I feel alive when challenged in this way.

I can talk at other times. (I’m working on a post about What Homeschooling Didn’t Teach Me.  One of these is “How to not take things personally.”  The group gets asked a question, I’m often the first to answer, and nearly as often without remembering to raise my hand.)  I have a reputation as a talker, but for all that I’m bad at small talk.

Which means I’m really insecure in lower-tier personal interactions.  I almost wrote an e-mail tonight (I blogged instead. Aren’t you lucky?)

Dear [Name],

Are you still thinking about my messy home?  I’m still thinking about your non-reaction.  Are you afraid of eating my contribution at the potluck, now?  I promise my kitchen is cleaned daily– often more It’s the kids, I swear.  I keep telling them food is optional, but they don’t see it my way. 

And don’t remind me about the baskets of clothes.  I sometimes wonder why we bother with dressers.

Please go back to the completely ignoring me or else climb my flimsy ladder of self-disclosure and fact-spewing to let me know you still value me as a human being despite knowing what my home looks like.

Yeah, I realized it was too weird.  I’m so proud of me.  In college I might have sent it.

Conclusion: I’m just as insecure, I’m just matured enough to hide it better.  From people who know me in real-life.