Chronic Indecision

Today I realized that chronic indecision is a type of self-sabotage. I also realized that chronic indecision is the story of my life after high school.

This newsflash was made possible by daily Ignatian prayer and followed by a lingering and eye rolling facepalm. I keep telling myself, “be simple.” Continue on the straightforward road and avoid the temptation to complicate matters with endless overthinking and making decisions which are subject to change the next day as I lose the drive to embark on that path.

I’m holding up St. Joseph as my paradigm of humble obedience. The Lord told him, “go to Egypt.” He went to Egypt. Simple as that.

I am stepping out in faith and doing what I think God is calling me to do, and trusting that he will redirect my steps if I start veering in the wrong direction.

How’s that for faith?

My habit of chronic indecision began after high school when I had no faith and everything was up to me and I was paralyzed of making the wrong decision. And I fled everything.

But now I know that God is there with me to guide me in any direction my life takes. This is both a comfort and a leap in the dark. Because really? I am not in control.

stjoe

 

Vows

We celebrated our 6 year anniversary this past weekend.

On your anniversary you’re supposed to write a sappy post about how you married your best friend and how you couldn’t imagine doing anything with anyone else.

Well, that’s true. I did marry my best friend and I can’t imagine life without him.

But mostly all I can think to write is that my marriage started hard and stayed hard for five years, and now it’s a lot better.

I’ve cried more than I’ve ever cried in my life, learned to love by sheer force of will without expecting consolation and kept my eyes on God.

That’s my blood there, smeared right across the page.

Those vows are serious business. Worth the trouble, too.

Threads of grace

An atheist cousin of mine wondered recently about what could induce someone to turn from simple deism to Christianity and ultimately Catholicism.

It’s easier for me to describe the progression from Christianity to Catholicism than it is for me to describe the journey from a multifaceted “none” to Christianity. It was like a cast net spread flat in the surf, shifting under the sand and invisible and then suddenly pulled together by an unseen hand. It was like a million different threads converging to one, or a handful of single digits that add up to one perfect sum.

It wasn’t linear.

A Life Preserver.

These words are basically my life preserver.

I have been spending every day increasingly irritable, living life hopping from nap time to bed time. Today nap time didn’t happen as planned. I spent it helping my toddler poop in the correct receptacle (the potty) instead of the wrong receptacle (the pull up). By the time that was over and one with baby Cara started coughing and woke herself up. After 30 minutes.

In my irritation I looked down at myself. I hadn’t showered in days, hadn’t had much time alone, hadn’t brushed my teeth or fixed my hair into anything other than a messy bun. Hadn’t had the opportunity to be creative. I realized that I hadn’t cared for myself, and now the lapse was turning to desperation and transforming me into some gruff ogre of a mother who was holding on for dear life until naptime.

I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in almost a year.

I let baby cry for 10 minutes while I took a shower. God was in those droplets.

I scooped baby out of her temporary bed and brought her to the kitchen where I plopped her down and searched desperately for flour, sugar, anything to bake. We were out of flour. Next I grabbed a random skein of Red Heart and feverishly knit 40 stitches, joined them in the round and ripped them out again, feverishly trying to make something. Anything.

Clearly creativity needs to become a priority in my life again.

It seems like every time I make one thing a priority, something falls off the edge. Really, there must be a way to make room for all the things, but in proper proportion.

I oughta make baby a red gnome hat.

What Game of Thrones Taught Me About the Gospel

200px-AClashOfKingsI finished A Game of Thrones and am exactly sixty percent through A Clash of Kings. That amounts to approximately 1200 pages of bloodshed, violence and intrigue. It’s not the cozy read that I usually pick up, and there are moments when I have to ask myself why I keep plowing through.

This series is dark and sometimes (frequently) ugly. One of the most prominent themes  seems to be a total disregard for human dignity and inherent worth. I’ve heard A Song of Ice and Fire touted as a “realistic” Lord of the Rings. That is, LOTR without a unifying idealism which challenges characters to rise beyond selfish desires. I think there is some truth in that. I believe that humans naturally gravitate toward selfishness, and selfishness is what drives us toward a utilitarian view of other people. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read about human beings being decapitated, disemboweled, burned, stabbed, raped, captured and otherwise used as objects.

Utilitarianism to the extreme, baby. It’s disgusting.

And yet the characters that I read about seem to be reaching for something beyond utilitarianism and not quite finding it. At the core they all desire to be loved and counted worthy. They desire parental approval. Wealth and other people are vehicles to gain power, and power seems to be a vehicle for gaining the acknowledgement of their own worth.

I keep seeing human beings reaching for the light, hoping for more and then remaining mired in darkness. They remind me of people I know.

They remind me of me.

Christ challenges us to live an elevated life. He calls us to abandon utilitarianism and love our neighbors as ourselves and serve our brothers. I call myself a Christian. I believe in in the message of Christ, and yet I frequently fail to live up to the level of self-abnegation that he calls me to. Every time I cut someone off in traffic, selfishness wins. Every time I see someone as an obstacle, selfishness wins. Every time I love someone only insofar as they are serving my own needs, selfishness wins.

A Song of Ice and Fire reminds me of the ugliness that reigns when I set my standard to selfishness and reminds me of the beauty of the opposite: the Gospel.

Vacationing Broke and Hangry

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Hangry on the St. Charles Street Car

Currently (still) reading Paris in Love by Eloisa James. The book is comprised of a series of short little quirky, funny, beautiful vignettes about family life in Paris. It’s partially making me want to visit Paris, and partially making me remember that my husband and I have absolutely no idea how to vacation in a city.

We visited New Orleans in 2011 for an obligatory American Library Association conference. I had to go to the conference because of my scholarship, but I wanted to visit NOLA because it was my high school Anne Rice fan girl dream vacation. Little did I know, we’d be spending the entirety of our visit broke and hangry. By the end, we hadn’t eaten anything Cajun and hand’t visited any of the historic landmarks on my to-do list. We entered the city totally unprepared and left in much the same fashion.

Our first couple of nights we spent at Queen Anne Hotel, an antebellum mansion turned hotel in the Garden District. It was old and a little creepy at night. Our room had the highest ceiling and and sturdiest build you could ever imagine. We spent a lot of time in the room arguing about what to eat and researching what to eat on my laptop. The best moment there was spent sitting on the creaky front porch splitting a Wal-Mart hoagie with Oliver, eating strawberries and watching the dusk descend on the little street in front of us as we downed some locally crafted Abita beer.

The Wal-Mart hoagie pretty much sums up our NOLA culinary experience. We kept searching for little local places to eat, being too broke to eat there, and then downing something totally unappetizing in sheer desperation. Every vacation of my entire life up to that point had been spent either camping with access to camp stove or renting a condo with a full kitchen. I was unprepared for having to pay for every single meal.

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Oak Alley Plantation

My favorite thing about New Orleans? Leaving it. We made a whole day out of leaving by the Great River Road which boarders the Mississippi and were able to stop at Oak Alley Plantation and Nottoway Plantation for tours. If I had a do-over I would’ve spent my entire vacation hopping from one plantation to the next, as most of them offer overnight accommodations.

My ideal Louisiana vacation would be to drive the Great River Road and do tours by day, and enjoy craft beers around a campfire by night. That would be the best. Let’s not talk about how I’m still broke, even in my dream vacation fantasies.

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Nottoway Plantation