Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Crisis of Faith

I am not having one, but I don't seem to be much help to those people who are.  That makes me incredibly restless and itchy, so this is just an outlet for the maelstrom of disjointed thoughts swirling around in my head.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have never had a crisis of faith.  Maybe it's my phlegmatic nature, but working on the assumption that Catholicism is indeed the one true faith informed by a just, omnipotent and omniscient God, I assume that there is a reasonable answer for every question, and we can find it if we look hard enough.  Likewise, whatever crap happens to me in the life must have an equally compelling reason, and it isn't necessary for me to know.  That is not part of my job to work out.  That is why I am not God.

Many times the first thing I hear is the tired old question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"  It just saps the life out of me, because it has been asked and answered so many times before.  Deep down, it's usually a case of the tough getting going when the going got tough.  They hadn't really thought about it before and went through life on spiritual cruise control until suddenly something horrible happened in their lives, and now they have to reinvent the theological wheel.  Their prayers weren't answered to their satisfaction; God wasn't there for them; they didn't get their miracle.  Clearly God isn't worth their time.

What helped me most during the dark times was putting things in perspective.  The worst suffering in our lives is probably peanuts compared to the suffering of someone else.  There is always someone with a more compelling tragedy.  Getting pissy and angry with God is completely pointless, because He is the best and sometimes only comfort.  The crucifixion should be reminder enough.

"But now I'm thinking for myself," they say.  Are they really thinking, or are they just angry and feeling sorry for themselves?  I congratulate them if they are able to intuit what we have gained over thousands of years of collective study.  They come to the prideful conclusion that they don't have to take this supposed abuse from a tyrannical deity, that they are taking a stand for the little man, a stand against all the injustice of the world.

Even if God was an arbitrary tyrant, what would this little hunger strike accomplish?  He doesn't need our approval of His management of the universe.  Deciding to ignore Him doesn't make Him go away.  If we are angry enough to deny His existence, who are we angry at now?  If we acknowledge His existence but don't like Him, we can either just come to terms with Him because there is no getting around it, or we can invent the God we like and live a happy fantasy.

There are some hard questions which must be asked.  Are we rejecting everything we ever thought we knew and believed about God because we suddenly know better, or because we are angry and emotional?  Are we too proud to admit we were wrong?  Are we getting some perverse enjoyment out of the mistaken romance of our own "Non serviam," or the feeling of self-righteous victimhood?  Are we just too lazy to give the matter serious thought anymore?

In any case, imagining God to be a capricious abuser who enjoys inflicting suffering on us, that the crucifixion was no more than a case of divine one-upmanship to stem the tide of human complaints, must be a very bitter and lonely place to be.

There is no need to stay there.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Now that we have a spare moment . . .

Now that her highness is in bed, I can finally get a spare moment on the computer.  I do so miss my laptop these days.  Little JoJo has become the clingy koala bear who doesn't like to play independently for more than five minutes.  This picture was only possible after she accidentally fell asleep after screaming to be picked up while I was busy making lunch.  Thanks for small miracles.

She is now five months old and sixteen pounds.  Her new skills include laughing and sitting up in the bath.  She's mastered all the toys on her jumperoo already, so we'll have to use some ingenuity to keep it interesting.  She's broken her winning streak of sleeping through the night, and now calls for assistance regularly around 2 and 5AM.

In other news, I've finally decided to walk the walk when it comes to plastics and an ecologically conscious household.  The first steps include reusable lady pads, which I discover are called "mom cloth."  I sprung for the organic cotton ones from Etsy rather than the polyester from Amazon because of the plastics issue.  They haven't arrived yet, so I can't comment on their performance.  It was a very short leap there from JoJo's cotton diapers.  I was also finally brave enough to buy a man razor, which I'm finally getting the hang of after some trepidation.  I can't continue to rant against single-use plastics without being willing to make some changes.  That also means a win for Smuckers natural peanut butter over the other brands because of the glass jar.  I've been saving them so we can eventually get rid of all our plasticware food storage.

Stay tuned for many more posts about the crafting projects that have been going on.  The felt food got bogged down in the green beans, since they need to be sewn by hand and free time is in short supply.  I still have to post pictures of the busy book I finished before she was born, and I managed to bang out a growth chart and a rewards jar.  One other extremely forward-looking activity which has captured my interest is printing out handwriting worksheets from an online generator, both printing and cursive.  Seems you can find an online generator for anything.  Little JoJo will have plenty of practice for her penmanship, and the extra busy work will let her earn marbles for the aforementioned rewards jar.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Baby Progress Report

For about five minutes, I imagined little premature JoJo would be a petite, underdeveloped baby.  Now three months old, Princess Chunk is closing in on 15 pounds and wearing clothes sized for a 12 month-old.  No problems catching up to the average here.  I am also extremely gratified to report that she has figured out how to deal with a normal breastfeeding routine, and we have been able to put away the pump.  Hooray for many fewer bottle washings.
Her current interests include morning stroller walks and lounging on the porch with the dog.  She's reached that awkward phase when she's awake more often and completely bored by the activities she's capable of.  Hopefully that will spur her on to more manual dexterity and we can break out some of the cool toys.

Most fabulous of all, she's consistently sleeping through the night in her own bed in her own room, generally from 9:30 PM to 6 AM, with no diaper overflow.  I feel like we've won the parental lottery.

My every spare baby-free moment is spent on a new all-consuming project - a deluxe kitchen and felt toy food set for her future use.  We've finished making hamburgers, lettuce, spinach, tomato slices, onion rings, mushrooms, avocados, bacon, fried eggs, cheese slices, condiments, cookies, sandwich bread, luncheon meat, linguine and farfalle pasta, two kinds of cereal, and pancakes with all the toppings.  Currently in progress are kiwi, banana, strawberry and peach fruit slices, ravioli, breakfast sausage, and more cookies.  Getting some little green pom poms for peas, and considering making green beans.  Loads of fun, but very time consuming.  Someday we'll have our dining room table back.