Tag: Life

Member Post

 

The village I grew up in had a population of about 850 (not including livestock). It was a peaceful little place, nestled next to mountains, and far away from the hustle and bustle of any city. In winter, I played outside in the snow; in summer, I played outside on the lawn (or in the […]

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Member Post

 

If your life is so pathetic you have to get drunk to have a good time; that is on you. Others shouldn’t have to pay the price for your problems. Get a life. Get over it. Realize that you are not the center of the universe. Get a designated driver. You can’t fix your life […]

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The Love of Dangerous Things

 

There’s talk – silly, absurd talk – of banning the private ownership of cars. Molon labe, baby! You can have my Yukon, my three-ton id, when you pry it from my cold dead hands. And you can forget the self-driving nonsense, too: up here where I live, you can’t see the lines on the road four months out of the year on account of the blowing snow. Good luck dealing with that, Google.

Ayn Rand, in one of her two major works of fiction (I’m going to go with Atlas Shrugged, but someone correct me if I’m wrong – it’s been almost 40 years since I read it) has her heroine wax rhapsodic (as if there’s any other way to wax) about the act of smoking. Dagney (or possibly Dominique) marvels at the flame held in obeisance inches from her, the spark of destruction so casually lashed into service for the pleasure of mankind. Never having been a smoker, and coming of age as I did during the first great anti-smoking crusades of the ’70s, I admit that the imagery was less compelling for me than it might have been for someone of my parents’ generation. But Dagney’s ruminations have remained with me, an oddly vivid example of our peculiar attraction to dangerous things – and to mastering them.

Quote of the Day: We Can’t Erase our Lives

 

“Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.” – John W. Gardner

When I first read this quote, I was intrigued by it! It suggested so many things. One of my favorite images was getting a pencil set each fall for school—you know the kind that had 12 multi-colored pencils, printed with my name—SUSAN KONOWITZ—in gold letters, no less. The pencils even came in their own faux-leather packet with a snap on the top. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. But I digress—there’s a more valuable point here.

As we look back on our lives, we realize, especially as we grow into our “senior years,” that we made lots—I mean lots—of mistakes: poor decisions, hurt relationships, bad choices. For me, once I get past an initial regret, I tend not to dwell on a mistake. Just as Mr. Gardner suggests, we can’t change the past: we can’t relive it (although we may try to alter it in our minds), repair it, or enter a time machine and make different choices. All of our choices have brought us to this day—this amazing day—that gives us immeasurable opportunities to live fully.

Sermon Du Jour: Where’s He At?

 

So Where Is Jesus Now?

In a couple of months, it’ll be Easter, and the same church signs around the state that proclaimed JESUS IS BORN will be proclaiming in black block letters JESUS IS RISEN, sometimes adding INDEED in case the point is missed.

Novelty and the Pursuit of Happiness

 

Back in 2003, when my daughter was still in kindergarten, we took a week-long vacation to a little place called White Lake, NC. It’s a place where my wife had vacationed often as a child, and I’d been there once or twice, but as a family we hadn’t gotten into the habit of taking summer vacations. This was a new thing, and I wasn’t sure I’d like it: a week away from the comforts of home?

But I needn’t have worried. It didn’t take me long to relax and begin to enjoy the change of scenery. I spent my days taking naps, reading, going for long walks, and having a blast playing in the water with my daughter. We played miniature golf at the nearby Putt-Putt. In the evenings we drove to nearby Elizabethtown for dinner at some of the restaurants there. On our last evening, I walked to the end of the pier and looked out over the quiet lake, thinking back over the week we’d just had. It was a bittersweet moment: tears came to my eyes as I thought about how much fun we’d had and about the impending return to the normal routine.

I’d enjoyed that week so much that the following year I was eager to do it again. And so we did. We went back to White Lake and stayed in the same cabin; I filled my days with the same activities, and we made a point of revisiting our favorite Elizabethtown restaurants. As that second White Lake vacation came to an end, I walked to the end of the pier in a conscious attempt at recreating that emotional moment from a year before. Once again I felt that mix of happiness and sadness. I remember asking myself: why do I get to feel this way only once per year?

“A Pearl Beyond Price” or Why I Love Gems

 

When I was a little girl, my grandpa was a fixture in my life. He lived about 15 minutes down the road, give or take, and could be with us on short notice. For that reason among others, he was there often enough. My mom’s side of the family had many gatherings bringing the children and grandchildren together. I grew up with my cousins as playmates.

Since I was at an awkward age distance to the cousins and I was less interested in rule-breaking, I often ended up seated with my grandpa listening to him talk about his most recent adventures, politics, and his varying opinions on everything (and he had an opinion on everything). I loved to hear him talk about his rock hunting. He was an amateur gemologist and had fun creating lapidary art. He made bolo ties and rings and a few different things here and there. Mostly, he enjoyed the hunt. He had a story about where he got each rock, where the gem was hidden within it, how he would cut it to get the most of the stone and the best presentation. Once he had cut and buffed each stone to a shine, he’d bring it around to show it off. Grandpa enjoyed the hunt so much that when he died, he had the only spare room in their tiny house filled with rocks; coffee canisters full of rough sapphires, opals, topaz. Some larger rocks were spread out on the table for later critical examination. We still have a number of those veined rocks in our possession and have never managed to have them cut. We keep them nearby and remember.

How’s Life, Ricochet?

 

Every so often, when the culture or political wars get so out of hand that even this political nerd wants to ignore it all and settle down with the cat, I throw out a “how’s life” post for Facebook. The idea is to catch up on the important stuff: kids, grandkids, parents, pets, shiny new jobs, an old job that’s driving you crazy, recipes, what-have-you.

The lovely blonde suggested a similar post for Ricochet. So, Rico-peeps, what’s new with your life outside of politics, policy, and culture wars? Have cute pet pictures? Pictures of the grandkids with watermelon all over their faces? Do you have good news to share, or need a shoulder to lean on after a summer that ought to be nuked from orbit?

Life on Hold

 

Technically, it’s against company policy to walk and talk on a cell phone at the same time but considering who was calling I answered anyway and slipped into an empty conference room, sliding the little placard over to read “In Use” and taking a seat in one of a dozen chairs. Earlier that morning I’d gotten an email from the adoption agency that they had something they needed to discuss, and after setting up a time for them to call I’d bounced back and forth from hope to dread. Either this was going to be the moment they told us they had a match for my wife and me, or something in the process had gone sideways. The minute I heard the voice on the other end of the call I knew it was the latter and my heart sank.

With a couple of pleasantries out of the way she told me that the ministry in Poland that oversaw adoptions had made an announcement that morning that two out of the three organizations in the country that facilitated international adoption would no longer be allowed to do so, and one of those being closed was one our agency used. She didn’t know what had happened for such a drastic shift in policy, there had been no warning that anything was wrong. There was more to the conversation of course, but to be honest I can’t remember any of it. I was all but speechless for the entire call.

Vulnerability, or the Time RyanM and VC Saved My Life

 

“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.” ― Madeleine L’Engle

When I was about 4 or 5, I started taking swimming lessons. I’ve always loved swimming and it’s one of the few athletic things I’ve actually been consistently good at, regardless of the rest of my physical health.

Member Post

 

This past weekend we hosted a close relative. She is not in a good place. Her view of life, or at least what she seems to notice the most, is one of hardship and tragedy. She makes a point of mentioning it to others when her mind doesn’t wander, and, at times, offers such observations […]

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Rationalization and Charlie Gard

 

Our ability to rationally evaluate and make choices upon our evaluation is what places us above the animals. Yet, our very rationality can sometimes work against us. We become too subtle and too arrogant. After our first clear ethical response, we start rationalizing to obtain a result that, however unethical, benefits our narrow interests. We can rationalize away the most basic human right. Because a few parents risk the health of their children, this serves as an excuse for a single-payer administrative state to remove all parental rights and make choices that are only appropriate for parents to make. After waiting 11 months for the child to die, now an immediate mercy killing is justified to save the face of the institution. Of course, we’ll rationalize this by talking about the best interests of the child determined by medical science, not emotion. Oh, what a brave new world.

Promote Insecurity!

 

We often crave things that are bad for us. We have long known this to be true in the physical realm: eating too much food is not good.

But we also have a deep and innate desire for security – a stocked freezer and a well-provisioned bank account. We want to be able to live our lives without worries, to keep all our fears at bay.

Member Post

 

You know the old saying: “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.” I’ve also heard that God moseys along while the devil is always on the run. And, of course, there’s the legend of the tortoise and the hare. All of which means that if you’re in too big a rush, you’re likely to slip […]

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Lifelines and Deadlines

 

“Are you sure you should go?” my mother asked. Yes, I was. Positive. A family friend had just lost her newborn. How could I not go, unless my presence at the funeral would disturb her too greatly? But I had been assured this was not so: the grieving mother would not be undone by the sight of the visibly pregnant, and would rather have more people, not fewer, with her to remember her own child’s brief life. So I went.

The child had died of SIDS. The coroner said there was nothing that could have prevented it. It was just one of those things. The grieving mother, though, believed the truth might be otherwise. Hers had not been an ideal pregnancy from the start. She had made choices that she now wished she could unmake. No one could wish to add to her grief by agreeing with her, at least not during a time when the grief was so fresh. But her regrets were understandable ones.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and David French of National Review cheer the many thousands of Americans marching for life and against abortion Friday in Washington. They also shake their heads at President Trump’s suggestion that a 20 percent border tax on Mexican imports might be a good way to pay for a border wall. And they discuss all the humiliating concessions and retractions Atlantic magazine has to make following its story suggesting ultrasound is used to deceive women into believing their unborn babies are people with heartbeats who can feel pain.

Black Clergy, Government Dependency, and Black Responsibility

 

Prior to November’s election, a group of black clergy led by Jackie Rivers — of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies — delivered a letter to Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters.

The letter questioned how Clinton might have addressed various problems within black communities — like abortion, police brutality, and poor education and economic opportunities.

The letter concluded by requesting a meeting with Hillary Clinton during her first 100 days in office to discuss these issues in more detail.

House GOP Moves to End Federal Funding of Planned Parenthood

 

We’re used to the GOP Congress making headlines for breaking promises to their voters or letting Democrats pick their pockets. So it’s especially satisfying to hear Paul Ryan’s latest detail on the House Republicans’ Obamacare strategy: no more funds for Planned Parenthood.

Republicans plan to strip Planned Parenthood of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding as part of their rapid push to repeal President Obama’s health-care overhaul, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday.

Ryan said a defunding measure would appear in a special fast-track bill that is expected to pass Congress as soon as next month. “Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation bill,” he said at a news conference in response to a question about plans to defund the organization.

Member Post

 

What will I believe? Here are examples of what I am not talking about: Ideas of right and wrong Ideas of human nature The value of life As important as these beliefs are, these are not the most fundamental. These are second order answers, particulars, really corollaries of a larger first premise. So what is […]

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Member Post

 

People make mistakes – grave mistakes, even – like the time my wife bought me some coffee grounds which weren’t Starbucks French Roast. I was hopeful: given the scale of my coffee career we’d save a lot of money over time with the brand she was steering me toward. In any event, I took one sip, […]

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