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Marriage is an alliance entered into by a man who can’t sleep with the window shut, and a woman who can’t sleep with the window open. —George Bernard Shaw
On so many levels, this quotation calls out for recognition—and a guffaw– if you’ve been married more than one week. When we first marry, we are basking in the glow of love, dreams, possibilities, and the future. And then reality hits, and we realize that marriage isn’t as glamorous as we expected.
My Bible tells me to love my neighbor as myself. I follow that as best as I can. I do not hate others. But I do not think that love means approval of whatever another wants to do. Sometimes approval ought to be withheld because it would countenance wrongdoing. I contend that saying that something […]
These words were spoken by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, to the family members of those who perished on September 11, 2001. And I’ve often thought she must have been channeling C.S. Lewis at the time:
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.–C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
It’s a theme that Lewis fleshed out some more in his reflection on the death of his wife, the American poet Joy Davidman, in the short memoir, A Grief Observed.
Stand-up comic, Erica Rhodes, stops in to trade stories with Bridget about their various adventures that always seemed to start with “there was a boy…”. They discuss the winding roads that brought them to comedy, why spoken word poetry is a lot harder than you might think, acting as a gateway drug, the joys of creativity, the embarrassment of journals full of men, and their struggles with love and commitment. They also cover therapists who flirt with you, the nightmare of online dating, Bridget’s “one headshot per couple” rule, Erica’s tactic of playing dumb which allows her to see who people really are, losing people close to you, searching for validation, and why what you think you want in a relationship is very different from what you actually need in a relationship. Don’t miss Erica’s new comedy special La Vie En Rhodes.
It is when we have the most cause to hate and reject our neighbors that we most need to remember the command to love them. Yes, my fellow Christians, it is a command and not merely an invitation. Though no challenge could be so difficult to fulfill, it is the foundation rather than the pinnacle of Christian love. It is a challenge not reserved only for the holiest saints but rather put to every one of us. Our Lord and Creator doesn’t even stop there. “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”
A philosophy professor and friend once caught me off guard by claiming that the Golden Rule is nothing special. Any person raised in a good home knows not to mistreat others as oneself doesn’t want to be abused.
While I believe most people are shocked and upset by yesterday’s events at our Capitol, we have to keep our wits and move forward. We cannot control the behavior of others and events that come and go, beyond our control. This includes yesterday’s breach of the Capitol in Washington, DC. I’ll give my thoughts briefly, […]
“I know there are people who do not love their fellow man, and I hate people like that.” – Tom Lehrer
Tom Lehrer spoke these words ironically, as a joke. Yet it has become a progressive mantra in the last few years. Some businesses post signs saying words to the effect that they love everyone – haters stay out. Progressives post signs on their lawns proclaiming “Love Trumps Hate,” while hating Trump and anyone who does not actively hate Trump. They claim saying “all lives matter” is racist, without attempting to explain logically how that can be true. They say “love is the answer” while slamming the door in the face of anyone who might point out that is not necessarily always true.
I was misled.
I grew up in the era of “Ozzie and Harriett” and “Leave It to Beaver.” In my formative years, I was taught that men grew up to be fathers and women grew up to be wives. Marriage was for life, except for that odd situation where a man abused a woman, or either party cheated. Sex was only proper when you loved someone. Somewhere in between first grade and high school, however, that changed. We had the Summer of Love starting in 1967, and the Vietnam War, and the integration of the public schools. Any one of those things would have been a social phenomenon, but all of them together at the same time truly upset the apple cart.
If I sound like a cranky get-your-kids-off-my-lawn old man, that’s not my intent. Integration was long overdue, and purchased in blood and toil. Women had been fighting for equal rights for decades and were not to be limited to one career choice as breeding stock. Allan Sherman explained in his book The Rape of the APE (American Puritan Ethic) that men and women had been having sex and not following the church rules for about 200 years. In fact, the myths that were sold by Ozzie Nelson and June Cleaver were already on their way out. Change is often painful, but stasis is more so. The Vietnam War put generations in conflict with each other, and it took until September 11, 2001, for that rift to finally heal with a united country. It’s taken less than 19 years for the rift to reappear.
John Wood Jr. comes by to talk about Braver Angels, the largest grassroots bipartisan organization in America, focused on the work of political de-polarization. Along the way he and Bridget have a fascinating conversation about his experience being raised by a mother who’s a liberal black Democrat from inner city LA and father who’s a conservative white Republican from Tennessee, and how his white father emphasized the greatness of black culture in the context of the greatness of America and made him proud of being a black man. He and Bridget bond over their similar experiences dealing with their parents’ divorces. They cover how you can engage conflict without suffering the debilitating impact of hatred in your own psychology, being chameleons growing up and learning to integrate all the different parts of themselves as they grew older, how important it is to see the human behind the opinion – especially when it’s one you don’t agree with, what’s truly noble and redeemable in all of our American traditions, and whether Trump is actually racist.
Chloé Valdary (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic) returns to discuss her new course Theory of Enchantment an innovative social-emotional, learning course that teaches character development, resilience and love. Her background in international diplomacy and conflict resolution led her to want to create a framework that teaches people how to love each other. The aspirational course blends pop culture and ancient wisdom to teach social and emotional learning and Chloé felt it was necessary as an antidote to the deconstructive ideology that’s permeating our culture right now. She and Bridget discuss why having no reverence for the past leaves us with no way to measure our progress, why we should see suffering as a gift, how people stereotyping others means they also stereotype themselves, and why the world is ending when people no longer dance with each other.
Full transcript available here: WiW87-ChloeValdary-Transcript
I grew up in Pittsburgh. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream”, and other speeches were part of my high school curriculum. I married a Southerner in 1987. I was shocked to hear that Martin Luther King, Jr. was not a part of his high school curriculum. I entered a different world, a world where in his growing up years, hired help was mainly black, maids, landscapers, and hardscape contractors. I began to see and hear of a South that was not part of my upbringing, but only depicted in movies like “Gone With the Wind.” However, I experienced more racism in the North than I ever did in the South.
Entering high school a naive 13-year-old, it was a landscape ripe with violent protests, riots, marches, Vietnam, Women’s Rights, Black Power. I was a kid growing up in a raucous world, but raised by a generation who grew up under a different tyranny. Being Polish and Ukrainian descent, my family came to the U.S. with nothing and created a home for me. They fled the Communists, Nazism, and Russian repression. They lived through the Great Depression. The women in my family suffered abuse as I learned, going back generations, as men from that era were angry, harsh, and even depressed. That led to drinking and fighting. Fortunately, my dad and my aunt who raised me were nothing like that. I was raised with a respect for law enforcement, the Church, and my elders. Step out of line and I got whooped, which I did quite a few times.
As a property manager, I look after beach properties for part-time owners. I received a text from an alarmed Atlanta client, saying that security encountered a strange individual who claimed he paid $2,400 to someone on Craig’s List to rent his home. Police were called and the dude claimed he drove from Michigan to Florida to move in.
He gave two numbers of the person who “rented” the property to the police, both of which were disconnected; clearly a scam. My client was alarmed that the person claimed that he entered into this agreement with someone who had the same last name as the owner, a very unusual last name. They also had a private gate code. So scammers are well at work during the worst worldwide event since World War II – why take a day off?
I’ve checked in with neighbors. It’s March and overly warm here in the Florida Panhandle. While watering my garden, my next-door neighbor received a beautiful bouquet from a delivery van. I hollered at the woman, who staggered to the front door with the huge, heavy vase.
“Oh, it’s a jolly challah-day with Susan, Susan makes your ‘eart so light!” OMG. Apologies for the appalling pun, to you, to @susanquinn, to Mister Susan, to the brothers Sherman who wrote the music and lyrics for Mary Poppins, and above all, to everyone who reads this, wherever you are, for inflicting upon you Dick Van Dyke’s excruciatingly embarrassing (embarrassingly excruciating?) excuse for a Cockney accent. Born within the sounds of Bow Bells, he most certainly was not:
. Simply wonderful advice. Happy Sunday! Preview Open
I didn’t get this posted for Valentine’s Day because I was out of town, but it’s too fun not to share. Every year I send out Valentine’s postcards to friends and family with an illustration done by one of my children. This year, my new daughter-in-law did the honors. I was hesitant to ask at first, but she seemed excited to be included in this family tradition. After years of asking my sons to remember to marry someone who would like me, I feel very blessed that (so far) they have listened! The dog in the illustration is my six-year-old puppy Inigo.
So I chose Valentine’s Day for my quote of the day, thinking it would be easy to write something about love, since I find myself madly in love with a truly wonderful man who is everything I ever wanted and better than I could ever have hoped for. While searching for the perfect love quote, I came across this:
“Love is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise.” Samuel Johnson
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, perhaps the one holiday hated by everyone — the one day when all singles long to be coupled and all couples long to be single. With Valentine’s Day come obligations and expectations: Christmas, but without the music, gingerbread cookies, and living-room conifers. (“I bought her a box of chocolates last year — and a bottle of sauvignon the year before that. Hmm. What to get her? I guess a Trumpy Bear will have to do.”)
No doubt, the Internet will soon be awash in articles about the dating scene, which, like the weather, is something everybody complains about … but nobody does something about. It’s frankly a wonder that a problem so universally acknowledged should be in want of a solution. Yet here we are.
Why is it so hard to date in 2020? Why does every single person feel compelled to submit to the ongoing pain and humiliation of online dating? Why does my generation’s romantic pessimism make Greta Thunberg look like a climate optimist? The reasons are simple, really — (a) we’ve failed to develop the requisite social habits, (b) we’ve lost the institutions capable of guiding us toward marriage, and (c) we have standards.
Then someone on Ricochet introduced me to a nice gal who is as cute as a crate of plushies, and fun to talk with. I figured the only girls like that were in anime, not real life. I responded accordingly. Soon, I began to receive texts filled with :heart: emojis and generally becoming the recipient of emotions I had never dealt with before. It has taken some getting used to, and I can’t quite keep up some of the time. It almost feels like I must have hacked into someone else’s text message stream. Why would anyone act that excited about me?
So as I approach this Valentine’s Day, I still feel a bit awkward, but I am glad to do so.
“One must have a mind of winter… And have been cold a long time… not to think / Of any misery in the sound of the wind,” the January wind. So says Wallace Stevens in his poem, The Snow Man. Misery and discontent aren’t identical, but a series of small miseries — unrelated to wintry weather — means February snuck up on me this year, almost as if January never happened, so misery must do for my “winter of discontent”. To “the listener, who listens in the snow,” hearing the sound of the wind, the poem promises if he becomes “nothing himself” he’ll “behold / Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.” People “cold a long time” can go numb, of course, and numbness is a kind of “nothing” obliterating misery. But numbness seems insufficient for a “mind of winter”.
For our own survival, we see winter’s cold as hostile. Our success as biological beings depends on our sensing discomfort, in order to mitigate risk before it’s too late. Concern for our own comfort is a form of self-regard that isn’t optional, if we care to live. Nonetheless, necessary self-regard is still self-regard. A mind of winter leaves self-regard behind. And so, it sees wintry beauty — the snowy, frozen world lit with “the distant glitter / Of the January sun” — simply because it is there to see, irrespective of what it might mean to the self. Winter in itself isn’t hostile, just indifferent: self-regard makes the indifference seem hostile. A mind of winter is “unselfed”.