Tag: Love

Men and Women: The Purgatory of Marriage

 

“Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is simply purgatory.” — Abraham Lincoln

I don’t think President Lincoln made this comment about marriage in jest; his own marriage was challenging, to say the least. His wife, Mary, had exorbitant spending habits, extreme moodiness, and went into deep depression on the loss of her children. In some ways, Lincoln was no prize husband, either. He was also moody, moving from playful moments with his children to periods where he was distant and withdrawn.

I think, though, there is a deep wisdom to his statement about marriage and purgatory. I was amused by this definition of purgatory:

Unrealized Dreams

 

I walk slowly, leaning forward, as I approach the cabin. It sits in a clearing, where there are just enough trees to frame it, and few enough to allow the sun to regularly touch its natural beauty. As I get to the front door, I pause, unlock it and push the door open.

As I step inside, the smell of wood greets me. I look around to admire its simplicity and intimacy. On the left is a settee adjacent to one comfortable chair, my favorite, where I curl up to read. Farther back in the room is a doorway that leads to my small bedroom with enough room for a bed, a side table piled with books and a shelf with trinkets from my travels. I glance against the back wall, and there is a basic bathroom, and then to the right, a kitchen with a miniature refrigerator. A wood-burning stove rests on a platform near the south wall, with a stack of wood ready to be consumed. Colorful curtains of an olden style grace the windows; they are usually open, but closed at night to keep out the cold winter nights. And a large woven rug rests in the center of the room.

Happy Saynt Valentyn’s Day!

 

. . . from Geoffrey Chaucer, who, as with so many other things, is often credited with starting it all.

His dream vision poem, The Parliament of Fowls, was written about 1380 and begins with the narrator (who seems not to know how to love, has perhaps never been in love, and will very likely never find love, in fact, he’s just pretty crotchety in general) falling asleep while reading Cicero’s Dream of Scipio. He’s transported, first to the erotic but soulless Temple of Love, and then to a lively Arcadian world presided over by the goddess Nature, in which huge flocks of birds are debating (arguing) about how, and who, to choose their mates. The dramatic tension is provided by the eagles, representing the highest courtly ranks. (Chaucer uses various bird species to represent different levels of society, and their dialog varies wildly, from those representing common, ordinary man, up through the eagles, representing the top of the heap. The poem is, in many respects a gentle satire on the emerging courtly love tradition and a commentary on contemporaneous royal marriages, as the birds mimic the behavior of commoners (whose behavior and language provides the comic relief in the poem), knights and ladies, kings and queens.)

Three young male tercel eagles are vying for the hand of the equally-young female tercelet. As guys do, each struts his stuff before her and tells her why she should choose him over the others. The first eagle is the highest ranking. Surely, the young tercelet will choose him, because he can give her status, and power, and anything she wants, and she will be the highest-ranking bird. The second eagle claims to have loved the lady longer than the other two. She should be his because he’s been faithful for the past. The third eagle says he’ll love the little tercelet unto death, so she should choose him because he’ll be faithful in the future.

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I am asking for prayers for my mother-in law.  She is our last remaining parent.  She has multiple serious health issues – she has been on multiple meds for some time.  She is 83 years old  and my husband’s family is complicated.  There are ACOA issues, and a lot of stress.  She has been admitted […]

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Pope Francis marked World Day of the Sick this week by meditating on Matthew 10:8: “Freely you have received, freely give.”  Some of his thoughts: Volunteer work passes on values, behaviours and ways of living born of a deep desire to be generous. It is also a means of making health care more humane. A […]

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“As soon as a man comes to life,” wrote Martin Heidegger, “he is at once old enough to die.” That’s not exactly a new insight, but it does have the virtue of clarity, which wasn’t Heidegger’s long suit. Being and Time is so incoherent that it makes Hegel look breezy in comparison. Still, statements like Heidegger’s do […]

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Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for the ides of November, the 15th this is (do you believe it?!?) episode number 2-0-0 of the podcast with your bicentennial hosts radio guy Todd Feinburg and AI guy Mike Stopa. We call it Sex, Trump, and Videotape. In this edition of the show we get to the important issue of the age of Trump, namely, is it okay for an ordinary liberal person to (a) sleep with, (b) date, or (c) marry a Trump supporter? Is there a litmus test that means that no such relationships should be permitted to happen? If so, what do you do with those people you started to get involved with in the first place?

And for our second topic (are you ready for this) we do *food*. Yes, the new style of the show (for this week anyway) is one political topic and one food topic. And as long as we are doing a food topic, we may as well hit the most important food topic, namely, what’s the best pizza in America? (Answer: Chicago pizza).

I Will!

 

I must admit that I was, rather uncharacteristically, at a loss as to what to write about today, so I noodled around on Google (goodled around on Noogle?) for a bit, looking up various iterations, in various forms, of the subject of Will, and it occurred to me at one point that the most recent Royal Wedding has ignited a rather unexpected debate on various “mommy blog” and social networking sites. A debate on a topic I last thought seriously about myself exactly 37 years, one week, and six days ago.

To put it plainly: People are talking about the proper way to celebrate and bless a marriage, and why Harry and Meghan said “I will” at a crucial time, rather than “I do.”

Now, you may rate the importance of this topic, in your own mind, somewhere down there with Liliput’s Big-Endian/Little-Endian controversy, but I’m a bit of a language nut aficionado, so it caught my interest.

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@bethanymandel did a post on her friend’s new book called, ”Leaving Cloud 9”, By Erica Anderson. http://ricochet.com/532746/when-you-leave-cloud-9/ I ordered a copy and just finished it. The story is about Erica’s husband Rick, who grows up in a broken home, broken in every way. The trailer, the parent, the poverty, the terrible abuse, a story repeated in […]

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Sustaining Love

 

In a recent essay by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, he quoted David Brooks (yes, that David Brooks as far as I can tell) on the way a person maintains his or her love for another. Brooks said:

My favourite definition of commitment is falling in love with something and then building a structure of behavior around it for the moment when love falters. [Italics by R. Sacks]

I was moved by this practical and profound observation. It reminds me of those times when young people ask me when they’ll be able to stop working so hard at the relationship with a significant other, and I answer, “Never.” Personally, I would not use the word “work,” because that commitment comes out of devotion and dedication, not out of obligation. But in life, love can falter or be challenged, and we must decide whether or not we are in for the long haul.

To My Father, the Farmer, with Love

 

(I wrote this as a gift for Father’s Day when I was about 30. My dad had been diagnosed with lymphocytic leukemia several years earlier, and he was doing poorly at the time. He died a year and a half later. I didn’t edit or revise it, so just take it as it was written by a young woman who needed her dad to know how much she loved him, but couldn’t talk about that stuff in person.)

He always wore irrigating boots. The kind that go clear up, right to your belt and snap on—rubber legs. Essential for slogging through wet barley, dragging canvas dams behind, and a shovel balanced casually on his shoulder with the practiced air of a real pro. When it’s your water turn, you push that stream. Day and night and night and day. Even if it is Sunday. The Lord knows how quickly alfalfa can wither with that sickly, yellow pale.

A Modern Day Cinderella

 

I got up in the middle of the night for Diana and Charles’ wedding in 1981. I watched Kate Middleton and Prince William exchange vows. Then I staggered in at 3:34 AM Central to watch Prince Harry take Meghan Markle as his princess.

I realized I could have slept in another two hours, but they said people camped out for days! Thousands lined the roads to Windsor Castle. Major networks were broadcasting from every angle, which was a challenge, given all those hats! 

Kathy Lee Gifford was broadcasting in a little feathered number, only with a stuffed goose on top! Yes. that’s her sidekick, Meghan Kelly. The large parade of celebrities, friends, and a long line of royals finally took their seats, as a beautiful harp was strummed.

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I was going to write an interesting, clever story for Earth Day on the Great Barrier Reef, after watching a truly stunning three part documentary by David Attenborough, until the you-tube video of same name that I wanted to post, filled my inbox with more Spam than a Hawaiian sandwich deli. Then, well…life intervened and produced […]

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On April 5, 1950, my parents began an incredible life together. They shared joy, struggle and most of all, love. They loved God, each other, their children and America. Through everything this world could throw at them, they held strong to each other. The most valuable things in life can’t be purchased; they can only […]

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Here is one of my very favorite sonnets, written by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I discovered this one in high school, and it made my teenager heart go all aflutter…even though I didn’t have any experience that could come close to the one referenced in the piece. But, as I have aged, fallen in love, […]

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Flipping through the channels recently, I stumbled onto our local Tallahassee Public Station, featuring the Fiftieth Anniversary of Mr. Rogers Special. Mr. Rogers started out in my hometown of Pittsburgh on WQED. The special is narrated by then stagehand, actor Michael Keaton, who was also a character in the musical skits (think low budget). Michael […]

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@katebraestrup put up a wonderfully thoughtful post and it inspired me to write about one of my favorite pet peeves (is that an oxymoron?). I have heard this statement mainly  from younger, foolish women, but it makes me nuts: “Well, he’s a little [fill in the blank] or not enough [fill in the blank] but I’ll […]

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Thoughts from a Former Dysphoric

 

When I was a little girl, I wanted badly to be a boy. Boys got to play the games I wanted to play and had an exclusive claim on the adjectives I hoped to apply to my adult self, such as courageous, honorable and adventurous. I was in the wrong body to be what I wanted to be.

I shudder now to think what would have happened to me had my parents been encouraged, by childrearing experts and the general culture, to take me seriously when I vociferously and persistently declared my desire to be a boy.

My discovery of feminism cured my gender dysphoria. The problem, as the ’70s-era feminists defined it, wasn’t that my female body and individual personality were mismatched, but that the definitions of female and male were unnecessarily and irrationally narrow and pinched.

The Modern Moses

 

Billy Graham passed from this world into the next at the amazing age of 99. I heard a quote by him today that is even inspiring amidst news of his passing. It was adapted from someone Rev. Graham admired, a 19th-century evangelist named Dwight L. Moody:

“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive that I am now. I will have just changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

His legacy inspired and brought hope to presidents, and those of every race, creed and gender, even Dr. Martin Luther King, who told him, “You take the stadiums, I’ll take the streets.”