Prengnacy and the Mother of Jesus

As I’m getting my insides rearranged by this 3-pound “head of cabbage” (that’s how my weekly update describes her size), the strangest thought crossed my mind…

How did Mary feel when she felt baby kicks from Jesus?

I actually had this thought around Easter, but since then I’ve pondered on it a little more.

First of all, she didn’t get the normal human experience of conceiving a baby.  But she still went through the normal human experience of pregnancy – hormone changes, body changes, emotional changes.  So, how did she feel when she felt those first tickles of baby moving around inside her?

I can only try to imagine the toll that cultural isolation had on her – with or without preggo mood swings.  But I can also imagine that once those baby tickles became more regular throughout the months, that she’d have a sense of peace and confidence regarding her position.  I mean, if ever there was someone who got to have physical evidence of their promise coming to pass on a daily basis, it was Mary.  (Sarah would fall into that category, as would Hannah).

The thought I had at Easter was more of what kind of memories did Mary hold on to when Jesus was being crucified.  Did the thought of that little baby kicking inside her and making her belly change shapes come back to her on that day or on the days after?

I have been told by mothers before me that you never forget those first memories of your baby moving around on the inside, and now I believe them (even if her favorite place to play is that nerve on my left hip that makes my leg tingle)!

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If you can’t say something nice…

I haven’t blogged since our vacation to Folly Beach, and I had a meeting with myself to figure out why I wasn’t motivated to blog.

The most used excuse on the planet is that I don’t have enough time.  But I’m not the only busy person alive and people busier than me blog regularly so I didn’t let myself off that easy.

Then I thought “I work so much that I can’t think of anything to write about.  And I can’t write about work stuff because I work in a pharmacy and there’s this law call HIPAA that doesn’t allow me to share stuff from work.”  But then I know that’s not true either.  It is true that I don’t want this to become a medical/pharmacy blog, but there’s plenty of things that happen during work and outside of work that aren’t legally protected subjects that I could write about.  So, work is not a valid excuse either.

Then I read this blog written by Carlos Whittaker, and had a grand revelation about myself.  I totally related to the post by Carlos, and there’s something about his articulation and imagery in his writing that turns some of his blogs into a mirror looking back at myself – and this was one of them.  I have heard a lot of different angles in my life on the “good fight of faith”, but I never experienced that “fights” that others talked about.  But I have experienced the “fight” that Carlos talked about, but it was never encouraged to be vocal and open about that type of “fight of faith.”  That kind of fighting you kept to yourself – you certainly didn’t talk about it, especially of you were in charge of teaching others.

Therein lies the answer to my blog-block.  Somewhere it was instilled in me that I was to keep my faith struggles to myself and deal with them in my “prayer closet” (wherever that might be).  And in this season of my life (that started about February) has been like the “sudden death” round of my fight with faith.  So, during all the in-between times when there is not a task to focus on, the struggle of what I was taught VS what I read VS what I see VS what I do is on the forefront of my brain.  That would make for some intriguing blog posts, right? But yet the little twinge of “you don’t tell people about that” hits me, and I don’t write it.

Now the question is: I’m an adult and I answer for myself, so why can’t I just ignore what I was taught and write it?

There is a two-part answer to this…1) Part of it is pride.  I think people who read my blog think I’ve got a great faith, and to break that image down in their mind (aka my mind) would be painful.  (Because those people might be people like my dad and in-laws and grandparents and other people who taught me things during period of my life).  2) Some of the things I’m wrestling with involve real people I used to or currently have close relationships with. I’m not sure how many of them, if any still read my blog, but I don’t want any public discussion to cause hurt to anyone.  Controversy – I don’t mind, conflict and confrontation are only ok within the correct context, and cut-downs are never ok.  So, I want to make sure that anything that involves a real human being, and not just a concept, is said in honor and love of that person.

So, I know, without anyone telling me, I need to get over the pride.  People don’t see me as perfect as I think/want them to.

But to write about things that frustrate me or confuse me or bother me, while risking people’s trust and confidence – I’m not willing to do that.

My conclusion:  Until I feel that I can fully express my fight with my faith without calling out people that might still be personally invested in some things, I will keep my mouth shut.

If you’ve missed me… I’ve missed you too.  And hopefully this confession will free me up to get some interesting (but maybe not life-changing) things on this blog in the near future.

Swimming upstream

Recently I wrote a blog about the detriments of electronics.  You can read it here.  I am still of the persuasion that most electronics are consuming tools (at least 90% of the time they are in use).  But after going through the list of electronics I own, there is one that I view as a producing tool – my camera.

My camera is something that produces something as I use it.  And that something is not just something generic, it produces a part of me with each snap.  Sometimes it produces things I like.  Sometimes it produces things I think are crap.   But that’s what I find when in spend time with myself – some things I like, some things I think suck.  And with a camera, the self-evaluation is a little more palatable.  And this type of producing isn’t about “proving” anything to anyone (thus I don’t have a photography blog or a Flickr page), because isn’t not about showing off my “work”.  It’s about me evaluating my product and my motives and my skill in my work.  And learning something about me in the process – whether that something relates to photography or not.

I’m not saying all consumption is bad (cuz you gotta eat).  And I’m not saying all electronics are evil.  And I’m certainly not saying that a camera is the only way to produce a better you.  There are plenty of mediums by which you can do that.  I’m just saying let’s start swimming upstream and start producing in this over-consuming world.

Where I was on this day 10 years ago

It was a few minutes before 9 am.  I was sleeping in my single bed in my shoebox of a dorm room.

Suddenly, one of my hallmates comes banging on my door saying “They just bombed the Twin Towers in New York!”

I jump out of bed, grab my glasses and join my friends huddled around the 19″ TV in our RA’s room.

I was just starting to wake up enough to grasp what I was seeing when we watched – all of us frozen in place – the 2nd plane hit the 2nd tower!  No one talked.  We just watched and huddled closer together as the room filled with more people as the news spread through the dorm.

Then the news came about the Pentagon.  Was it possible for us to feel anymore lost in our own skin as we already did?

It was like time had stopped.  I don’t remember what classes I had that day, or if I even went to them.  It seemed like we sat there together for hours, watching and waiting on someone to tell us “that’s the end, it’s all over, the clean up will now commence.”

I’m sure somewhere in there we ate and showered.

I remember the news of the 4th plane in the air and no one knew what it’s target was.  I remember thinking about family members that lived in Virginia and that there was a very popular Navy base there.  Then the news of the civilian heroes on that flight that took down the hijackers.

Oh, i forgot to tell you that I was a freshman at North Georgia College & State University – an Army ROTC school.  And just in the month that I had been a student there, the Army and it’s traditions were becoming valuable to us civilian girls who got to stay on campus.  It made us feel safe.  It made us feel respected.  It made us feel appreciative.

And in the next 5 days, we began to feel more appreciative than we ever had before.  The next 5 days were filled with Black Hawk choppers landing on our campus, and our friends and classmates being called off to this new war.

I remember sitting with friends, watching out our 4th story window, as the birds landed, the boys loaded, and they flew away – in the daytime and in the cover of darkness – never knowing who would return.

That’s where I was.  Where were you?

Getting to know yourself

 

I’ve had a question that’s been burning inside me lately:  how much time do you spend doing nothing?  Not “nothing” as in vegged out in front of the TV or playing video games hours on end or surfing endlessly between email and Facebook and blogs and the bank statement.  You may say “nothing” when someone asks you “whatcha doin’?”, but that’s not really nothing.  I want to know how much time do you spend alone with yourself NOT consuming. (*disclaimer: for all you deep thinkers out there I’m sure someone will come up with the argument “it’s impossible to technically do nothing because you’re always doing something, but just keep that to yourself for the time being.)

So, what’s your answer?  How much of your time is spend with yourself, getting to know yourself?  A lot? A little? Zero?  Why is that?

To me, consuming equals escaping.
We consume to escape reality.
We consume to escape relationships (Facebook does not equal relationships, it only enhances existing, on-going ones).
We consume to escape responsibility (be it bathing, bill-paying, or family planning).
We consume to escape ourselves.
Most people don’t like to be alone with themselves.  And there’s lots of reasons why.  But no matter the reason, the outcome is very similar.

That is why the TV is turned on as soon as they wake up.  Then the radio is turned on in the car and the computer is booted up at work and the email to Facebook to Google News to blogs to Pandora to whatever fits your fancy cycle is started.  Then maybe a real project comes along that you get to produce a little on (be it physical labor production or mental, conceptual production). Then the radio is back on for the ride home or the Internet-enabled phone comes out at dinner.  Then it’s games or TV or Internet cycles until you can’t keep your eyes open anymore, and you fall asleep.

And that’s just on the lighter side.  On the darker side, people are consuming drugs (prescribed or not), alcohol, destructive behaviors.  All to get away from the conversation that might go on in between their ears.

A producer in a consumer’s world

 

I’ve been thinking lately about what it takes to become a producer.
It doesn’t seem to be the everyday thing to do.  People produce things because of a personality type or a “deep desire” for something to be different or they “see a need”.  But mostly society says “someone else produce it and I’ll buy it if I like it.”. We have all been trained to be consumers of the products of a select few.

We consume SportsCenter from ESPN.
We consume our email and blogs and news on an Apple device or a Blackberry device or a Microsoft device.
We consume information from Google or Yahoo or MSNBC.
We consume our friends through Facebook or Twitter.
We consume games through Xbox or PS3 or Wii.
We consume our music from iTunes or iPods or the radio or Pandora.
We consume entertainment through Netflix or HBO or the Discovery Channel.
We consume medicine from Pfizer or Merck or Ortho-McNeil or Mylan.
We consume food from McDonalds or Wendy’s or Outback Steakhouse.
We consume drinks from Coca-Cola or Pepsi or Budweiser or Smirnoff.

From the time we wake up to the time we fall asleep, we are consuming something that someone else produced.  And I’m not saying consuming other people’s products is bad.  I just want to know what have you produced today? What have I produced today?