We are always ready to talk about Mars and Jupiter, about the sun and moon, and about things under the earth and over the earth—in fact about everything except the matters that have so much to do with our real living.
~from Character Building
For the record, matters of faith are very relevant to real living.
I am currently reading comedian Aziz Ansari’s book, Modern Romance. At 1/3 of the way through the first chapter (which follows a hilarious and spot on introductory section), I am taking so many notes that I don’t know if I could possibly do this book justice in one review. So I’m documenting the book here a couple of chapters at a time.
Of course, this assumes that the remaining 250 pages will keep me as interested, amused, and in agreement as the first 28, and that is probably quite the stretch. I hope not however, because despite the clearly secular bend of the book, the first little bit is overflowing with truth. For example, this quote from Esther Perel’s book, Mating in Captivity, which is now another book added to my increasingly long “must read” list (I sure hope it isn’t a divorce apologist tome):
So reconciling our need for security and our need for adventure into one relationship, or what we today like to call a passionate marriage, used to be a contradiction in terms. Marriage was an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide:
Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one.
Give me comfort, give me edge.
Give me novelty, give me familiarity.
Give me predictability, give me surprise.
And we think it’s a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that.
Like I said, interesting book, so stay tuned for periodic updates as I blog my way through it.
This one is courtesy of the ever profound and straightforward Zora Neale Hurston. I have included it before in a review of one of her books but the thought has been pushed to the forefront of my thinking of late. It’s worth sharing:
“I did not know then, as I know now, that people are prone to build a statue of the kind of person it pleases them to be. And few people want to be forced to ask themselves, ‘What if there is no me like my statue?’”
This era of Pinterest, Snap chat, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs makes it all too tempting and all too easy to build statues which draw viewers to admire as well as those who spend inordinate amounts of energy looking for the crack in the statue. It creates a perpetual and vicious cycle.
Enter this bit of wisdom from Voddie Baucham, which blessed me greatly:
“Whatever is the worst thing you think about me, I know something worse about me. Whatever the worse thing is that you could say about me is almost surely not the worst thing about me. I could no doubt do you one better.”
Pause and think about that and what it really means. Freedom perhaps?
In the spirit of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, I would call this one alternately the “Must-Have-Others-Think-Well-of-Me” cure.
Have a great weekend!
I have to tell you…normally I find these obscure specialty holidays just so much silliness. They serve no purpose at all. Really, who cares? Very few, not even those who are fond of the craft, food, animal, season, sport, people, or disease being thrust into the spotlight of “awareness”.
I must confess that in our house, we have been known to cook one or two (or ten) of the foods listed on The Kitchn’s National Food Holidays list. That however, is just because we love any excuse to get together in the kitchen. If the aim is to prepare something new exotic or different, all the better. Still, given that the origin of the word holiday is built around the idea of celebrating Holy days, the “every day is a holiday” thing rubs me the wrong way.
When my daughter sent me the link to International Crochet DayInternational Crochet Day, the only reason it resonated at all is because our two youngest are currently planning and crocheting Christmas presents for numerous family members- in earnest. Yarn is center stage right now:
So…even though I still think the “every thing deserves a holiday” thing is kind of stupid, my kids found the fact that today is International Crochet Day kind of neat. Because they’re kids.
Edited to add: I just remembered a quotable literary quote that well explains my acknowledging a silly holiday while simultaneously decrying silly holidays.
How quick come the reasons for approving what we like.-Jane Austen’s Persuasion
Tell me again why more people don’t spend copious amounts of time reading if they can?
Wickedness is always wickedness, but folly is not always folly. – Emma, by Jane Austen
This has always been one of my favorite quotes, although I am not sure I could tell you why that is. It is partly because of my own life and history, although I dare not try to unravel here the tangled mess which are my thoughts on that subject.
Mostly however it stays with me as a reminder: That it would do us all well to keep our eyes on our own paper, endeavor to do good and not wickedness, and leave most others (not all as there are people in our charge), but most all others to decipher for themselves what is folly outside of general truisms.
What a disaster it would be to offer counsel from our vantage point which is a stark contrast to what is folly from theirs.
“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”- C. S. Lewis
Several years ago I don’t know that I would have appreciated the truth of this statement. However right now I am reading through Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind and the Willows at bedtime with my kids and enjoying it immensely. I am as riveted by the adventures of Rat, Mole, and Toad as my kids are, so I can relate to what Lewis said above.
What passes for children’s literature today is in large part the reason why many adults bypass children’s literature. However, Lewis Carroll is a far cry from Annie Barrows. The latter my girls enjoy reading, while I could not care less for the Ivy + Bean series as a source of personal reading pleasure. There are those books which at least get them reading, and then there are those books that stay with them for a lifetime.
After reading one children’s book out of curiosity about a regional author, and yet another in anticipation of the class I am teaching this fall (review forthcoming), I am finding that I am drawn to well written children’s writing as much if not more so than the classic literature written for adult audiences. The artistry, skill, and language of Kenneth Grahame is just as deep and rewarding as the writing of Charlotte Bronte. And I have to say that The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh, while unquestionably written with the young child in mind, is equally exciting to the little girl hidden in me.
If you don’t know quite what to read and are a bit burnt out on the current offerings, I strongly suggest that you all consider re-reading (or in many cases reading for the first time) some classic children’s literature.
We never really outgrow well written stories.