Monday, December 7, 2009

Links- anger, amazement, crumb cake

. . . come to think of it, this title pretty much sums up my life right now.

I painted the bathroom this weekend.  As is typical of all of my projects, I painted it once, hated the color, painted it a second time and I think I like it.  It was a good chance to listen to some good podcasts.  On Saturday I got to hear the entire program of the Splendid Table, love it!  It is always so inspiring and makes me want to devote my life to finding the perfect crumb cake, or the best cafe in the country.    Obviously, I have moved beyond running to the toilet at the the mere thought of putting a fork to my mouth.

(Speaking of, a few have asked and I am feeling extraordinarily normal for the first time that I can ever remember while pregnant.  With both of the girls, I felt what I would describe as seasick the entire nine months, and had morning sickness off and on the whole pregnancy.  Not to mention constant heartburn, etc. etc.  I am so so thankful to be able to enjoy this pregnancy, and be able to keep up with life as usual!)

On Sunday I listened to a Speaking of Faith about Abraham Joshua Heschel.  Such an inspirational life.  One of the things that stood out to me was his belief in the spirituality of amazement, that this is a real basis of belief/God/ how to live.  He marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., protested the Vietnam War, was passionate about the rights and dignity of every human being . . . he "insisted that the opposite of good is not evil, it is indifference."  

Another thing that Heschel said (paraphrasing) is that all of your beliefs are summed up in a life . . . what kind of person you are, what kind of life your beliefs cause you to live.  

Also they discussed learning from Heschel what it is to cling to one's beliefs in a pluralistic society, while at the same time respecting all people; he understood how to sensitively dialogue and work with people of a variety of different faiths, without denying his own deeply held beliefs.  There is too much to quote . . . this is my favorite by Heschel:
To pray is to take notice of the wonder, to regain a sense of the mystery that animates all beings, the divine margin in all attainments. Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living. It is all we can offer in return for the mystery by which we live. Who is worthy to be present at the constant unfolding of time? Amidst the meditation of mountains, the humility of flowers wiser than all alphabets---clouds that die constantly for the sake of god's glory, we are hating, hunting, hurting. Suddenly we feel ashamed of our clashes and complaints in the face of the tacit glory in nature. It is so embarrassing to live! How strange we are in the world, and how presumptuous our doings! Only one response can maintain us: gratefulness for witnessing the wonder, for the gift of our unearned rights to serve, to adore, and to fulfill. It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.-Abraham Heschel
Jim read an article that said the angriest Americans tend to be young people, and parents with young children at home.  I have to admit that I have experienced a broader range of emotions, and more negative emotions, in the past few months.  Sometimes my anger takes me completely by surprise, and I overreact or can't seem to let go of things that ordinarily wouldn't bother me.  I suppose there are some pregnancy hormones at work here, but we talked about why, according to this study, people with children are most likely to be the angriest . . . once again, Ann says it best . . . it's part of receiving the gift.  (I love this woman).

Oh, and speaking of things that anger and amaze me.

I haven't gotten to go anywhere lately because the girls both have pink eye.  They look terrible! 


stephy said...

I just want to say I love the title of your blog, I love Mary Oliver so much! xo

Erika said...

Heschel is one of my all-time 20th=century heroes, too. He was great friends with Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, who was a father of mine in the faith! Saints come in droves, they say...

Thanks for asking: I'm feeling so much better! We got back home about a week ago, and I've been blessed with ENERGY and JOY.

How are you doing?