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Showing posts from December, 2008

relatives

I have spent the past 2 days with an 8-month-old in the house. She is my niece so I like her better than most 8-month-olds. And she seems to like me as well, as is apparent by her cooing, flapping of arms, and grabbing of my hair. As someone who admits to not being much of a baby person (okay, really not at all; give me a teenager any day of the week and we are tiiiight in no time), the interaction was somewhat surprising to me. Why do we get along so well? Because of who she is. She is blood. She is part of me in some way. I already like her, no matter what she does or how she turns out. She will always be liked by me. She doesn't have to do anything to get my love and attention, except be born into the family. And though this is the simplest concept in the world - that who someone is determines how we treat them much more than what they do - hardly anyone gets this, including me.

I consistently like people better that treat me well or have something to offer me when in fact, the …

3 Christmas parties

While I have been nursing a sick cat back to health, it has been the season to celebrate. Funny how celebration and not-so-good stuff often collide. This is perhaps meant to prevent us from separating the different parts of our lives and to keep us from isolating our emotions and situations into tidy coping compartments. I believe that life is to be lived together, as a whole, in one big family room instead of every situation behind its own closed door. Each life event affects the next one, and one can laugh in the midst of tragedy and cry at a celebration because joy and pain live in the same universe in a strangely beautiful and companionable way that makes life rich and deep and meaningful.

I had three Christmas events to go to this week and each one was wonderful and fun and special in its own way.

ONE: Our home group got together to sit around the fire, roast marshmallows, make s'mores, sip wine, eat disturbing amounts of chocolate, and play charades. At the end of the e…

overwhelm part 2

My recovering cat, Tea, has good days and bad days. Today she is not eating again. I sit with her and talk to her and stroke her. Though she purrs, I get the feeling that my message of love and care, though sent as loudly and as clearly as I can manage, does not quite get embraced by her instincts and her body. She does not know how to take it in fully. She is too used to the suffering and stress.

I know that God loves me and that he is good. But I do not know how to take it fully into my life, my body, my relationships, my work, my thoughts. I am too used to the lack, the worry, the feeling like I have to protect myself, the need for control and the comfort of self-imposed order.
This morning I read from Matthew 5 in the Message, you know the part where Jesus says that if your eye is causing you to sin by inviting in lustful thoughts, go ahead and pluck it out, because living without one eye is better than ending up morally bankrupt. This is not a literal command, (though if a simple e…

Tea and government

Yesterday afternoon, I attempted to give Tea another appetite pill because she was still only eating a few morsels of food here and there. She hates these pills and has had a bad reaction most times I have attempted to get her to swallow one. And this time was the same: more frothing at the mouth and twitching and general discomfort but at least no vomiting (for Tea, that is, not for me). I could feel her bony spine and realised that 4 days after she came out of the hospital, we really had not gained much ground at all. Yes, she was much more settled and relaxed, but also very weak and lethargic and not all that interested in food and water. And I was getting pretty stressed out and weepy, yelling at Dean and God and anyone else in range that "I really could use some help here!"

And an hour or two later, something changed. I don't know what happened, but Tea came over to where I was in the kitchen and meowed at me. I took out the cat treats and placed a few in front of he…

love is life

I brought Tea home from the vet today. She was not doing so well there. Despite 3 days of IV solution, she still has jaundice and low energy and little appetite. The vet told me to take her home. If I cannot get her to eat and drink, she will die. The vet also said that Tea is special: she needs people and love and attention, and they can't give too much of that in a hospital setting- they can only administer drugs and treatments. Without love, she does not do well. So my assignment is to shower her with affection, provide an environment where she knows she is cared for and not alone, and get food and water into her at regular intervals. If she responds to that, she has a fighting chance of surviving.

This is so basic and so true and quite remarkable that a vet would see that medicine cannot do what love can. Without knowing that we are loved, we wane and lose our zest for life. Last night at home group we talked about how to get over self-centredness. The solution is s…

sick

I don't know what to do. Tea is pretty sick. I took her to the vet on Friday and was told that she has jaundice and is dehydrated and probably has some problem with her liver. They wanted to keep her in the hospital and put her on IV and take X-rays and do other tests and well, it was just all too much. She actually ate some food while at the vet, so that was encouraging. I had them do a blood test and took her home with some prescriptive food and some pills to see if she would improve. All weekend Dean and I forced water down her a few times a day, gave her the pills to boost her appetite and the antibiotics, tried to tempt her with all kinds of food with partial success, and I prayed a lot. She hates the pills and one of my first attempts to give her one resulted in her frothing at the mouth a bit, twitching and running wildly into the other room, and throwing up all the water we just got into her (and the pill). Very hard to watch. Yesterday she had a fever and was very listles…

overwhelm

Well, I am finished. My university courses for the term, that is. I handed in my last paper on Tuesday, all 43 pages of it. After I walked out of the Department of Theology office door, having just deposited the precious envelope, I decided that the occasion merited a bit of a celebration. I bought a bag of Old Dutch sour cream 'n' onion chips, a bottle of New Leaf Green Tea, got on the subway, and ate my small meal of victory while reading Ben Hur on the way home. Pretty crazy party, I know.

And despite being really happy that the research and writing and putting words and thoughts together in a profound and clear way are done for the moment, I found myself slightly less excited about being able to get on with day to day life now. Dentist and vet and car appointments and laundry and cleaning the bathroom and Christmas shopping don't have the same lustre as grappling with theological and philosophical questions. This should be a season of rest, but I am restless. My mind a…