Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Parenting: Apologia Pro Vita Sua

I tend to walk accidentally into some minefields. I have been attempting to avoid the parenting minefield. It would be a satisfying feeling to meet with parents that hold to the same parenting philosophy as I do. I know that a lot of people have such communities or such imagined communities, but I feel startlingly alone. The problem in short is that I do not have a philosophy. This offends people. I remember a college boyfriend once told me, "Hey, I would be fine if you didn't shave your legs out of principles. . . or I would be fine if you shaved everyday out of vanity. . . but this shaving sometimes and not shaving other times is gross." Destroyed on the shoals of intentionality. Intentionality is hard for me. I once made a decision for Jesus. No problem. I made a decision to marry Doug. That was easy. But, in general no other decisions have ever been that easy. I am still not sure about what I would like to do when I grow up. I still become troubled about the question of denominational identity. And, then, there is the daily grind of decisions that really, truly wear at me.

What first attracted me to the work of the Christian ethicist Stanley Hauerwas was not his startling vision of the alternative Christian polis, instead it was his portrayal of the virtuous person for whom ethic is not the crisis of decision but an art-- a way of being that is seemingly seamless. At my best I hope that my parenting embodies my love and faithfulness and patience and that decisions are made correctly (a lot of the time) without recourse to a philosophy. At the worst, I fear that I worry neither toiling or spinning.

But, how to explain this to people who have very decided philosophies and who make me feel at times like a falterer and a fraud? Is there grace in doing nothing? I was never able to appease the boyfriend who believed that I needed to have a rationale for only shaving my legs some of the time.

I am a person of strong convictions and yet surprisingly meager intention. As, I often tell those dear to me. . . I am a plodder and not a plotter.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I am blogging in the flicker of candlelight. Strange neon pink shadows are splashed across the face of the table.  I hover over this light and brood.   There are big problems and then there are negligible ones.  But, my inability on an almost daily basis to write and think and edit and research is starting to get me flummoxed.  It may be time to start treating my writer's block with tried and true remedies.  Will power seems to be a faltering affair.  Perhaps there is a twelve step program for dissertation writing.  I need to admit by powerlessness, that I must rely on an higher power and take a inner inventory.  Enough, my inner inventory would begin with how self absorbed I am... and the degree to which this blog declares this...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I rarely find myself awake at 2:30.  I think that it might be a simple matter of too much coffee and a full moon.  I always kind of enjoy these lucid intervals in the middle of the night.  I had quite a few of them when I was pregnant with Simeon.  That was a heady time.  I was studying for the GRE, trying to secure one more recommendation, and finish my course work, and apply to Graduate School.  A crazy time.  But, I have good memories of staying up late reading Barth and Foucault.  

I have jumped through a massive amount of hoops during the last six years.  It is hard to work so hard and still feel like things aren't quite going to work out.  That perhaps the die was already cast and that you are just fruitlessly kicking against the pricks.  I have always found it particularly hard to work hard for something and simultaneously leave the fruition and the outcome to God.  It may be the case that an academic career is simply not going to work out.   I still remember my pre-teen frustration that every time I prayed in a Basketball game, "God, please let me hit this free throw--just once,"  I never did.  It was difficult to realize that what I want and what God wants are not the same thing.  And, in the scheme of things my wanting a personally rewarding and enjoyable career might stack about as high as nailing a free throw.  I know... this is not precisely ad majorem dei gloriam or Calvinist vocation talk.  I tend to think that our general vocation the love and hope and faith stuff is probably enough for most of us. Most of us don't necessarily require a special call from God. 

 Yet, I have to admit to having experienced one. Many of you that are closest to me know that when I was a very young girl I sense a distinct call to the ministry.  I never have precisely rejected this call.  Perhaps, I am waiting to hear it in a more visceral way or a more concrete way or through the ministry of my church.  Who knows?  I really don't.  Quite honestly.  Truth be told, sometimes I think that the academia is not going to work because it never was suppose to work.  I know. I know. I know. There are many things I feel when I hear myself saying this-- excuses, excuses; or fears; or a case of the grapes are sour anyways; or when will that girl shake her evangelicalism?, or, or?  Well. I don't know.  I really don't know.   And, that is all she wrote.