Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This is called "natural consequences"

The scene: Dad is washing dishes, Mom is getting ready to make stuffing, and I am wandering through because I remembered that Mom bought little oranges earlier and I wanted one.

Mom pokes her head in the fridge and pronounces the Words of Doom:

"Did somebody use butter yesterday?"

Silence falls over the kitchen for a moment. Then I lean towards Dad and whisper, "I think you're going to Wal-Mart."

Mom pulls her head out of the fridge. "Yeah!"

Today's Life Lesson: If you use up all the butter 2 days before Thanksgiving, then the night before Thanksgiving you will be going to Wal-Mart to get more.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

On a lighter note

Last night, my household coordinator and I went shopping for our Secret Santa party (which is today). I was having a hard time finding something that was a good present but under the five-dollar limit.

Me: "Okay, what does Terri* like?"

Buttercup: "Well, she's a girl."

[long pause]

Me: "Buttercup, we're all girls."

Buttercup: "No, I mean a girl."

Me: "Oh, one of those girls."

I won't say what I got her, but I will say that it is pink.

*Names changed to protect privacy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Laundry woes

For some reason, dear readers, the capacity of the laundry machines here is just slightly under what I wear in an average week. Usually I solve this dilemma by giving the clothes a few shoves, but since I've started wearing my bulkier winter clothing this hasn't been sufficient. Last Saturday I had about 1 1/2 loads of laundry, so I decided that I do 1 load and then 2 loads this weekend.

I did 1 load yesterday, and do not plan on doing a second one before going home for Thanksgiving on Tuesday evening. Why, you may ask? Because when I went to do my laundry, I could not find my bottle of detergent anywhere. Why does this matter? Because I know that my detergent isn't going to give me an allergic reaction. So I'm waiting to see if my roommate's detergent makes me break out in hives before I go putting it on all my clothes.

I bet you never thought putting on a shirt could be an adventure, did you?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Toenails Are Green

or, Grief Is A Funny Thing

My grandma died almost four years ago (it was a few days after Christmas), and a few months ago if you'd asked me if I was still sad I would have said no. I mean, three and a half years is a long time. Right?

Sometime I want to write about Grandma at length here (perhaps on her birthday, which is in a month) but for now I'll just include a few facts.

One: She loved purple. Like, seriously loved purple. Like, just about everything she owned was some shade of purple. So when she died instead of getting a black dress, I got a very pretty lavendar blouse (this was all my mother's idea, it wasn't just me being weird).

A few weeks ago I was home for Fall Break and noticed this blouse hanging up in my closet and thought it was pretty. So I took it back to school with me and wore it to household inductions that night and the whole time there was a little bit of the back of my mind thinking that the last time I wore that blouse was at my grandmother's funeral. Now that I think of it, I think that was the first time I'd worn anything purple since my grandmother's funeral.

Another thing about Grandma: She liked nail polish. A lot. She had baskets full of those little bottles of it and I cannot tell you how many hours of my childhood and early adolescence were spent sitting on the floor of her apartment with newspapers strewn about, painting my nails a variety of colors, sometimes more than one color (I think once for Christmas I alternated between green and red).

Last night I had just gotten off the phone with Scott and was going to fill up my water bottle at the drinking fountain (because my mother told me that the drinking fountain is filtered, not nasty Steubenville water) when I passed the room of two of my household sisters. A third was sitting on the floor, painting the nails of one of the other two. She asked if I wanted my nails done. I made a few excuses.

A few minutes later I wandered in to say goodnight and she asked if I was sure I didn't want my nails done. So I consented to having my toenails painted Servant green (I will never call it teal again, methinks). And I spend the rest of the night remembering, and being a little sad.

Maybe next time I'll have her do purple toenails.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Wife of Valor

Last Thursday in Principles of Biblical Studies, we were discussing the book of Proverbs. I'm going to assume all my readers have read Proverbs 31. (If you haven't, why don't you go do that now? Blogs will wait.)

I like it fine, but it never really inspired me. These are the "qualities of a good wife". That's nice. What if I want to be a great wife? What if I want to "be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor the Devil says 'Oh no, she's up!'" (to quote a Piece of Flair on Facebook)

I'm an overachiever. I like a challenge. I don't like just being "good."

So imagine my excitement when the professor got to Proverbs 31 and explained that the Hebrew phrase (eshet hayil) translated as "a good wife" would be more suitably translated as "wife of valor". The adjective hayil is the same used in 2 Samuel for David's 30 Mighty Men. Those mighty men, you know, who did things like killing lions singlehanded. They were pretty impressive fellows.

Now we encounter their female counterpart. What does this mighty woman do? Strap on her husband's armor and ride off into battle? Nope. She gets up early and does chores. (Mighty women get up early. My morning-person self is still smiling over that one.)

It's something I'm going to try to work on, being that woman of valor (even though I'm not married yet). For the last few months I've been feeling the need to figure out how I'm supposed to be battling the Devil, because God has indicated that He doesn't want me actually fighting. Neither does the Cobbler--after all, it's his job to protect me. Yet I've all this desire for valor that doesn't know what to do with itself. Now I pretty much have a blueprint for it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen

So, dear readers, is there anything which one must do while eighteen? If so, I have four days left in which to do it.

Around this time last year I was in a state of shock over how quickly seventeen had gone. Now that I look back on seventeen from a slight distance, I can see why I felt that way. The first six months of seventeen were spent in a blur of advanced math (curses be upon it), college visits, scholarship applications, and discussions-ending-in-tears over the fact that I got into my crazy stubborn head the idea that God wanted me to give up a full-ride scholarship so I could go to an itty-bitty little Catholic school in the middle of the Rust Belt.

The next three months were spent reading fifty-six books (no, that is not a typo), playing pick-up games of Ultimate Frisbee, and having everybody and their aunt asking me if I was nervous about going to college. I wasn't, actually, until everybody started asking me and I started wondering if there was something to be nervous about.

Then there was a five-hour car ride, during which I was very nervous, and a loooong weekend during which I grinned like an idiot. My dad said, "You're not nearly as nervous as you were on the way here," to which I replied, "I'm just jazzed to be on the show, man." (If you get that you're a geek. I'm just saying.)

There followed three months of, "Oh, crap, now I have to take care of myself." I managed, somehow, to make it to my eighteenth birthday without dying, though I did cry pretty much the whole day. We won't talk about that.

The first two and a half months of eighteen are best characterized by the single word waiting...I did not know then for whom.

Around the end of January the Russians happened. You know, dear readers, someday I'm going to tell you about the Russians and you're going to be terribly disappointed because it really isn't that exciting, except for me, because of what happened after.

You see, it was the Russians who made me, later, pause and think just how dear Scott had become to me.

As soon as I realized that I stopped dead and said (out loud), "I'm in trouble."

The next two and a half months of eighteen were spent wrestling with God. I was rather dramatically miserable at the time but in hindsight I'm starting to see why it was necessary. Before April 4 I would not have been ready to stand and listen while Scott stood there and explained an interesting thing he'd just figured out. Before April 6 I wouldn't have been able to say...whatever it was I ended up saying. It was very long and rambly and never really came to a point. I just kind of trailed off and we stood there grinning at each other.

I'm not even going to attempt to summarize the seven months that followed. Maybe in ten years or so they'll form some kind of coherent picture. Suffice it to say that the bad parts of eighteen were worse than the bad parts of seventeen, but the good parts were so much better that if I cry all day on my birthday again it'll be because I can't believe it's possible to be this blessed.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I really wasn't alive in the seventies, I swear

The Servants are going on retreat this weekend, and the sister who is organizing things left a note on everyone's door a few days ago telling them to not forget to bring a towel.

This afternoon, as I am packing, I see the note (which I moved to the inside of my door) and think, She sounds like Ford Prefect with all this insistence on having your towel.

Yes, my dad completely ruined me by letting me read his books.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"It's really hard to have your categories exploded."

The above statement was made by the professor during my Theology of Christ class today. We were discussing the Arian heresy and how Arius had all these categories he was trying to impose on the Trinity. The Son was either from the Father and thus a part of the Father, or He was from nothing. The Father either actively willed the Son's existence or He was forced to beget the Son against His will. In order to preserve these categories Arius had to say that the Son was made from nothing and that before He was begotten, He was not. (Two statements with which Bishop Alexander of Alexandria took issue.)

Christ explodes all human categories. If I skimmed through my copy of Jesus of Nazareth I could give you a few examples of how he exploded the Jews' categories. When they thought of the Messiah they had certain boundaries deliniating what a Messiah was, and then Christ came along and blew those ideas apart.

Lest this post become excessively long, however, I will give a couple of more personal anecdotes. One day over the summer, the Cobbler was visiting my house and during a conversation with me and my sister triumphantly proclaimed, "I am Scott, Destroyer of Boxes!" The other is from this past spring (early March to be exact), when I was pondering my relationship with the Cobbler and thinking, "Well, there are certain lines we'll never cross. For one, we've never had physical contact beyond shaking hands." A few days later he felt compelled to give me a hug, and did so. So much for that boundary. (I think it necessary to note that our relationship does have physical boundaries, but no hugging is definitely not one of them anymore.)

I'm starting to figure out that trying to fit the Cobbler into my carefully-drawn boundary lines is an exercise in futility. From the very first day I met him he's been destroying my preconceived ideas of how relationships ought to work, one by one. It hasn't been easy. I mightily resisted being friends with him; and the mental fuss I put up when I realized that I might be falling in love with him was something only the boundless patience of God could have dealt with (and He did, in His own time).

The Cobbler is the Destroyer of Boxes. It wasn't until class today that I realized I could just as easily apply that title to God. For over six years now He's been taking my preconceived notions of how God ought to work and obliterating them one by one, and I've been fighting Him every single step of the way.

So. Anybody want some discarded boxes?

Monday, November 3, 2008

I find this vastly amusing

Yesterday morning, while I was still at home, I had a very interesting conversation with the Princess.

First, a bit of context: On my laptop screen I have a collage of four pictures: one of the Greek Geek and the Captain, one of Mari and Ambrose, one of the Princess, and one of Scott.

Yesterday morning I was getting ready to check my email when the Princess wandered over, pointed at my screen, and said, "May."

(If you've forgotten, May is her rendition of Megan.)

Thinking that perhaps she was saying "me" and pointing to her own picture, I said, "Yes, that's [her name]."

"May," she repeated, pointing to a different place.

"No, I'm not on here anywhere. That's Scott."

Now I was on the right track. She pointed directly at Scott's picture and emphatically declared, "May."

At that point, I suddenly realized why we've had no success in getting her to say "Scott," in spite of the fact that she's able to recognize him. In her little two-year-old brain, this person everyone else calls Scott is simply an extension of May.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Maybe we should just call it even

Morgan: "Megan, I have a question for you."

Me: "What?"

Morgan: "What do you want for your birthday?"

Me: "I actually don't know. Mom wants me to make a list."

Morgan: "Okay."

Me: "Morgan, I have a question."

Morgan: "A car."

Me: "What do you want for your birthday that costs less than, say, twenty dollars?"

Morgan: "I don't know. I'll have to make a list too."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

His Precious

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,
who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and
bought it.*

I think everyone who's been Catholic for any length of time has read an interpretation of this parable wherein we are exhorted to give up our earthly attachments in order to purchase the pearl of great price (I'm sorry, RSV, I just can't say "value"). A few years back I wrote a meditation on that aspect myself. (Maybe I'll post it here someday.) Today, though, I want to propose another way of looking at this parable.

The name Megan means "pearl". I rather liked this when I found out, because I automatically associate the word pearl with the phrase "pearl of great price". It's kind of nice to think that you're precious.

This idea percolated quietly in the back of my mind for a little while before it occured to me that maybe I wasn't going too far afield with my little thought. Would it be theologically incorrect to propose that God is the pearl-merchant and we are the pearls? The merchant sold all he had to buy the pearl; Christ "did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave."**

I don't think it could be theogically incorrect to propose that we are the pearl; that we are precious to God, so precious that He would even die for us. Probably no one of my generation can think of the word "precious" without hissing a little at the end, but try for a minute. Or, if you can't, go ahead and think it. Think about the fact that you are God's precious, more deeply and more purely than the Ring was ever Gollum's.

*Matthew 13:45-46
**Philippians 2:6-7