Thursday, June 28, 2012

Free, Total, Faithful, and Fruitful

Several years ago, when I was first introduced to the Theology of the Body, I heard that married love needed to be free, total, faithful, and fruitful. (I know Christopher West has brought it up in a number of different talks.)  It made sense to me, but I honestly didn't know where it came from, exactly.

My current thought is.... Humanae Vitae.  Yeppers, and I only had to read it twice (okay, maybe three times) to pick up on it.

It is free, "not...merely a question of natural instinct or emotional drive. It is also, and above all, an act of free will, whose trust is such that it is meant not only to survive the joys and sorrows of daily life, but also to grow, so that husband and wife become in a way one heart and one soul, and together attain their human fulfillment." (Humanae Vitae, 9)

It is total, husband and wife generously share everything. "Whoever really loves their partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner's own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself." (Humanae Vitae, 9)

It is "faithful and exclusive of all others, until death... Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, no one has the right to assert that it is impossible; it is, on the contrary, always honorable and meritorious. The example of countless married couples proves not only that fidelity is in accord with the nature of marriage, but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness." (Humanae Vitae, 9)

It is fruitful. "Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents' welfare." (Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 50: AAS 58 (1966), 1070-1072 [TPS XI, 292-293].*)

For me, so many of the romantic scenes in movies and TV fall short right now. It's usually about someone being overcome with passion (i.e. lust) or feelings for someone else.  I don't know if you've noticed, but many, many times, they are already in a relationship with someone else (sometimes dating, sometimes engaged or married) but the message is that the new love is right and cannot be denied. As a single person, if I ever get married, that's not the kind of relationship I want. I want someone who has decided to make it an act of free will to love me, and is not only ruled by natural instinct or emotional drive. I would like to give myself totally to him and receive the totality of who he is. I want to know that we are both committed to be faithful.  Not because it's easy, but because it's right. To me, a marriage that is free, total, and faithful, will also be fruitful.  Unfortunately, not always with children (due to high numbers of infertility), but by the nature of it's existence and witness to the world, that kind of marriage will bear fruit.

To me, it is hard to even write about these characteristics of marriage separately.  How do you separate one of these from the other? Try to explain giving yourself freely without giving yourself totally. Or how are you truly faithful until death, without a supreme act of free will and trust? Perhaps in this society it's harder to see how openness to new life fits into this, but for me, it is equally a part of the whole equation. You cannot give yourself totally, except your fertility. To give totally is to give all. And so forth.

So many people want to take the "rules" out of marriage and love so that we will be free to do whatever seems good at the time. However, when you strip away these different aspects so that they no longer have to exist, then the type of love that I am looking for no longer exists.

*Ha! You thought it was going to be paragraph 9 of Humanae Vitae again, didn't you? Well, it was from that paragraph, but it was a quote from 2nd VC, so I cut the middle man.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Humanae Vitae: Diving into the Heart of the Matter

Indulge me for a moment if you will. Before you read the rest of this post, take a moment and think about why the Catholic Church stands up against contraception and says that it's wrong. Why they didn't change with the times like the Anglicans at Lambeth in the 1930's and every other Protestant denomination since. Why, in 1968, they didn't finally capitulate and admit that times have changed, and so should our views on contraception. Why, when the government tells us that our Catholic institutions must pay for contraception, the bishops reply not only that we will not, but we cannot

Please, take a moment and think about it. For many of my savvy Catholic friends, you already know the answer, but it is something that I often forget, too.

For the answer, let's go back to the beginning, to the genesis of it all.  If you really want to make me happy, grab a Bible so that you can open it up and read it.  Yes, turn to Genesis. No, we are not going to discuss Onan even a little bit. To understand why Catholics do not allow contraception, you have to understand the genesis- "origin or mode of formation"- of the human race. 

Genesis 1:26-31

Because I know you all had your Bible sitting out and ready to go, and opened it up and read it, I will now only emphasize a few parts.

"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

Marriage is the area where this image is most clearly reflected to the world.  We see this as marriage between one man and one woman that is open to life. "[A] man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24) As Scott Hahn has been known to say, the "one flesh" part is so literal that nine months later you need to pick a name. 

Not that everyone has to be married. Better not be, or the whole celibate priesthood/religious life thing would be a joke, and what about those that are single and for whatever reason can't be married, whether as a heterosexual who just can't find someone, or a homosexual or transgender person who can't be married; this does not make anyone that is not married or is unable to get married as less valuable. We are all made in the image of God. But marriage, as a special way that the image of God is reflected, is not something that we can just make up to be whatever we feel is best. I could paint a pretty picture of a log cabin, but if I told you that it was a picture of the Taj Mahal, I'd be a liar. When something is made in the specific image of something or Someone, we can't define it just any way. It has to actually reflect the thing it is an image of. We believe that marriage is a specific way because it reflects a specific truth.
Marriage, then, is far from being the effect of chance or the result of the blind evolution of natural forces. It is in reality the wise and provident institution of God the Creator, whose purpose was to effect in man His loving design. As a consequence, husband and wife, through the mutual gift of themselves, which is specific and exclusive to them alone, develop that union of two persons in which they perfect one another, cooperating with God in the generation and rearing of new lives. (Humanae Vitae, 8)
That union of two persons, that leads to the generation of new life, reflects not only about the reality of God, but also of the reality of the relationship that He wishes to have with us. It is a mutual giving of self that leads to new life.

"We didn't pick this fight... but we're not going to run from it." The reason that Archbishop Dolan is so adamant about this is because it stands at the heart of who we are as humans, who we are as children of God, and Who He is that we have given our lives to.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Look at the Issues Addressed by Humanae Vitae

The reason that Pope Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae was to address the fact that there have been some changes in society in the recent years (remember, this was 1968 when he wrote it), and the changes led to new questions.

1) Rapid increase in population leading to questions about availability of resources, especially in developing countries.
2) Greater demands in economic and educational fields make it more difficult to provide properly for a larger family.
3) A new understanding of the dignity of a woman and her place in society.
4) A new understanding of the value of conjugal love in marriage and the relationship of conjugal acts to this love.
5) Huge progress in man's ability to control all aspects of life, including body, mind and emotions, social life and laws that regulate the transmission of life.

New Questions:
1) Given the above, shouldn't now be the time to review the moral norms that have been in force previous to these changes and see if they still apply? Especially since these moral norms can only be observed with the gravest difficulty and sometimes only by heroic effort?
2) Is it possible that procreation in marriage can refer to the openness to life within the course of the entire marriage and not in each and every single marital act?
3) Because people today are more conscious of their responsibilities, should the transmission of life be regulated more by intelligence and will rather than the specific rhythms of their bodies?

Maybe it's just me, but I almost found it surprising to read about the considerations that were going into the document in the first place. I think maybe I've just gotten too caught up in the common perception (the Church is holding on to Tradition; granted, I thought it was because this particular Tradition was true, and not because the Church was too staid to move on) to realize what all went into the formation of this document. It's not that they ignored these issues; it's because they were studying these problems that this document was written!

The other thing that Pope Paul mentions is the commissions that studied this topic prior to the writing of the document.  I did know that there was a commission (it sounds like there were at least two). It included married couples and laywomen as well as bishops and theologians.  There was not a consensus of opinion, though I believe that the majority of the commission was okay with contraception. Pope Paul believed that he could not totally rely on those findings (especially with the lack of consensus). Some may be frustrated by the direction he went, but me? I see the Holy Spirit at work, baby!

I would love to say more about this, but I have a whole laundry list of things that I should be doing right now... Laundry is on the list, and blogging really isn't, so I guess I'd better go make an attempt to take care of business!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Humanae Vitae

I was reading this post that sort of referenced Humanae Vitae by someone who clearly wasn't familiar with it at all, but was sure that it was wrong.  I have read it, but it's been a long time. If you are not just coming out from under your rock, you probably know that this is the decisive document that solidified the Church's teachings about contraception ("no"), but if you're like me and most people, you may not really know what it says and why.  Since this is the Fortnight for Freedom, I thought it might be a good time for me to read it and maybe discuss bits and pieces of it. You know, beyond the fact of the "no".

Pope Paul VI to the bishops of the Catholic Church (and by extension, to all Catholics):

The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships.

When I read that, do you know what I heard?

Uncle Ben to Peter Parker (aka Spiderman):

With great power, comes great responsibility.

So true, Uncle Ben. So true.

At the time that Ben and Peter had this discussion, Peter was just beginning to figure out what his powers were and how he could use them. His plan was to use them for his own monetary gain, and so he could maybe not get laughed at quite so much, and maybe so he could finally get the girl. He hadn't thought much beyond that. He never thought about what might happen if he didn't use his powers for the good.  Whether he used them for evil, or just plain neglected to use them at all, he didn't think about what would happen. And when Peter decided not to stop a bad guy, that bad guy ended up killing Uncle Ben.  Kind of a harsh way to learn that Uncle Ben was, in fact, correct. (If he hadn't died, he could've dropped a bomb of an "I told you so", but he probably wouldn't have. He's classier than me.)

From that time on, Spiderman took his responsibilities much more seriously.  It wasn't easy, and it sometimes cost him friends, jobs, and school. At one point, it was all too much and he tried to quit altogether. Problem is, though he didn't choose his incredible powers, he did have a responsibility to those that needed him to use his powers to save the world.*

Wait, were you hoping for an in depth, erudite discussion of Humanae Vitae? BWAHAHAHA! 

Ahem. I mean, excuse me. Umm, if this is not your first post at this blog, then you should probably know by now that I get a wee bit tangential at times. Although I admit that Humanae Vitae to "Spiderman" might be a new record (I'll let you be the judge of whether it is a record high or a record low).

The thing about procreation is that it is joining with God in the very creation of life. It is procreation, not mere recreation. It has eternal consequences. That's right, the very world can be changed by who is having sex with whom and how that may turn out. Mother Theresa, Hitler, Lincoln, anyone you can think of who changed the world or a part of the world have something in common. They all have parents who had sex and brought a new life into the world.

With great power, comes great responsibility.

It does not mean that every time people have sex, a child will result. Nor that it should. But it could, and for that reason, sex is not some mere toy to be played with without thought for what could be the result. When you have sex, and a child may result, and that child may be the fall or the rise of many. It is beautiful, awesome, and a heavy responsibility. Like Peter and his powers, we may not realize how big this power of procreation really is. There may be times where it is too much for us. There may be other times where it keeps us from other things that we may want to be doing. No one said it was easy, only that it is important.

Hmm, well.  Dunno how this is going to go. One post into looking at Humanae Vitae, and I've managed to make it two whole sentences into the encyclical and discussed Spiderman as long as I have the Pope's words.  Awesome.  Or something...

Okay, briefly about F4F (because I can no longer bear to keep typing out "fortnight"), just wanted to send you here for some awesome links.  My favorites are the virtual vigil and the bishops' statement on religious freedom (a fascinating read that brought up more issues than I was aware of, and which totally mentioned bloggers as a way to help spread education!)

*At least, any of the world that lives in a city.  Has anyone besides me spent time thinking about how lame Spiderman would be on a farm? No? Just me, then.  But he would be a bust of a superhero in the country! Climbing walls to the top of a silo or barn would not be too exciting, and he couldn't use the web for a mode of travel among the cornstalks...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

And So It Begins...

I have not been reading what other viewpoints have to say, but I'm guessing they are thinking that Catholics are C to the R to the Azy. Not all Catholics, of course. Just the ones that are too busy blindly following those old stuck-in-the-mud celibate men to stand up for themselves and get things done. Some of those more progressive Catholics are okay, but the ones that toe the party line on something silly like contraception? Nut jobs.

And now the crazies are going to jump up on their high horse and lifted their wounded, martyr cries for religious freedom, when they should just settle down and worry about more important things in life instead of wasting 2 weeks fasting and praying and generally acting out to try to not have to do something minor like pay for contraception with insurance.  It's not like they actually have to use it, so what's the big honking deal?

I know not many people understand the Catholic objection to contraception. That's okay, you don't have to. The point is that we have strong objections to it that go beyond what you might think is the issue (most people think it's because the celibate priests just want there to be more Catholics born... here's a hint: that is NOT why we object.) Living in this country, we feel that we should not be forced to follow a law that violates our beliefs.

Quick review of why we think this:

Amendment I

Freedoms, Petitions, Assembly
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I'm not saying that all my blogging will be about this in the next couple of weeks, though I do have a few things that I want to address.  However, whatever else I have to add (and, not going to lie, not sure what I can add to the discussion that my fellow lunatics- aka orthodox Catholics- have not already said), this is what is really important. By forcing me to help pay for something that I deeply believe is morally wrong, you are smashing away my right to free exercise of religion.  Whether or not you think I'm crazy on the contraception issue, this should be a problem for you. 

Because your rights might be the next ones that get stomped.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom

I have to say something about the Fortnight for Freedom.  I think it's an awesome idea, although, "fortnight"? Really?  Anyway, despite the name, I like the idea.  One thing that wasn't mentioned at Mass the other day when they brought it up was the number of feast days during this 2 week period, including St. John the Baptist, St. John Fisher, and St. Thomas More. I think that's awesome, and I think it's awesome that it ends on July 4th.

The bishops mention things like prayer, fasting, going to daily Mass, etc. I plan on doing a lot of those things, but I got another one that they didn't mention. Blogging. Oh, yeah. I know how to pull out the big spiritual guns. (Is there something like spiritual guns? That actually seems like a bad thing.  Never mind, then, but I think you can see what I'm trying to get at!)

Just to get you started, here are some links to what other awesome bloggers have already had to say since this whole HHS mandate really came out.

What I Refuse to Believe (I just picked the most recent, but there's a lot of good stuff there!)

"We Are the 98%", both here and here.

One of my favorites, Breaking News.

There are many more good ones, but for my limited time this morning, that is a start. More to come starting later this week!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I have decided to create an unlike button on facebook, so that I can officially unlike wildfires.

And I'm writing my congress people so they know they have to put a stop to this nonsense if they want my vote in November.

And I'm going to lodge a complaint... somewhere... about irresponsible use of lightning in dry areas.

I like to do my part when I see problems in the world.

But seriously, pray for those that have lost their homes and belongings due to the fires. Pray for the firefighters' safety.  Fire is not all bad in this ecosystem, but with the dryness throughout the West, all of these fires have the potential to get WAY out of hand very quickly.

Friday, June 15, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 163)
1) Hmm. Well. Here I am.  Again.  Two times in two days, lucky you! I haven't been on the blogs much. Sort of. I found one that has me totally engrossed in the archives (I do that sometimes), but the real culprits are that I've been trying to keep my head above the flood of busy work for my job (and failing) and hiking a couple peaks (pics here). Anyway, that is the big, big boringness (the busy work, NOT the peaks) that has been keeping me away from my usual bloggy haunts.  Is the busy work done? Not even close. I'm just weak and couldn't stay away any longer. Also because I rock at procrastination!

2) I have been so fortunate since I have moved out here that I had a close friend move at the same time. And it's been awesome!  I knew it was only going to be for a couple of years, but I tried to pretend that it would be longer. I can't believe that a couple years is over already and they'll be moving in a couple of months! The awesome thing is that they are moving to another town where another really awesome friend of ours lives.  I'm so excited for the two of them to be in the same town, that I almost forget that I'm depressed about her leaving (plus, I'm trying to forget that she's leaving, because if I forget that it's happening, then it's not really happening, right? Right?) I do know this: her current level of not ever posting on facebook- or the blog that she started but then didn't even write one post- is not acceptable when I can't go hang out with her every so often. (And she reads, this so I'm sure it will convince her to mend her post-less ways...HA!) But at least I can see occasional pictures of her and her family from our other friend who does at least put photos on facebook (and who has a blog that has actual posts on it, even if it's not quite enough to suit me- but then, I don't really want more posts so much as more hanging out in person, which is hard to do with this many miles in between). That may be the most confusing and run on "quick" take ever. You're welcome.

3) A flow-y former favorite shirt of mine has finally fallen out of favor. (How's that alliteration? Seuss has nothing on me!) Yep, after several years as a favorite, this shirt might be done after I was asked if I was pregnant while I was wearing it.  For real?! I mean, I'm a little bloated going overboard on the sweet and salty the last few days, but still!  Flow-y or not, there's not too much stomach under there! Granted, it was a much older lady, so maybe the eyesight was an issue.  I'm not sure which is worse, the pregnancy question or being told that I am WASTING AWAY.

4) Speaking of that post, my grace period is up. I got a note the other day that she stopped by and is ready to set me up with this guy.  I hope for his sake that he's no longer homeless, but even with a good roof over his head, I don't think he's the guy for me.  I still have to call her and figure out a polite way to tell her this. I keep forgetting to call her (except for the one time that I did remember, but just decided I didn't want to deal with it.) It has now been hanging over my head since Monday. Told you I'm awesome at procrastination.

5) My family is coming out to visit in a few weeks, and I am mostly looking forward to it.  However, ever since I turned 81, I am so stuck on my routine that I get a little cranky when it gets messed up.  Like the fact that I'll miss a Thursday of climbing. And though they're excited to hike, you can't really take flatlanders up a big peak. Or anything that's high enough or long enough to make me feel like I've worked out. And that we don't really eat the same things. Like how my younger brother told me he wanted hot dogs, and I had to inform him that that junk is not coming into my house. (They don't really eat that many hot dogs, but he wanted to get a rise out of me. It worked.)

6) I decided one of the things that I wanted to do during their visit was to get my mom a massage.  It worked out perfectly, because it coincided with the day that I have a standing massage appointment* (I've missed an appointment or two- one a desperately needed one after a 14 mile session with a seriously poorly designed backpack-, and now I hurt), so if I get my mom one following mine, then I don't look like such a complete jerk for keeping it.  I love having a job where I can get a discount so as to be able to afford some massage from absolutely amazing massage therapists! (And I really did plan on getting a massage for my mom even before I realized that there would be such a self-serving benefit attached.)

7) I just got on one of those internet cheap hotel rate things.  I didn't get a great deal, but that wasn't expected due to the time that I was going. But, score!, for the slight inconvenience of filling out a survey, I could get $100 credit.  I didn't read it too closely to see if it told me $100 worth of what.  I figured it might be some sort of credit for the site that might work out to $20 of real money. Eh, twenty dollars is better than zero dollars. But, no. So much better than that, even. After I finished the (thankfully, very brief) survey, I was transferred to a place where I could pick out up to FOUR awesome magazine subscriptions worth a total one hundred dollars.  For only a $2 processing fee per pick. Awesome. I mean, I tried really hard to find the perfect 4 for me, but after skimming the offerings from Ma.xim to Par.enthood Magazine, I decided that I would rather forego my $100 pay for my 30 seconds of grueling work.

Head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes, and happy Friday!

*Why yes, yes I am perfectly and completely spoiled rotten. Why do you ask?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

On Commenting

I know I've commented on most (if not all) of this before at least once (and maybe more). But, hey, repetitious repetition is what keeps you coming back, right? Hello? ... Anyone?

As I am coming off a very brief and unintentional blog break, I suddenly find myself thinking about comments again, specifically making comments on other peoples' posts.  I like to comment, but I often find myself saying something really, really LAME. And short.  And I try not to read other peoples' much more awesome and longer and well thought out and funny and insightful comments.  I might learn something, but then I'm often intimidated right out of leaving a comment at all. In fact, I have found myself leaving fewer and lame-er comments than usual. Also good for some brief angst is when and how to leave a comment on a new blog (or a blog that's not really that new, but I've been doing more lurking than commenting).  I mean, do you just jump right into the conversation like you've been there all along (even though, being the creepy lurker that you are, maybe you have been there all along) or do you introduce yourself? And what if they are the cool, popular bloggers and they don't really need another commenter/groupie/wannabe? Or there are already so many comments that why would they want one more? When I get past all my way weird over thinking, I tend to go for the awkward leap of just jumping in and landing in an awkward heap in the combox. Because that's much better than the awkward introduction, don'cha know?

Sidenote: I really don't know where people get the idea that all bloggers are socially awkward introverts.

Also, aren't you glad that a few days off gave me some time for some deep, deep thought?

Anyway, I decided that when it comes right down to it, all I can do about comments is to keep commenting.  At least if I do, you know I'm reading and that I care (because I am, and I do).  And that's the important part, not as much that it's short or not very edifying (at least I hope that's the important part). When I really got to thinking about it, I have never not loved getting a comment from a new-to-me reader. I have never read a short comment and thought, "How lame, why'd they bother commenting?" And never, ever have I gotten one too many comments (quantitatively speaking... qualitatively is another story, but not from anyone that's actually reading this post!) I love "meeting" new people, and any comment, no matter how short makes me happy. And so I will go on commenting like I like it when people comment.

But, really? How can someone go on this long about nothing (and for probably at least the second time) and still not come up with a little more of something to say to awesome posts other people write, or ones that make me laugh, or the ones that touch my heart? Ah, well. It's going to take me more than a few days off to come up with the answer to this and other, just as thorny, questions in life.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


The other day, I was in church and had the following conversation with God:

"Fine. Whatever."

It was not a defiant statement accompanied by an eye roll and an attitude of "You may be getting Your way, but only because I can't get my way, NOT because Your way is best." Nor was it a beautiful, holy moment of embracing God's will in an attitude of "I love You so much that even getting poked in the eye with a spork is wonderful and beautiful and worth it if it is in Your plan."

It just was.

I can't adequately describe what I was feeling, because I wasn't feeling much of anything.  I guess you could say it was a moment of detachment.  It didn't feel like a really good thing or a really bad thing, it just was.

In that moment, my hopes, dreams, and wishes didn't change.  I was just able to let go of them a little. It's a scary proposition. Every time I've tried to let go, I would see each of my heart's desires as a balloon in a helium balloon bouquet. "Letting go" completely meant watching my hopes float away, never to be seen again- except perhaps by a passerby as a deflated piece of trash littering the ground.

But maybe letting go is something a little different.  A couple of weeks ago, I helped some beginner rock climbers learn some of the systems involved with climbing. They climb desperately clinging to ever little hand hold they can find. When they get to the top, they naturally are ready to come down, so they give the command that we have taught them, "Ready to lower."  Half the time, we have to tell them they are not ready to lower.  They have to let go of the rock first.  I know I had to be told that the first time I climbed.

It's uncomfortable up there.  Your only slight sense of control over gravity and the 50+ feet of air beneath you comes from solidness of a good hold under your hands.  Letting go feels like giving gravity the upper hand. Most beginners are able to let go, but they still have to be coaxed into leaning back to let the harness and the rope take their weight. Some will actually get stuck at the top, too afraid to let go. It's understandable. In letting go, they have to give up their control, trusting that they will not fall; if they are wrong in their trust, they will fall to their death. In contrast, a climber with a little more experience gets to the top and stands back with their feet on the wall and all their weight leaning back on the rope.  They trust the system of the rope, the harness and their belayer.  They know that they can count on that system to keep them safe from death.

I'm sure I've used that analogy before, but there it is.  I am learning that letting go means trusting God to safely take care of my hopes and dreams, rather than me clinging to them with all the strength I can muster in my fingertips. It does not mean watching them float off into oblivion.

The thing is, that moment of detachment was nice, but it also felt a little like death.  Reading well-written mommy blogs and giving up on the absolute need to one day have that in my life means a sort of death. Traveling with my family and not spending time and energy hoping it will be my last solo trip home feels sort of like death.  Hearing pregnancy announcements and not wondering when (if!) it will be my turn is a sort of death.  Letting go and saying "Your will be done- even if that means never being the wife and mother that I've always wanted to be" is death.

I was slightly depressed about that until the other night.  I was lying in a sleeping bag in a little tent.  The cool breeze was perfect, the fresh scent of pine was heavenly, but the noisy neighbors kept me from sleeping.  Instead of stewing about the fact that I needed to sleep so I could get up early for my hike the next day- and, SERIOUSLY, how can people be so rude!- I decided to pray a rosary.*  It was Friday, so I picked the Sorrowful Mysteries.  In thinking about the events of Christ's passion and death, I realized something strange.  For the last 3-4 years of being single, I have identified so much on some level of each of the mysteries, different mysteries in different phases of waiting. In the agony in the garden, I recognized the agony of being alone in pain while those around me seemed oblivious and sleeping. In another phase, I recognized the unrelenting scourging at the pillar, feeling your life drain away, but the emotional blows keep coming without letting up.  In the carrying of the cross, recognizing that this crazy, heavy cross of waiting was mine to embrace, even when I fell and couldn't stand under its weight, much less carry it. And, yes, there have been times of dying and feeling the abandonment of even God Himself.

But at this moment of my journey, I didn't feel a connection with any of the sorrowful mysteries. I prayed during each mystery for those that were agonizing and dying in their suffering right then, but it's not me right now. Nor could I identify with the joyful mysteries of His early life, nor the light of his public life, nor the glory of His resurrection. I finally realized where I was.  Detachment is death. I am with Him in the tomb. It sounds morbid, but it's not. It's a wonderful place to be. Letting go allows to quiet and rest in the cool stillness. We wait there together, between the sorrow and the glory. Death to self and dreams will eventually lead to new life in Christ.  I don't know how long the three days of waiting will be, and I don't know what that new life will look like. But I believe that it will happen, and if it's what He wants, it will be wonderful, with or without my dreams.

Fine, God.  Whatever.**

*I also thought about being a little extra loud while breaking camp in the wee small hours of the morning when we left for our hike. Hey, just because I was praying a rosary doesn't mean I'm that holy.

**Any type of surrender is something that occurs by degrees and is not so much a linear process. Me writing this today doesn't mean that I won't be crying about stuff tomorrow.