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Isn’t it great how the internet latches on to words in our e-mail to suggest sites we might want to visit? You too could be linked to someplace suitable for your old age just by mentioning it in an e-mail.
It is scary that someone out there might need to link up with another active senior by an internet site. Finding friends who like to hike – or whatever sounds a little like an on-line dating service.
And then all the health tips – or promises of some magical potion to postpone the inevitable aging process. Maybe one would need that if they are out there looking for a job in our ageist culture.
Makes me think of my 80ish patient who came in lamenting that she was being forced to retire at last.
There is a certain finality to the baby packing up and leaving. Even if it is just for summer school and she will be back in 2 months for a final 2 months before fall session starts.
It is not like she has gone so far. Not like she will not be back. Not like we had to push her out.
But then why does it seem as if there is a big hole in my heart?
She made me cupcakes for Mother’s Day. Left 4 of them for us to enjoy. And the house is suddenly quiet. And empty.
I hate it when a day begins in frustration. Crown way overtrimmed. No way it will fit. Retake impression. The patient must wait again.
Maybe it will get better from here on in. I’m an optimist I guess.
The other day at the soup kitchen I sat and chatted with three women who are regulars. One was quite sad looking, her skin had a greyish hue and it looked like life had been hard on her.
life has been hard on her lately – breast cancer and the chemo has taken its toll and she is not finished yet. Hair loss happened early so she was sporting an obvious wig.
She made a comment about the fellow who had joined us that day to work off some community service time for a traffic violation – he pastors a downtown street church. She had visited there one day and some of the street kids who dropped in had begun to make fun of her. That hurt her. Someone else made the comment that kids have no respect anymore.
I wonder what it is that causes this lack of respect. Is it loss of a sense of community? Would they have made fun of someone they knew as an older auntie? Are they simply so ignorant that they would make fun of someone whose body is being attacked by cancer? They probably had no clue but would some knowledge have changed their behaviour?
Many things to wonder about. Her friends cared enough to commiserate with her. I doubt the church man even knew. I wonder if I will see her again and if my knowing will make a difference.
It was declared to be Tartan Day to honor our Scottish heritage on April 6. Well, some of us (not me) have some Scottish heritage. PA is just a bit late since Apr. 6th did not work out for the local Scots. Tonight, 7:30 at Rivier Academy there will be much playing of the pipes and drums as well as some other orchestrations.
So, off I go lugging my bass. Playing a few tunes to lighten our northern isolation.
It was a good day today. Talking with my spiritual director was good. Came away feeling a whole lot less frustrated with my life – with life in general. Seems I am not the only one to have become frustrated with living in between stages of life.
I finished the book.
You know, I think this whole task of caring for children never ends. I can see that when I began having children, my intentions were the best. I would raise them to know God. They were a gift and I would entrust them to God.
So much living gets in the way of our true intentions sometimes. We did not become the idyllic Christian family that I envisioned – all my children growing up deeply devoted to God, serving him, all eventually married to good Christians and in their turn raising up more Christian children.
Instead, I have raised a hodgepodge of humans. Weak, sinning humans. Some know and follow God and some really do not care. Yet.
The author of In The Midst of Chaos talks about the “religious familism” that idealizes the mother who stays at home devoted to her children at the expense of her own life. A lot of guilt weighs down on those of us who have chosen another path. The author deals with this too. She speaks of a new type of family where mutuality in parenting is practiced. Imagine – giving the role of parent enough credibility that it is work worthy of sharing as equally as possible, juggling work roles outside the home along with caring for our children. Hard but worth it.
The author covers topics in the last few chapters on family life, choices families make about where they will live, their lifestyle that makes the home a mission field and a place for reaching out to others. She talks about the value of play, of playing together as a family and the importance of instilling in children a love of reading. Finally she discusses the need to let children go and the small griefs one lives through along the whole parenting journey.
I think that a similar book could be written for grandparents. I guess that I can learn from this book and extrapolate meaning from it that I can apply to this final stage of parenting. Choices also have to be made about how one will grandparent as well. And that is the place I am in now. Making choices, trying to find more time to do this grandparenting thing well; passing on some of the things I value to the little ones that are mine.
More from In The Midst Of Chaos.
In chapter four titled, Taking Kids Seriously, the author talks of how children are not taken seriously as being persons with a spiritual and philosophical capacity. We do not pay them much heed. Children do not have much to contribute any longer to the economic well being of the family. They began to be viewed as spiritually and morally innocent so were sentimentalized. Children born to families that are economically well off are prized possessions and given an abundance of material possessions with little thought to the well being of children in less fortunate circumstances. In spite of the fact that children are prized, it seems to be preferred that they are kept in their own circles, farther away from the adult realm of reality, losing contact with the wider group of non-family adults.
Today, the author says that the sentimental view of children is changing to one of the “knowing child” – to a view where the child must be taken seriously. She says:
What is required now is not just a shift in our understanding of children. Rather, we must consider how our new regard for their complexity is expressed as we practice our faith within the daily rounds of family life. Taking children seriously entails not just what we believe or how we think about children; it also involves new ways of including them in the shared life of faith. Children are active agents and participants in the practices of faith, even if they bring their own perspectives, capacities, and insights. Now we must figure out what this means for our lives together. p.65
Recognizing children as knowing spiritual and moral beings has consequence for how we treat and interact with children economically, psychologically and socially. Chidren need greater participation in the family economy and welfare, but we have only begun to scratch the surface of what engaging children more actively in this realm might entail. p74
If adults diminish children as active participants in religious practice, we both reduce the vitality of our own life of faith and overlook the human complexity children already possess. If we want to experience the daily care of children as a spiritual practice, then we must take kids and their faith seriously. p76