Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Podkayne and Providence

Hold it! Stop the machines! Wipe the tapes! Cancel all bulletins--
That, of course, is Podkayne again...and I am reduced to that same quite ridiculous level of adolescent emotion after the crazy ride that's finally come to a halt...and (praise God!) at NYC!
Were I even faintly and half-heartedly Calvinist this post would be about how this journey is about teaching to trust in God's Providence and whatnot. But I'm not. Not in the least, in fact. And so while I am profoundly thankful my gratitude is directed first toward those people who played their parts in making this miraculous turnaround happen. I would name them but I have a sad sense that such a symbolic gesture is quite empty; moreover, it may be something less than true thanks to associate unwitting people with this humble and occasionally blasphemous and heretical blog.
But here's how it happened. Even with the generous financial aid from Brent's home parish, diocese, and GTS, and my own scholarship from CSF, we still spent days and days trying to figure out a way for this to be enough, since living in NYC is so expensive. As part of that effort, Brent consulted a friend from church familiar with our situation and expert in financial matters, who looked over our prospective NYC budget and pronounced it woefully deficient in a few areas (for example, we decided to save money by not having any life insurance, which now that Clare's around, is more of a necessity than it used to be). And after it seemed like NYC was more out of reach than ever, this friend intervened on our behalf--the result being, we now have enough $$, even to amend our stripped-down budget into something more realistic.
What this means is, people who know Brent and people who don't know Brent all came together in order to help us out by doing extraordinary things on our behalf. The fact that these extraordinary things involve monetary gifts makes it all the more extraordinary in my opinion--this is America, and money is the bottom line: when people are generous with money, that's as generous as it gets in this culture.
Now, is this God's providence at work? I was joking with Brent (after the fact when it became possible to have a sense of humor again) that were we Calvinists our faith in Providence would have been sorely abused given the incredible reversals we've experienced over the past month. If, at every step of that ridiculous roller coaster, we had comforted ourselves with the belief, "well, if X is where God wants us to be, it will work clearly X is where God wants us" then the whole thing would just be such a cruel joke: God's will is NYC--no, DC--no, NYC--no, DC--no, NYC! It's so obvious that in situations like this--which are the only situations in which this doctrine becomes really important to people--that "God's will" is completely equivalent to however it is that things work themselves out. Calling it God's will is just a way of telling yourself, it'll be okay.
So, why not just tell yourself, "it'll be okay?" I did, every day; and I really believed it.
I don't mean to say that I was completely sanguine and cheerfully indifferent to how things worked out. No, not in the least. I desperately wanted us to move to NYC. Mainly, I wanted to be near my church: I want to be able to be involved more, help out more, be able to just hang out more, with these people who really are a family. I also wanted to be close enough to PTS that if I need to I can take a train and meet with profs who might otherwise conclude (reasonably) that I've fallen off the face of the earth. I want Brent to be where he wants to be and enjoy this year of Anglican Studies as much as he can. I want to live in a place that--despite being only an hour and a half from, and making weekly trips to for years now--I barely have gotten a glimpse of. I really, really wanted it. And now that I've gotten what I wanted, do I get to call that God's Providence for me? Does God's Providence=providing what I really, really want? Would a move to DC instead mean that God decided not to Provide this time around? Would I have to be mad at God for a year, and hope God performs a little better on the next test when we move again?
So while I'll happily call it providential that we're moving to NYC and Brent will be at GTS, I don't mean that God wanted us in NYC. I wanted us in NYC. God's providence for us is not located in NYC; God's providence in our crazy ride is located in the incredible way half a dozen people (or more!) came together to do their very best--which was very, very good indeed--to make possible what they discerned would be best for Brent and for me and for Clare. That's God working in the world in the only visible way I ever see it. And if it were the case that those same people had done the exact same things and yet we still couldn't move to NYC, it would still be God's providence: people acting selflessly to provide for us because they believe it is what God would want them to do.

Monday, May 28, 2007

on the nature of the gods

Has anyone else been suspecting all along that the Cylons are the human's gods?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

wish it were a silly dream

Yesterday morning, bringing Clare from the bedroom out to the futon to nurse her (as is the routine), I stepped in cat vomit.

It really is puffy like a sponge.

Monday, May 21, 2007

a sudden reversal of fortune

Oh, Unspeakables! Dirty ears! Hangnails! Snel-frockey! Spit! WE AREN'T GOING!

So fumed Podkayne of Mars, in the lovely sort of creative euphemism so often employed by RAH in his YA novels from the 1950-60's. Because, of course, nice little girls and boys don't swear. Not that this blog suffers from that kind of senseless taboo, but I can never resist a literary allusion.

Well, it seems that through a dreadful misunderstanding--akin in kind and disruptiveness to the clerical error which begat Podkayne's fury, though it does not involve the accidental decanting of frozen embryos--we may not be moving to NYC after all. It is of course ultimately a matter of money. Unfortunately, imaginary money doesn't have the same cash value in the real world as real money does, so finding out that a big chunk of one's financial aid ought to have an italicized i written next to the $$ amount is really a staggering discovery. I'm at a loss to explain how it is that funding offered as if it were really there, only not, is actually financial "aid."

[Disclaimer: the above is my ranting, not Brent's. He's a lot nicer person than I am in almost every respect.]

Unless thousands of dollars suddenly drop from the sky, NYC is out of reach. There's a limit to how amazingly miserly even I can be with a weekly grocery list.

So it seems we are once again in Limbo. GTS does seem to really want Brent, and we are now waiting to see what else they might could do. I'm not holding my breath, frankly, but there's nothing to do but wait and see.

Limbo sucked the first time around. A second helping is ever more dreary. Ambiguity tolerance! is my battle cry. (Spoken from the diaphragm like any true superhero.)


Is it really truth if it's not in love?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

rude baby

There's a new link to the right because I have decided it's time for Clare to have her own blog, mainly as an outlet for shameless indulgence of maternal pride and WAY too many pictures. Right now if you click on it, it will say that you need an invitation to view it since it is a private blog. If you're interested in looking at endless pics of someone else's kid (and really, how many people truly are?) feel free to send me an email to let me know you want an invite.

we did it!

Yay! Despite the best efforts of NJ Transit to thwart our mission, Clare and I rendezvoused with Casey et al. (unnamed people, if you want to be associated by name with this blog do let me know, I am protecting you not snubbing you) at the 59th St./5th Ave. entrance to Central Park, a bit late but with no major trouble. And off we went! Clare did not unfortunately perfect her new skill well enough to walk on her own (although she was sporting a brand new pair of shoes in honor of her new accomplishment). But between the stroller and the sling and many people willing to push and/or carry my heavy, heavy girl, we had no problem at all.

Here are some pics Casey took for me and hopefully Nate will send me the pics from his camera so I can post them too.

Best of all was the knowledge that Clare made 200% of her fundraising goal thanks to ONE awesome donor! HTB, you are a little girl's hero.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hi everyone,

Clare and I didn't make it to the MS walk a few weeks back, and I don't think many of you made it over to the donation page for CCfB's team either. Shame on all of us, really.

So here's a chance to redeem ourselves. Clare and I have signed up as part of CCfB's team for the AIDS Walk, which is this coming Sunday, May 20. Now, I'll be straight with you all: we probably won't be doing any actual walking [update: actually, we are planning on doing this and skipping church later]. First off, Clare--despite amazingly rapid progress over the last 3 days--is still a novice at the upright mobility thing. Plus, she has no shoes, which is fine at home and on grass but probably not so great on NYC sidewalks. But more of an obstacle is the fact that we really have no way of getting to NYC in time to join in the walking. But Casey assures me that we should sign up anyway, so we have. Check it out. And don't miss Clare's page.

So, look. I don't have a fundraising goal for myself. But Clare's goal is a modest $25. Don't break her teensy little innocent heart.

She consulted me on this, what her fundraising goal should be, and I figured, well, it shouldn't be more than we'd be willing to give ourselves. So we have. Just in case you were wondering. And believe me, that $25 was like the widow's two mites around here, so dig into those deep pockets, wealthy employed readers, and make Clare's day by helping her help people. Even though she can't walk.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

An epoch will come when people disclaim kinship with us as we disclaim kinship with the monkeys. -Kahlil Gibran, mystic, poet, and artist (1883-1931)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

internal affairs

When I was growing up, my dad couldn't bear to watch tampon commercials. He's not one of those habitual channel flippers, but as soon as a feminine hygiene spiel appeared, click! I don't really understand why. But Daddy, if you happen to be reading my blog, you better skip this one.

Last year, I blogged a lot about the Vagina Monologues. The felicitous combination of being involved with the production here at PTS while being pregnant caused quite a revolution in the way I experienced my body--it was sort of like a wildly positive mind/body feedback loop of feminist consciousness of self. During that time I learned about the Diva Cup from one of the other cast members. She raved about it. The rest of us were astonished that there was even a tertium quid in existence in the unsatisfactory binary world of pads v. tampons. I resolved to try it...that far distant day in the future when I would once again require such things.

Well, so I finally have. And although there's kind of a learning curve involved in using it, it's not that hard. While it does require a familiarity with one's own anatomy that pads certainly don't, at this point I consider that a plus. It's comfortable, better than tampons in that respect; it works; best of all, it is reusable: no more flushing tons of tampons into the sewage system or tossing pads in the garbage. It's simple.

The testimonials on the site are overwhelming in their gushiness. But now I get why. It really is a sort of small revolution in how we experience this natural rhythm of bodily life.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

secret identities

I've always loved having a secret identity.

In high school I loved moving between non-overlapping social circles--starting fullback on the soccer team one day, dark and brooding poetic genius the next (yeah, right...well, our self-image is always a bit off in high school, eh?) In college, I loved being a typical Harding student...while never attending a single devo that I can remember, and never joined a social club. When I was in Oregon, I loved being a Southerner from Tennessee--I played up the accent, called everyone hon, said y'all at every opportunity. Doing my M.A. at ACU, I loved waiting tables at Cypress Street, knowing that even though I was performing a thankless task for an unpredictable boss and a mostly snobbish clientele, I was in reality a super-smart theology student; I could serve tea and coffee, do a tableside flambe dessert of Bananas Foster, all the while contemplating how I would add to the accumulated wisdom of Christian tradition another definitive non-answer to the problem of evil. In China--well, who needs a secret identity there; being an American provides you with enough celebrity mystique to drive you nuts.

Here, I am super-mom by day, academic by night; and somehow--though not enough gets done on either front--being one makes being the other so much more satisfying.