In a conversation with my oldest son Richard yesterday, I mentioned that today I understand why my FIL never wanted to go anywhere. Richard said he’s getting to the same place, because after you commute all week for years, all you want to do weekends is stay home. Today, while looking through one of my old journals from when I was gainfully employed, I noted that I had expressed the same sentiment in 2001.
I’m happy I kept journals although the entries are mostly about doing and not being… you know, read this book, saw this movie, with the odd mention of one of David’s automobile accidents.
For most of my life, I was doing and not being, what the philosopher Blaise Pascal called “ceaseless rounds of activity,” which we do to avoid answering to the big questions. Now that I am retired, I can take time to be, although this week I will be doing a lot of doing…..
Of course, if you belong to a religion, as I did for a very long time, you have the answers provided, as I did in the form of the Baltimore Catechism.
The first question in the catechism is ‘Why did God make you?’ The answer I had to learn before I could make my first communion was, “To know love and serve him.” That answer still works for me, however, knowing is the hard part.
I loved the Church but left it in December 1973 because I found positions on subjects like birth control and marriage left me out in the cold. While some people can remember where they were when the news of the shuttle failure or JFK’s assassination came over the wires, I can remember where I was when Humanae Vitae was announced…on a back road in Hawaii, driving home from Sunday mass. It took me five more years to leave my abusive first husband, however, eventually, I did.
The result was a tailspin or a free fall, that landed me in the Episcopal Church where I eventually met David who was as ardent in his religion as I had been in mine. Today, he is not, however, he looks forward to visits from Brother Dunstan, our Benedictine friend, with whom he discusses religious matters.
David and I left the Episcopal church when the argument between conservatives and liberals tore the church apart. David is also estranged from his youngest son who has decided to become an Anglican (ultra conservative) priest.
Meanwhile, my daughter who was sad because we left the Catholic church, has spoken with several priests about rejoining, and been discouraged each time, mostly for the same reasons I have. She and her husband have gone to the “dark” side and joined the Methodist church, Mom’s old church. (LOL).
In the interim, we have all discovered we believe in a Higher Power who is the God of your own understanding.
I was thinking about this yesterday, because I read a chapter in Lost Enlightenment, by F. S. Starr about the history of the schism in the Muslim faith, the Sunni-Shia split which occurred in the eighth century. Starr notes the animosity was so great, the problem exists today in the form of IS which is largely Sunni, arab and ultra conservative and Shia who are everything else and more tolerant of anything but Sunnis.
The “my way or the highway” attitude has never worked, as Eric Cline noted in 1177 the Year Civilization Collapsed, which occurred before the worlds “great” montheistic religions formed and began beating everyone else with a stick.
On a happier note, granddaughter Joy who graduates with a Science of Agriculture degree from Virginia Tech in mid-May sent the photos below. In her book, cows are the answer.