Thursday, October 29, 2009

The October "Blah's"

This week I’m reminded of something Bilbo Baggins once told his nephew Frodo—that he felt “like a pat of butter spread over too much bread.” That’s a good description of how I feel right now.

I don’t have too much to write about this week. Between working overtime and then spending four plus hours in the car every day, I haven’t had time for much else. Leave when it’s dark, get home when it’s dark, make dinner (unless Daniel got home before me and already made it), eat dinner, make lunch for the next day, shower, and bed. We canceled our satellite service last week to save money, and since we don’t have much time for television anyway, so we watched a couple of our favorites online this week. It is actually working out pretty well, except for the occasional skipping/buffering of the video.

On Wednesday I wasn’t feeling well, so I stayed home from work and slept in very late—I didn’t get out of bed until 12:30! It was amazing. Then when I got up, I actually got to see the mid-week, mid-day sunshine sparkling on our pond. In any event, I really needed that day off. I don’t mean to sound so depressing—in fact, there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Right around Thanksgiving, I am dropping down to a part-time position and will get to spend about five times fewer hours away from home than I do now. I can’t wait. In the meantime, I am spending my drive time listening to Jane Austen novels. The way I see it, traffic always makes me angry, but Jane Austen always makes me happy. They should even each other out, right? I think it’s been achieving its purpose, at least as much as it is able.

Daniel’s internship situation, which I believe I mentioned wasn’t so good a few weeks ago, has improved considerably. Many thanks to those of you who said a prayer for him. The problems have cleared up and he is now able to spend much more time at home, and only has to make the drive to school once or twice a week, which means he is usually home before me to get dinner made/started. I must say, it is so nice to be able to come home to my husband every night. He’s my daily “light at the end of the tunnel,” and these days I really need that.

Although you may scoff at this after reading today’s entry, in general my weekly blogging catches me in a fairly good mood, with the weekend so near. Have a good one, everyone, and a blessed Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day!

Friday, October 23, 2009


I’ve never lived alone. But for the first time, Daniel and I now live “alone” together.

Last Saturday we helped our good friend and roommate Caroline move into her new apartment, and were left with an empty and echoey (not quite sure how to spell that one since it’s not a real word) extra bedroom. Although the acoustics are wonderful (I put on a concert for myself while sweeping the floor), we need to get a carpet for that room stat. The echo is a little depressing.

Caroline lived with me for the ten months between purchasing the house and my wedding, and she has continued to live with Daniel and me since then, until now. The time has finally come. On the one hand, Daniel and I were admittedly looking forward to having our house completely to ourselves, in large part dreaming about the extra storage space so that our own overflowing “walk in” closet could be rescued.

In the past five months, a lot of people have given Caroline a hard time for “living with newlyweds.” “When are you moving?” they would all ask. I didn’t like that so much—after all, she had her own room with her own bathroom, and usually went home to her parents’ house on the weekends. Can we really have been that bad to live with, just because we were “newlyweds?” Yes, it was nice having a little bit of extra income with which to pay down debt, but mostly it was just nice having her around. We need to be moving on with our lives, which means that eventually we will need a second bedroom, but for now the door is closed (with the vent closed, too, to save on heating). It’s too sad to see the room empty.

It’s also sad not having my awesome carpool buddy for my long commute any more, since Caroline moved much, much closer to our place of work than I am. She already knows that I am rather jealous of the extra few hours she has in her day as a result.

In any event, Caroline’s move in a way marked a final transition into married life for Daniel and me. We now live alone together as husband and wife, our own family unit. And although we both miss Caroline, we like that. It will just take a little bit of getting used to, not a lot… we already filled her closet!

Luckily, I still get to see Caroline at work every day.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Husband the Gentleman

Even before I knew it by name, I have always believed chivalry to be very important. When I was a teenager, it was on my list of characteristics and qualities that I found particularly appealing in boys. This might sound crazy to you but yes, I really did have this list, and I really did go over it with a pencil and check it off whenever a cute new boy caught my attention. This list included everything from “is Catholic,” “has a relationship with God,” “likes kids,” and “my parents like him;” to “is taller than me” (I’m almost 5’9”), “makes me laugh,” “respects me,” and “has pretty eyes.” Seriously. And “is chivalrous” was close to the top of the list.

Clearly I had my eye out for chivalry for a while. When I met Daniel and we began dating five years ago, one of the first things that attracted me to him was that he was an almost perfect gentleman. I say “almost” because no one is perfect—but I happen to think my Daniel is pretty darn close.

When Daniel was with me, I never found myself opening a car door or any other door. If his arms were empty, mine immediately were cleared of whatever they were carrying (except for my purse, of course—he wouldn’t carry that). If he saw me shiver, he would give me his coat to wear over my own. Usually I wouldn’t let him though.

As the years went by, none of these chivalrous habits disappeared. Daniel wasn’t trying to impress me during our “courtship” phase. He’s just a gentleman, pure and simple. And I love it!

Now that we’re married, there’s an even more meaningful way that Daniel has been able to be a gentleman for me. In my experience with Natural Family Planning, I can tell you that I feel so respected and well cared-for by my husband in a very big way. He would never treat my healthy body, working perfectly as God designed it, as though it was diseased and in need of being “fixed” so as to be more readily available at all times for his own use.

Nor would he encourage me to put my health at risk. Millions (I’m guessing here) of dollars are spent every year by people who are prescribed pills that will help keep a less than healthy organ/system working properly. Something is not quite right when others, or perhaps even some of the very same people, are spending millions (also a guess) on a daily pill that is intended to prevent a healthy organ/system from working properly. Contraception is not the way to go. And I have a wonderful, chivalrous gentleman who knows that.

I should have written about this during Natural Family Planning Awareness Week but better late than never!

This pretty much sums up what I’m getting at here: One day over the summer, Daniel said to me, “I’m really glad that we don’t use birth control. I feel like that would really cause me to see you as more of an object, and you don’t deserve that.”

That is my “knight in shining armor;” I’m so glad I put chivalry on my list!

Friday, October 9, 2009

More on Love

I heard a homily this week that used the old James Dean film, Rebel without a Cause, which I have never seen, to illustrate that without God in one’s worldview, one’s life has no real meaning. In fact, in a world without God, there would be no purpose for anything at all.

Not too long ago, in the course of a conversation on this subject with a friend, Daniel once said something along the lines of: “I found out that I couldn’t really love Sarah unless I loved God first.” The response he received was, “But let’s just say that somehow you found out tomorrow with 100% certainty that God did not exist. Wouldn’t you still love Sarah?”

Tough question, with a short answer: “No.” But obviously, a short answer wasn’t going to cut it. My wonderful husband (although this was before he was my husband) went on to explain in the best way he could that if there was a way that God could be proved nonexistent beyond any shadow of doubt, loving me would not mean anything. It wouldn’t even be possible, because real love always comes from the God who is Love.

If true love between a husband and wife in this life is necessarily tied into eternal life with our Creator, as St. John Chrysostom suggests in the quote I used last week, then what purpose would love have in a godless world? “For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us…”

The question remains: Can you truly love someone if you don’t believe in God? I don’t think you can. Like I said, tough question. And a difficult answer to stomach, even for a believer. But God gives meaning to this life, and this life is all about relationship, with Him and with others in the world around us. I believe that.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

That's Love

Does anyone else find it really upsetting when you hear that the artist who sings one of your favorite, most genuine-sounding love songs has broken up with their boyfriend/girlfriend or separated from their husband/wife?

When Chuck Wicks released his song “Stealing Cinderella” and I heard it for the first time on country radio in 2007, I cried. This isn’t extremely unusual, since songs make me cry pretty often, especially if I’m driving in the car by myself. But it was a beautiful song that told a beautiful true story about a man asking his girlfriend’s father for her hand in marriage. At least, the radio announcers all said it was a true story.

The next thing I knew, later that year or maybe the next, I heard that Chuck and his fiancĂ©e had broken up. Luckily, they weren’t married yet (there are plenty of singer/songwriters whose beautiful love songs still on the air were written about ex-spouses). I’m sure that the ends of these relationships are all very sad stories, but still… it causes their old “love songs” not to ring quite so true. It’s sad. These songs tell all about “true love,” but the love didn’t last. What’s wrong with all this? What is love, really, if all these people thought they had it and then it ended?

Here is why I love the Church.

The Catechism gives us this:

“St. John Chrysostom suggests that young husbands should say to their wives: I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us… I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.” (CCC 2365)

That’s love. And doesn’t it sound a little bit like something Jesus might say to each one of us, perhaps from the cross?

Just a thought… and something to strive for in each of our marriages, now or in the future. Someone should put that in a love song. I’d bawl my eyes out.