i have a bunch of thoughts, and i'm not sure i have the talent or patience to organize them. so here goes.
last night i finished reading the brothers k. it took well over a month of pretty consistent reading, and i cried my way through the final seventy-five pages or so (which reminds me of harry potter and the half-blood prince...anyway). after 600+ pages of family tensions and arguments and divisiveness, the book ends with hope and love. what brings the family together again is the death of a loved one. anytime i read about death, my mind unwillingly creates scenarios of my own loved ones dying and the realization that it will happen. this kind of melancholy is pretty common for me late at night when it's dark and i'm the only one awake. hence the overabundance of tears. (whoever said women are like spaghetti, where events and emotions from all parts of life are connected...well, they're right. at least about me.)
after finishing the book around 11:30 and mopping up my face, i realized i had been overhearing an argument from our neighbor's apartment. i initially wrote it off as conversation, but soon figured out that it was much more heated than that. confession: sometimes i can't help eavesdropping. in fact, i walked into the spare room and listened to the argument through the open window. only for a few minutes. i'm not sure why i do it. i guess it's like watching a car accident, or a movie. i'm fascinated by other people's lives, especially when they're so different from mine. this woman was on the phone with her boyfriend, yelling and swearing and accusing him of cheating, telling him she didn't want to talk, she just wanted sex, etc. after a few minutes, i didn't want to listen anymore. i felt overwhelmed by the sadness of the world. (what i really wanted to do was wake philip up and tell him how grateful i was for him, but i think he was glad i waited until this morning for that...)
back up to sunday morning's sermon, entitled "the ideal marriage." i love how tom takes scriptures that i have heard misused (and usually haven't realized have been misused) and shares the cultural context. this particular text was mark 10: 1-12--Jesus' perspective on divorce. this is a passage i've heard used against divorce, and of course divorce isn't in God's ideal plan. however, i can't reconcile this with the people i know who have been through divorce. it's painful and messy and it sucks.
tom shared the political and religious background of this text. the pharisees are testing Jesus because of herod and herodias. they had divorced their first spouses in order to marry each other. john the baptist was beheaded for condemning this, and the pharisees hoped Jesus was next. the pharisees' approach to the question is "what can i get away with?" while Jesus' approach is "what is God's intent?"
this blows my mind. Jesus takes the pharisees' narrow, negative, and legalistic view and turns it upside down, revealing God's grace and his love for his children. the question tom asked is "what do God's commands reveal about his heart?" God's desire for us and our marriages is to live out the great commandment of loving my neighbor, and who fits the definition of "neighbor" better than my spouse?
marriage is tough. it requires sacrifice and love and giving above all else. i've sporadically prayed for my own and others' marriages, but i'm going to pray more diligently for them. tom pointed out that the best support we have for marriage is prayer and the example of other long-married couples. i think i too easily take for granted couples who have been married a long time. but after hearing our neighbor's argument last night, i realize that lasting relationships and marriages are precious.
so i think you should go hug your husband or wife if you have one, and pray for marriages of people you love.
one of al's pictures from somewhere in montana (probably). love that big midwestern sky.
as i wrote on the family blog, we ordered a new camera (a nikon coolpix l120) that was supposed to arrive by tomorrow. we changed the shipping address to rod & vonnie's since we'll be leaving tomorrow to head down to ripon. then i found out the item is backordered. seriously? they couldn't say that on the website?
annoyed. and impatient. and my instinct is to cancel the order and go out and buy the camera immediately from a store. well, we got a really good deal on our camera online (no tax + free shipping) AND we're getting a memory card, mini-tripod, and camera case. this all was still cheaper than buying the camera only from a store. oh, and apparently this is a very popular model--no stores in bellingham have it in stock right now.
anyway, i calmed my little 6-year-old-self down and decided to be patient and get our great deal. i was mainly upset because we've been essentially camera-less since about january, and based on my reaction here, i've missed it. i know philip is the great photographer, but i really enjoy taking pictures. and i wanted the camera for our final summer vacation where there'd be a new nephew, a bridal shower, an anniversary party, a cabin, a boat...
sigh. ok. done with my pity party.
i'm also about ready for school to start. i've been doing battle with myself and my motivation to get things done at home. i usually get up and run around 7, and have a really productive 2ish hours. then there's the rest of the day. also, philip has been getting home from work around 11 or so most days, so we find ourselves getting bored easily and resorting to tv shows and movies (and naps and reading). it's almost harder to be productive when we're both at home. it's driving me crazy.
yesterday was a little better. we forced ourselves outside (it was a beautiful day, so theoretically that shouldn't have been too hard) and biked down to fairhaven. we got cupcakes and found out the african children's choir was performing behind village books. it was pretty cool to see!
the last inspiration of the day was cruising the internet (something else that sucks up a lot of time) and finding this recipe. Um, cheese and bread together? Yes, please! So I made them for, er, dinner. They were delicious (perhaps not too healthy, though).
wow, this is getting long.
last thing--a booklist. Here are books that I recently enjoyed or am currently enjoying:
- the undertaking: life studies from the dismal trade by thomas lynch
- the brothers k by david james duncan
- from dawn to decadence: 500 years of western cultural life by jacques burzan (this one'll take me awhile)