May 16, 2013

The Bible - Part V

I’m finally in the New Testament! Yay! I’ve been rather tardy in blogging, so we’ll be covering the Gospels and Acts.

The Gospels cover the life of Jesus four times. You hear from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and get more or less the same stories each time. Just like any other happening, you get slightly different points of view and a few different stories here and there. While I was familiar with the overall story, this was my first time reading it all, and I greatly enjoyed it.

It’s sort of funny how some of the parables like the seeds that fall on fertile ground or rock are so familiar and seem so obvious to us, but at the time not even the disciples really understood what Jesus was saying. That particular story is a good example because the disciples went up to him afterward and asked, “What the heck were you talking about?” Jesus does explain it to them, but sometimes I feel like he’s also a little impatient with them. To us, it makes the disciples sometimes seem foolish because it seems obvious, but at the time it was so new that it’s no surprise that the disciples wondered why Jesus was talking about farming.

Actually, I kind of got the impression that there were a lot of times that Jesus got frustrated. I wonder what it was like to have all that knowledge and power, spend all your time trying to enlighten people, and then have those same people come up and ask what seem like the dumbest questions. It probably was frustrating on some level. After all, he only had limited time and he was trying to pack in as much teaching as possible. I’m sure there were some times he just wanted to say, “Listen, trust me. I know what I’m talking about.”

Acts is entirely new ground for me. I enjoyed learning how Paul went out and spread the word all around the Mediterranean, but it also saddened me by how little has changed in human spirit from then to now. Paul was doing a good thing. He was teaching about love and forgiveness. He wasn’t discriminating, but trying to teach anyone who would listen. Yet, the powerful Jews, who stood to lose power and prestige if this new church prospered, tried to have him killed. They were so threatened at the thought of losing their position they wanted to kill him for spreading love. Love! How insane does that sound?

Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed for the very same thing. What’s equality if not loving one’s neighbor? Power is so corrupting that even when the “subversive” message being preached is one of love, it threatens us. And you can extend that perceived “threat” to so many other topics.

It leads me to hope that one day we can truly embrace those principles of love and forgiveness. The world would certainly be a better place for it.

May 7, 2013

When I Grow Up

As I mop the spit up from my shoulder for the seventh time today and discover with a horrified sniff that I do, in fact, smell of sour milk, I wonder how I came to be in this place. I was probably not a normal kid. I used to dream of owning my own robotics firm with an in-house day care for the daughter I wanted to have.

I went so far as to major in Physics in college and make a good effort to look at electrical engineering graduate programs for robotics. It tipped off an early-20s existential crisis that ended with me in a science journalism masters program. I have never worked as a full time science journalist in any sense.

Most days I don’t have time to contemplate how my dreams changed from high-powered business owner to mom. I carry my son and chase my daughter, clean messes, and make dinner. I’ve moved with my military husband all over the country, which in itself would be enough to foil my childhood dream. Moment to moment, I’m happy.

The niggling little problem is when I talk to friends and family I haven’t seen in a while, and they ask a question that I’m coming to half-dread, “So, what’s new?” I can tell them about my husband’s job. (He’s loving being home with me and kids; not really digging office life.) I can tell them about my daughter’s days in preschool. (She can write her name!) I can tell them the new baby tricks J is mastering. (If he could lift his head up, he’d be crawling. Until then, he’s bulldozing.) But I honestly have nothing to say for myself. There is nothing new, and certainly nothing exciting.

Like so many moms, I struggle. I like being at home to see J grin at me when he wakes from his nap. I like, most of the time, to listen to H sing to her tiny princess figurines at one of their endless weddings. I know deep in my heart that I’d be unhappy if they were at day care. I know from experience that life in cube-land would not fulfill me. But none of that is an answer to what I’m going to do with two degrees that cost as much as a small house.

Part of my mid-mom crisis was to start this blog. And all 50 or so of my steadfast readers have certainly helped provide me with an outlet. But, despite harboring secret dreams of writer-dom, I know I am good, but with only moments of greatness. I continue to contemplate an Etsy shop for crocheted baby gear. It’ll probably never happen because I’m not actually an entrepreneur. (Yet another good reason for not opening that robotics firm.)

What I am passionate about is childbirth. I would like dearly to go to nursing school and become a midwife. Until we’re in a position where Josh is done flying and the kids are more self-sufficient, that isn’t going to happen. And I don’t really know where that leaves me.

Good bloggers have a goal they’re taking you to. There should be a cathartic summation that ties it together and leaves you feeling complete. I don’t have one for you today. I leave you instead with a question—how do you tell yourself that you’re doing one of the greatest, most important jobs on Earth on those days where it only seems like you’re marking time?

May 1, 2013

Traveling Together

It was my anniversary on Monday. I had been planning on a funny/ironic “marriage by the numbers” post. For example, we’ve only spent three of our six anniversaries together. Or we’ve actually been a couple for almost 15 years. But then there was this number: four. As in the four states we drove across with a three-year-old and a five-month-old on our anniversary.

When you’re an Air Force family, most of your “vacation” time is spent visiting family. It’s not always strictly vacation. A lot of times you end up drying dishes, cleaning things, and sometimes helping your father-in-law reseat wrought iron railings. It’s not terribly glamorous. When that family is 14 hours away, it’s even less glamorous.

Pretty quickly you’re faced with a choice to overcome the lack of glamour and the incredibly long car trip and spend time with that family so your kids know where they came from or stay home. Josh and I both come from families who felt it was more important to connect with our roots, so it’s no surprise that we packed the kids into the car and drove a total of 16 hours straight through the long night and the 80 minutes of continuous baby wailing and the toddler tantrums. And as it turned out, we faced one more choice of spending an extra day in West Virginia with Josh’s 93-year-old grandmother and driving home on our anniversary. It might not be the choice that everyone one would make, especially not when you’ve spent so few of your previous anniversaries together.

Another thing you learn as an Air Force family is that the fact of being together is more important than where you are or when you are. When we found out that Josh would be deployed for our first anniversary, he took me to a five-star restaurant—one where men have to wear a coat or they won’t seat you—before he left. On our second anniversary when we were together, I asked him to take my gigantically pregnant self to Friendly’s for a sundae.

I hate that we’ve had so much time apart over the years of our relationship—five years of long distance, four deployments, a six month training, almost countless trips and trainings. But the silver lining to all of that is that I’ve learned that dates are not sacred. For it to be our anniversary, we don’t have to be at a five-star restaurant (though it’s nice). We don’t even have to be together physically (though that’s nice too). We just have to be together in our hearts. Because of that, it’s almost no big deal if we “celebrate” or not.

All of that to say that getting all of us home across those four states after ten days of traveling to visit family felt like an accomplishment. Not just the accomplishment of a day, but one of six years of taking it a day at a time, overcoming so many obstacles—some of them heart rending, laughing when we wanted to cry, laughing so hard we did cry, and coming out stronger and stronger because of it.

There are lots of nice things that I can say about my husband. But the compliment I want to pay him right now is that even after all those miles, I’d get back in the car with him and our children any day—no matter how many states we have to cross.

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