Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Happy Prospect of Things

Dust yesterday.
The apocalypse of swirling dirt that filled my eyes, my lungs, my house. Without a car, I walked to to church and back with kids for something of an outing and found the wind had whipped my tresses into unyielding knots all over my head.

Snow today.
The dregs of winter pressing into my spring, leaving a single water droplet on every unopened blossom of the trees in my back garden. Oh that winter will not press so far upon us that those blossoms that would be pears, apples, and plums, will freeze in the womb of each water droplet, leaving us a fruitless summer. My August MUST drip with pear juice, the last delicacy before I bear another child.

In the snow....and in shorts, the postman brought me a passport this morning. In ten years a passport has taken me no further than England. I get on planes and fly back and forth over the vast, dark Atlantic, perfectly content with the thought that every time my passport is stamped it is on English soil. I know there are other treasures of this planet, but I feel so.....magic-wanded to have been given England, even if I am given no other geographic gifts before I die.

So I am a woman with passport in the pocket and babe in the belly - pregnant with possibility.

It is a happy future, so long as spring can hold on to its Fahrenheit tonight.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Here's Hoping

I don't often solicit prayers, in my behalf, from my children. Every once in a while, after I have spoken in not-so-kind ways to them, I fall into a heap of tears and say "Let's say a prayer so Mom can be nicer." I will say a "please help me be patient and kind" sort of prayer. And Jonah will appeal the heavens, specifically The Father of the Heavens, for his Mom "to be a lot nicer, and more calm, and to forgive everyone." I cherish these pleadings for my better self to be revealed. And I believe that, just like I found the very lost book after I prayed for such a discovery, I will someday meet this better self.

I will look in the mirror, and she will be very nearly identical to me.
"Hello, better self."
"Goodbye, lesser self."
And I will bid her adieu with prayed for patience and kindness.

But Jonah's prayers have leant themselves in supplication for other good souls of late. Our little three-year-old friend, Lorelei wasn't feeling well enough to join our pre-school car pool about two weeks ago. She has been several times since, in obvious improved health, but Jonah continues to pray for her to get better every night. Having suffered the ill effects of a nasty cold since Monday, I sheepishly told Jo he was welcome to pray for me to get better after he finished praying for our healthy friend, Lorelei.

"Oh, just a second. I'll say a little one. I'm not finished."

Responding dutifully, yet lovingly to my solicitation he prayed that I would "feel better", and that I would "survive the night."

Which, has this odd way of making me feel that, beyond this pesky cold, something lurks, either within my frail body, or just outside my not-nearly-secure-enough-home that could potentially threaten my ability to "survive the night."
Silly.....I'm sure.....I think.....
But I welcome the dawn's early light as evidence of his answered prayer.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Hope to Reconcile With Grape Juice and 7-Up

I had a dream. I have heard it is a tedious thing to have dreams recounted with the expectation they might somehow entertain a person who was not in my head to get the full effect of the unreality-bizarreness of it.

I will share it anyway.

First - this disclaimer - I do not drink beer.

The dream is this:
I am apparently a university student living in a dorm/apartment with two women from my current ward; my relief society president (RSP) who is just a few years younger than me, and my newly called girls camp director who is just a few years older than me.
We are going to paper plates...on the a bedroom.

RSP brings her food in and realizes she has nothing to drink. NOTHING. A moment later, after an apparent desperate search of the apartment she comes in with one of those tall cans of Miller Light. As it turns out, I had nothing to drink either. NOTHING. So, when she abandoned a third of her can of Miller Light on the floor and went off to do other post eating things I apparently decided my thirst merited quenching with the dregs of her beer.

I drank. Deeply.

The rest of the dream is me spitting ceaselessly into a garden-size garbage can in someone's garage.

End of dream.

My experience with alcohol is limited, which is to say, I have never tasted any, in all its spectrum of backwoods-toothless-moonshine, to swirl-in-the-goblet-utter-gentility. I've smelled it, I cook with it, but never put it to the lip.

I went to a party once in Boston during my nanny days when a few young fellows insisted relentlessly that I accept the beer they were so generously offering me. After similarly relentless refusals on my part I decided to get them off my back.
University students are poor. Especially students who bring their families into multigenerational debt to attend Boston University. Supplying beer for a Friday night party is no small sacrifice.

I finally accepted the can of beer. In one motion I took the can, stuck my hand out the open window and slowly poured the entire contents down the maze of mortar between the exterior bricks of their brownstone apartment building. No one ever offered me a beer again. They didn't fancy watching their liquid gold end up on the sidewalk without ingesting it first and heaving it up later.

So why was I drinking beer in my dream?

I think it had to do with two things.
One: I drank my own version of "mixed drink" before bed that night. Matt and I both had a tall glass of grape juice and 7-Up.
Two: This is normally a favorite of mine, but I drank it on a pregnant stomach, and... I didn't puke, but my olfactory everything gets really worked over when I'm pregnant. So, what is normally a treat left me with a taste in my mouth so terrible that my brain could only process it by equating it with what I consider one of the worst smells I can

This leaves the question of why my head chose my dear friend and Relief Society President as the source of the beer. Better left un-pondered, I'm sure. She is above reproach, and I will happily leave her there.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

If Monica Had Not Prayed........What Then?


We read.

Such is the education of one Jonah.

Among other scintillating texts this day we read from Trial and Triumph by Richard M. Hannula.

"Monica and Augustine, Christian Mother and Son."

Monica the faithful mother, Augustine the wayward son.

She prays.

He scoffs.

She prays.

He sows iniquity.

She loves.

He gets older.

She waits.

He is enlightened.

She holds her tongue.

He speaks with God.

Monica is mother.

Augustine is son.

They are brother and sister in Christ.

Repentance - the sanguinary made alabaster. Here is a fellow from some year in the fourth century after the birth of Christ. His heart was softened and his ears opened, and in an instant he was changed. No, not "was changed", as though change came at him like a bird. Change came rising up from the center of him - the very core of Augustine woven with the core of the Saviour.

Repentance = Change

This is a concept Jonah is familiar with. Not because he has had such dire need of it in his seven years, but because his Father has made sure he knows that one is the other. And because he has no end to canonical appetite. He has read of more than one sinner's path to repentance...commitment to change.

So he was taken with Augustine. Quite natural. To be expected.

We read on to discover that Augustine devoted his life to God, and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ (such as he knew it). He even wrote a cautionary tale of sorts - St. Augustine's Confessions. You may have heard of it.

I may have heard of it too. In fact a Penguin's Classics, paperback copy of it sits on my shelf from the days of yore when I studied at University and read things meant to enlighten my Christian mind. The scholars would have me take an Augustine's Confessions and balance it in the other hand with something like a Friedrich Nietzsce's Untimely Meditations. Lest we students stray too far from secularism.

I brought the book out to show Jonah. I had him read the title, then read the sentence in the story that told of Augustine writing this book.

Jonah held the book up.

"He wrote this book? This very one? How did you get this? How did we have it already? Does Dad know we have this? We Have to read this, Mom. Dad is going to be so excited. I can't believe we have this book."

And we St. Augustine's Confessions....someday. Probably not in first grade. But I'll find something in there to whet his little excitable appetite. Something to hold him over until he has had enough of the English language that fourth century translation from....Latin?...won't hurt his ears. Something to reinforce his father's declaration that repentance is change. And we can all change.


Books are beautiful.

I imagine the illustrations for such a claim will mount up, ever higher as my days on this earth pass.

I hope to take note.

And appreciate.