I Know This Is A Terrible Idea

Almost everything in me is saying, "What are you doing, Jenny.  Why are you doing this.  Don't drag yourself into this.  You don't even care.  Nobody even cares."  Not questions: full on rhetorical statements.  And yet the burr of annoyance won't go away.  Against the colossal monument of my better judgment, I'm doing this.  Let's hope it's worth your while.
"i made the mistake of assuming everyone is out here to be the best version of themselves"
I make this mistake all the time.  Disillusionment can make you angry, repeated disillusionment can make you cynical.  But I do think there are a select number of things which fallible human beings can legitimately lose their tempers over, and fundamentally cynicism is not an attitude I've yet to uncover in my studies of Jesus' walk among those fallible human beings.  I know that if anyone acutely sensed, saw, and appreciated the deep depravity of mankind, it would be him.  I also see that he did not lash out in railing judgments upon sinful civilizations, hurt and vengeful.  He came to do what all civilizations could not: fulfill the law and provide a means of redemption for man.  He came with grace and graciousness to a people who despised and rejected him.  Of course, retribution is coming for those who are damned, and that is their just punishment for turning aside from holiness.  But an offended holiness belongs to God, and until his great and terrible day, he has left us with an example of graciousness.
"charity adorns christianity, and recommends it to the world"
Looking back over (what I have of) my manuscript for Talldogs, I discovered a character who is both compassionate and unyielding.  He will be your friend, back you in your need, care for your wants both physical and immaterial in ways you do not realize, yet you never for a moment get the sense he has surrendered moral ground.  Contemplating this phenomenon, I concluded that it was because he does not entertain the fallacy that your sin will ever be charged to his account.  He is not surprised that people are sinners, nor does he think their sins are his to bear.  Only one man could do that: that has been provided for.  All this character has left to do is be holy before God and man, and all that that entails.  "There," said Paul concerning the godless wretch, "but for the grace of God, go I."  Before God and man this character is just a man, he owes allegiance to one and compassion toward the other.  All else rests in God's dominion, and his humility exempts him from shame.

For what is is worth, I was heartened to discover this example.  I am convinced it is a godly one, one worth emulating.  In whatever walk of life, in art, in the street, where those two worlds converge, a man with his feet upon the ground, his face toward the cross, and his heart full of holiness and compassion, is one who will be marked.  And in this era of the Church's marginalization in our country, isn't that what we desire?  That our voices crying in the wilderness might one day be heard?

Art & Beauty

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In case anyone anywhere was wondering, Yes, I am still alive.  I started out trying to squeeze internet time in during my daughter's naps, maybe a little while my husband was holding her.  That lasted - gee, I don't know how long that lasted.  (Does anyone say "gee" anymore, or is it just me now?)  My husband fixed up an Instagram account for me while I was sitting on the table for my last pregnancy exam, and while I got off to a slow start with it, I eventually found it to be an excellent way to share my life with my friends and avoid everything about Facebook that makes me want to claw my eyeballs out some days.  I got the Pinterest app on my phone.  I even have Facebook on there if I absolutely need it (I usually don't).  Within a short amount of time, "online" became irrelevant.

I know, right?  Don't I care about you any more?  Don't I want to keep fighting to eek out time to sit gazing vapidly at the computer's wide-screen internet instead of reading a book or playing with my baby?
you funny
This is me, adjusting to my new life.  And I absolutely do not want to make it sound as though I am compromising, because so many people casually hate on pregnancy and child-rearing, and for anyone who is interested in either, I don't want to add to that negative atmosphere.  It's not negative.  It's not easy, I'll give you that - some days it is flat out grueling, some days (let's be honest) I wake up in the morning ready to cry before the day has started because it's going to be just like the one before, and the one before was hard.  But still, you adjust, things take on or lose priority - like the internet, basically falling off the bottom of the chart, my daughter at the top.  I will admit that maintaining my identity feels hard some days, because I am 1000% taking care of my baby's needs, and even when I am drop-dead exhausted with a tension headache the weight of Christian's burden hauling down my back, I take her in my arms to make sure her needs are met, regardless of my own.

But part of the adjusting and rearrangement of priorities has been (to use that dreadful Christianese phrase) to adapt to a different season of life.  The internet has lost much of its vapid, time-consuming interest (bleh), I spend less time writing (horror of horrors), and more time reading and moving about. For whatever reason, not only does my daughter need to be on the move and mobile to be soothed (if that were only the case, I could put her in a swing), she prefers to be held in order to fall asleep.  This is very flattering, of course, but also extremely exhausting.  So I walk.  A lot.  I carry her in a wrap, and if she is not completely out when I go to sit down, she will rouse and cry.  She is here to make sure Maman never gets diabetes.

This, and nursing, gives me the opportunity to spend more time reading.  I've never been good at equally dividing my time between reading and writing: I'm always focusing on one more than the other.  Right now, I'm focusing on reading.  I finished an excellent treatise on the composition of poetry by Robert Hillyer, bought and worked halfway through My Antonia (having seen Chloe and Carmel enjoy it so much), and picked up Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages and The Name of the Rose, both by Umberto Eco.  Most of My Antonia was read on a particularly bad day: I walked almost all of it with my daughter, and read as I walked, so while I thoroughly enjoyed what I read, I rather gorged myself and have backed off, spending a little more time reading Art and Beauty.  The latter I am enjoying more than I thought I would: it is what feels like a flawless translation from the original Italian, concerning the medieval view of aesthetics.  Sounds dull?  It's not.  It is a book which beautifully answers for so many of my readers why my novel Plenilune is so rich and lavishly coloured.  I picked up The Name of the Rose (a fiction by Eco) because I was eager to read more of this author, and I feel that once I have finished Art and Beauty, it will shed more light of understanding on the uniquely styled novel of The Name of the Rose.  Hand in hand with that, even though I will not grasp all of the author's deep intentions in his monastic mystery, I am thrilled to discover another writer who is not afraid to bring all his (to the outside reader) eclectic, didactic prose to bear on his story and not cater to the public's mainstream tastes.

It may not make us popular, but at least we feel we have something worth sharing.