Putting the “novel” on hold while we hunker down for a happy sentimental week, and by hunker I mean frantically clean and search for bedding as we are ground zero this yero, and eldest is home from the Rock today and grand-parents are imminent. Even the youngest had to find his floor.
That said, I think it is a lovely time to get back to our two terrifying children, ignorance and want
because I am a confused person who wouldn’t give money to a World Vision outreach thingee at the Newfoundland airport, even though it seemed very well-meaning on first glance, because they are an overtly Christian charity.
I got into a discussion with a very nice young lady who started out all wrong by saying she understood where I was coming from because she had thought the same thing too … and she was maybe 19. I had great discussions with a passionate niece when she was about the same age, and she actually told me, a mother of three children at the time [I hesitate to put it in quotation marks, because I will have it slightly wrong, but there was a witness, the father of all those three children] that “I needed to take control of my own clitoris”. In fairness, I think I was taunting youth by discussing starting a “Take Back the Rainbow” campaign to remove the growing association between rainbows and homosexuality. And I have managed to raise those three children and have had some very interesting discussions with them too. I think there is a very natural tendency to be extremely socialist inclined when you are young and have no resources, and to be a little more of a capitalist once you are the one with the capital.
And it was one of those discussions where youth was strong in its arguments that has lent backbone to my being uncharitable because of my atheism, but not of course with any consistency. I do find missionary religions creepy in the extreme and am often the first to cry cult when anyone comes through the door with a robe and a book, but close to home I am much more open to the wonderful effects of charity, no matter which religion spawned it. But why should religion spawn charity? And can one move past supernatural superstitious religions and find charity from within? And how to satisfy ignorance when everyone has an axe to grind, but satisfying only want is insufficient?
Ha! You thought I was going to answer those questions, but no … my only answer really is that charity should start close to home. Don’t go saving the distant world by pretending to buy a goat somewhere … look around and see who is feeding the hungry in your neighbourhood … dang but it often all comes back to Dr. Stephen Covey and his 7 irritatingly effective habits. Own of his most effective visual metaphors is the circle of concern versus the circle of influence
People have used this in many ways, and I think my favourite is to think of the circle of influence being the one where you make choices [and we make many more choices than we realise once we start imaging things in terms of a re-action where we choose how to respond and don’t get to say “I have to” nearly as much as “I am choosing to”] and the circle of concern being the one where you can’t make choices but still worry. And when you let your circle of concern swamp your circle of influence you drown in panic. Trust me …
The reason Dr. Covey is so loathsome of course is that he is right. You can slowly rebuild your circle of influence one choice at a time. I don’t mean this in a monster way like that fellow who used to tell you late at night that you could be just as rich as him, just day-to-day proving that it actually might be possible to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, as my parents used to recommend. I am not sure how old I was when I realised that this was technically impossible … but it was too late, the proof was in the pudding and for once theory met practice and whacked it down. 1 for ∞.
But back to those two children, lets just hope that what we are feeding the boy is truly nourishing, and not secretly divisive. I love Christmas [or better, Xmas, if you get my drift like the snow storm said to the highway] but because of the reminder to be loving and to be lovely.
Perhaps we might start calling it Saturnalia again, after all, we still name a day after Saturn, which is 1 out of 7, where as Christ only gets 1 out of 365, and he even had to borrow his from Saturn, who so graciously stepped aside for the renaming of the winter feast. Or at least I hope it was gracious and there isn’t going to be some WFW matchup with Saturn in red in one corner and Jesus in white in the other.
But today is most definitely Saturn’s day and I hope you can make the best of, unless of course you have made better plans!