Monday, August 23, 2010

bits of things

Today, my colleague went into labor (a week early, with her first - which is a good thing, as I understand it. I've been saying "as I understand it" a lot today). I was shocked to found that I was a bit excited to hear that the baby was coming. It's a huge change in her life, and she's been really exhausted and uncomfortable the last several weeks. (She even sent several of us an email from the hospital. Funny girl.)

Another colleague (not in my immediate office), who spearheaded the baby shower planning in which I participated, and who had her first about a year ago, sent an electronic invitation for us all to visit the hospital (very near the office) tomorrow at lunch. I thought carefully about whether I should go. I ultimately realized that dealing with several women going on about her labor was not going to work well, though I might be able to deal with her solo. But it's been a long time since I've visited a new mother in the hospital...before I was married, I think.

Anyway, I went into the other colleague's office to let her know why I hadn't responded. She'd been driving me a little nuts with the "if you have kids" stuff. So I said, "Here's the deal. I can't have kids. So I try to figure out what I can do graciously, as a mental health matter. I think dealing with several people at once might not work." And she said - "I'M SORRY." And asked me whether I had thought about adoption (not "you should just adopt"), and I said we were thinking about it, but weren't sure it was for us. And she didn't argue. And she asked whether there was any chance at all (I get told sometimes that I'm young so there is a chance, but I've never been asked that). I dropped a lot of information on her. I always say that only one thing is required: "I'm sorry." And that's what she said. God bless her.

The senile old bats who are selling (or not selling, as the case may be) the house I want to buy are still being ridiculous - or, perhaps, are becoming more ridiculous. Their ad has now been modified very slightly, to note that "sellers are firm on price." Yeah...they were firm about it for 18 months while it was on the market before, too, when it was likewise priced above market value. See how that worked out for them. I think I may be about to settle in for a long (or short) wait for them to die. Not how I intended to acquire real estate, but life is full of surprises.

I have not been specially good about my daily Scripture reading, but I've done a bit...the other night I was reading one of the minor prophets and the passage was about the Israelites' 40 years in the desert, wandering. They were and are repeatedly rebuked for having forgotten God's miracles (almost two generations ago by the end of their wandering) parting the Red Sea and saving them from the Egyptians. As they wandered, they despaired, and mistrusted God, sometimes setting up graven images as idols in His stead. I never thought too intently about that part of the Bible. But I'm thinking about it now. I identify with the Israelites. Setting up idols is just bad behavior - not acceptable. But mistrusting God? How long is it supposed to sustain you, the fact that God saved you dramatically before - maybe not even in your own lifetime? When He has left you homeless, defenseless, and purposeless in the desert for decades, possibly forever? It's not a matter of believing that God isn't God or isn't powerful or that He can't help you - your experience tells you that He could help you, but now can't be bothered. Obviously, I can identify with that...

I got a pile of library books on Saturday (and consequently have not really been sleeping at night since...need to get that under control). One of these was What to Expect When You're Experiencing Infertility. It's brilliant - brilliant. What I've been looking for in all my library sojourns - a book just about the psychological experience of being infertile and in treatment, not about how to seek treatment or how you probably will get pregnant (maybe - maybe not. So quit predicting my medical outcomes, authors). It starts with a chapter about the emotional experience of IF, broken out from the male and female perspectives. I'm going to have my husband read it, and then we're going to discuss it. I feel like it's a huge thing that's been missing - neither of us really understands the other's reactions, and we need to.

Still working on the position teaching law in the evenings. I have gotten approval from our ethics people (whew!). Now I need to finish processing my second writing sample - this won't even take an hour; I've already got my resume, first writing sample, and cover letter done. Might even have it in tomorrow. I have butterflies thinking about it. A new step...?

Also on the subject of scriptural reflections...tripped over something about home/houses/Jerusalem/something when reading recently and had a thought that something to do with houses is maybe not just my private obsession borne of my experiences and psychoses, but part of something I'm supposed to do with my life. Not in a way I've worked out yet, but I'm mulling it over, slowly, waiting for the thoughts to crystallize. (I could always come up with a way to fit it all together that sounds theologically sound, but I feel as though if I force that sort of theory, I'll lose sight of whatever as-yet-fainter message I'm supposed to be listening to. Maybe something is out there...)

Saw Father again Friday. It was good to talk to him; but nothing earth-shattering. I might have a few thoughts to share after I mull it the meantime, I am wondering how to thank a good priest who has volunteered out of the goodness of his heart to be a spiritual director for an insane stranger. Donation to his favorite charity? Research what sort of item his parish could use? What would be appropriate?


  1. I'm so impressed with you for being open and honest about why you don't want to visit your colleague in the hospital. AND I'm incredibly impressed with your friend at work for how she reacted. I was going to say "other colleague" but based on how she responded, she is truly a friend. What an amazing woman. And good for you for realizing what you can and can't handle!!!

    I will be looking up that book...

  2. Have him over for dinner! Priest love being invited over for dinner:) Just a thought. Also, I feel for you and that situation at the hospital. I thought I was fine the other day when I went to see my friend and her baby and I seriously lost control of my emotions! I was kind of embarrassed but she understood. Also, good for you to open up to that girl. It's always good to get things off your chest.

  3. As far as gifts go, I find that priests appreciate food. They get a lot of sweets and breads, but not as much real food, so a reasonably sized portion of a dinner that can be popped in the microwave or oven for a quick meal always seems appreciated.

    I'm going to have to track down that "What to Expect" book. Sounds like something I'd benefit from. And I have to say, I admire your frankness with that co-worker and I admire her for her response!

  4. It sounds like food would be a great options for your priest. Good for you for being so honest with your colleague about why you didn't feel comfortable going to the hospital in with the group. I'm so glad to hear that you found a book that focuses on what you are looking for. Good luck with your application on the teaching position!

  5. I think a lot of priests would like a heartfelt thank you – whether by note or in person. Honestly, they get a lot of blame and crap and I think hearing that something they did was sincerely appreciated goes a long way (just the same as us). My former pastor liked to be invited to your house for dinner rather than receiving any gift which he said just gave him more stuff to pack whenever he got transferred (he just wasn’t a gift person). My current one is an absolute bookworm so that would be the way to thank him- a gift card to a book store or even a gift certificate to a local Catholic shop where vestments and such items are purchased. There’s only one in our city so that is easier for us than for you. (Here, you can even ask the store owner and he may know of something specific the priest has been eyeing for the church or for himself.)

    What an awesome response from your co-worker. And more importantly, what a great thing for you to say what you needed and what your boundaries were. I have no doubt that your compassionate explanation helped paved the way for a compassionate response. I know that isn’t always the case, but praise the Lord for small blessings whenever they come!

  6. We used to have our priest over for dinner every Sunday, and he loved it. Having a great home-cooked meal is priceless, really.
    You are a very brave woman for being so open with your colleague. I always find it much easier to be open with strangers than with friends or acquaintances. I think I have come to resent being made to look weak, and can't stand the thought of someone else pitying me. It sounds like she responded like a real human being, though, so kudos to her!
    I know that book is about infertility, but I cringe any time I see the "What to Expect" title. It's just a reflex now :\. I'll have to see if my library has that one...

  7. I can think of another reason for not visiting your collegue in the hospital. Just having had a baby, she's bound to be exhausted and not feeling very presentable. I wouldn't want visitors in her place.

    Sorry about the house saga. Despite everyone knowing that the housing market isn't what it was, there's still a significant number of sellers who aren't willing to budge on price. We have sellers in our development with that problem. One has has been on the market for nearly two years. Another finally sold after a year but not until the seller made a significant reduction. A third had been cycling through realtors in attempt to get their house to sell, but after more than a year, they still haven't reduced the price (and it is definitely over-priced). The fourth was for sale off and on for a year-and-a-half until the owner took it off the market for good. People are still living in the early 2000's when housing prices were at their highest. It'll take awhile for them to shift their expectations down to meet reality.