Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Love and responsibility

"The family is an institution created by procreation within the framework of marriage. It is a natural community, directly dependent on the parents for its existence and functioning. The parents create the family as a complement to and extension of their love. To create a family means to create a community, since the family is a social unit or else it is not a family. To be a community it must have a certain size. This is most obvious in the context of education. For the family is an educational institution within the framework of which the personality of a new human being is formed. If it is to be correctly formed it is very important that this human being should not be alone, but surrounded by a natural community. We are sometimes told that it is easier to bring up several children together than an only child, and also that two children are not a community - they are two only children. It is the role of the parents to direct their children's upbringing, but under their direction the children educate themselves, because they develop within the framework of a community of children, a collective of siblings."
- Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla (Saint John Paul II), pg 242 (chapter "Justice Towards the Creator" subtitle "Periodic Continence: Method and Interpretation")

I read Love and Responsibility yeeeears ago, but this quote has always stayed in my mind. Especially now that we are having a third child. 

When Davy was born, I was totally focused on the birth itself and on figuring out how to care for a baby again. Now I feel like I am more focused on Addie and Davy, how to be present to them, how we will get back into life again with an extra element after my husband is back at work. I've been ordering books for them and hatching ideas. 

Somewhere around when Davy turned one, things got easier and more exciting for us as a family. He gets funnier and funnier each day. Addie and Davy play more and more each day (and fight too!). Somehow it doesn't seem like it will be as upsetting to add a new element to the group... it's a group! What an amazing thing to be creating a community, like JPII says. And a huge responsibility. 

Monday, January 08, 2018

Carry out your duty lovingly and joyfully

"I, too, wish to say this to you all: in your daily difficulties, in moments of trials and discouragement, when it seems that every commitment is almost emptied of interest and value, remember that God knows our troubles! God loves you, one by one, he is close to you, he understands you! Trust in him and in this certainty find the courage and the joy to carry out your duty lovingly and joyfully." 
- Address of His Holiness John Paul II to the Congregation of St. Joseph, n. 1

40 weeks and 4 days today and loooooooosing my mind. This is us at a waffle place nearby, which we went to two days in the row because I was trying to smother my depression with waffles. The third day we had chocolate croissants at a different place instead because I was too embarrassed to show up three days in a row. And now I can barely get the motivation to go anywhere. Everything seems tedious. Everything seems unbearable. The fear and waiting before childbirth seems aaaaalmost worse than the pain of childbirth itself. But my challenge is to do these everyday things, that are so incredibly difficult (yes, eating waffles can be difficult!), with love and joy, like our friend JPII says above. 

Friday, January 05, 2018

Why I Don't Call Myself Gay quotes

Image result for why i don't call myself gayI read the book Why I Don't Call Myself Gay by Daniel Mattson for my online book club... which I am light years behind on... and found it good, but not especially new for me. I really, really appreciated the first part of the book, which was his personal story. Such rawness, such honesty. It made me cringe! I would never publish those kinds of things about me, even though I have the same woundedness. But I really appreciated it, because that's the only way to healing I think. 

It is a good book and well-written, but not dense like Cardinal Sarah's The Power of Silence, and so I skimmed a great part of it. But definitely an important voice to be heard not only in the field of same sex attractions, but also theology of the body and sexuality in general. It is not just a book for people who suffer from same sex attractions, but for all of us, whose sexuality is fallen, wounded, difficult and in need of redemption. 

Here are some of my favorite quotes: 

"There were seeds within me, no doubt, of attractions to men. I didn't choose to be attracted to men, nor does any man. But we do have choices. We choose what we do with them." pg 34

"Saint Paul, Chrysostom says, shows that the punishment was in pleasure itself." pg 50

Yet it seemed to me that God was showing me what he wants us to do with our pain and suffering: he wants us to use our suffering to enter into the suffering of others." pg 64

"G.K. Chesterton wrote once about his own conversion to Catholicism that the Church 'is much larger inside than it is outside'. Such has been the case with me. You don't know the Catholic Church is bigger than the universe, until you go through her doors, and there discover the peace that surpasses all understanding." pg 85

"Josef Pieper writes, 'Public discourse itself, separated from the standard of truth, creates on its part, the more it prevails, an atmosphere of epidemic proneness and vulnerability to the reign of the tyrant. Serving the tyranny, the corruption and abuse of language becomes better known as propaganda.'" pg 102

"One of my good friends from Courage who came out in high school made the astute observation that 'coming out' was really a 'going in' to a prison that trapped him - and others - into a false view of himself." pg 154

"The Church believes, in continuity with philosophers since the time of Aristotle, that what something is points to how that thing itself can find fulfillment." pg 219

"We're not made for a life of ease here on this earth, nor is this place our true home. People don't run marathons because they're easy - they run them because they're challenging. That's the fruit of magnanimity, and it's the reason I've chosen the path of chastity." pg 286

PS I've added a page to this blog, other than the "writing" page with my articles, called "books". I put the links to all my favorite quotes from books and mini book reviews, organized by stars I give them on goodreads. I will keep it updated. 

Thursday, January 04, 2018

And that's enough

Us doing "preschool" in the morning. 

I was pretty depressed for the first half of December, feeling like everything was going wrong. Perhaps pregnancy hormones, perhaps normal mommy guilt, perhaps being an obsessive type-A perfectionist psycho. No one was making me feel better, not even the priest at a great retreat I went on, not even my husband. Then one day I sent a simple WhatsApp message to a friend in the US and her answer was so genuine and so true that I INSTANTLY felt better. And I've hung on to those words ever since. Especially: 

"I weep at how bad of a mother I am now with my kids. Distracted, unloving stressed, angry and sometimes uninterested. There's just so much more work now. So many more things to think about. So many more people making demands. And so many more things that can throw the day off kilter. 
"All the kids want is you, so don't feel bad that that is all you have to offer!"

It felt so reassuring to have someone... that I know isn't doing a bad job and really cares.. who felt like a bad mom like I did. I feel like I can't give them what they need and it's because of my own faults. I had told my friend that I felt I only had myself to offer and I was losing it. I said I only have myself to offer in the sense of my ideas, what I look up on Pinterest, the books I like. Most of the time I wonder, what am I doing? But her words, all the kids want is you, are true. Small children like them need to be close to their mother. They are truly blessed to have a mother and a father, and the most important thing I can do is focus on that relationship and on loving and serving the Lord. It is hard to not need reassurance I'm going the right things, not messing them up for life... taking one small step in the right direction everyday, sometimes groping in darkness, but trusting in the Lord and His plans. That's the only way and that's enough. 

Wednesday, January 03, 2018