Monday, March 29, 2010

Kitchen Table Wisdom

A friend lent me the above book saying it was very inspirational for her. Oh, oh, I thought. In general 'inspirational' and I are not compatible; I am much too cynical. At work about ten years ago, we were all hauled down to campus to listen to a motivational speaker whose main point seemed to be that when life gets tough, you just say "how fascinating" and that we are all leaders in our own way, even from 'the back row'. I have been given books filled with vignettes: a typical one being someone diagnosed with stage 4 cancer miring themselves in self-pity and isolating themselves but suddenly has an epiphany that the little bit of time they have is worth living. Their new attitude leads to friends popping out of the woodwork and surprise, the dire prognosis seems to disappear. The right attitude cured their cancer!!! And even better, all the lessons learned from their 'wake-up call' has turned them into a superior person.To me, this message is disturbing as it implies that your bad attitude attracted your cancer somehow (see "Laws of Attraction")and worse, if you just think the right thoughts, it will disappear. In other words, you get what you deserve. This is so unfair to the many who battle difficult odds! And as one author has said, if you think cancer is a gift, then you can't come to my party!

But my friend was insistent, so I read it anyway. It too is filled with people struggling with difficult situations but at least rightthink doesn't convert to miracle cure. It speaks to acceptance of awful situations with grace. No one is miraculously cured but some inner peace can be obtained.

Hopefully my son is back from Austin, TX. The poor economy here has scattered his friends. Many live in Chicago and he goes there frequently but two of his groomsmen live in Austin including a boy he met at daycare when he was 18 months. When the boys were 11, I took them on a cross state bike ride. Josh had done it the year before with me but thought it would be fun with his best friend. About 30 miles into it, his friend begged me to carry his backpack. It was very heavy.
What's in it?
You told me to bring books so I have those and I bought maple syrup for my mom. She likes it.
Did you have to get it in a ceramic jug?
But once he learned how to pack light, he was fine.
Naomi came over to study yesterday. The baby kicks alot but when she grabs my hand to feel it, the baby calms down. Hopefully I'll have this power when its out of the womb.
A strong north wind today which makes running up to my favorite place difficult (though easy coming back) but I persevered.

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