mari4212: calla lily against a black background (Default)
One of the best practical theologians I’ve ever met once told me that the most important follow-up question to any statement of belief had to be, “So what?”

So what is asked not to be flippant, not to dismiss anyone else’s belief. It is asked because the answer tells you everything you need to know about how much the other person really does believe what they’re saying. So what asks: what next? Yes, you believe something, and what are you going to do about it?

If I say I believe something, then the next question has to be: how does it change my actions? How does it impact who I am, how I interact with the world. If I can’t explain how my beliefs should guide my actions, I don’t really believe what I’m saying. So what is the dividing line between concepts I intellectually ascribe to and truths I commit to.

So what is scary and dangerous. So what doesn’t stop any belief from being good or bad, doesn’t state that the actions which follow are beneficial or harmful. So what just means that you will act on what you say. So what changes you, changes your community, changes the world. For good or ill, so what will never let you stay the same.

Be very careful what you say you believe. Someone might just ask you to prove it.
mari4212: Text: Divide by Cucumber Error, Please Reinstall Universe and Reboot (cucumber)
For the past four weeks, Stacie’s bedroom floor had stayed absolutely clear. Normally it was covered with disassembled lego sets scattered when she switched from her old design into something more challenging. Lisa always complained about stepping on bricks when she came in to wake Stacie in the morning, or to tell her that Mom wanted her to do her chores. Lisa was stupid. There was lots of space on the floor with no legos, you just had to remember where to walk.

But when the first of December hit, Stacie had cleaned everything. Emily in second grade said that it wasn’t really Santa, that it was just your parents, and they had to get you presents anyway, but Stacie wasn’t taking any chances. So she cleaned her room, didn’t complain too much about peas at dinner, and worked out her Santa letter with her best writing, first in pencil, then tracing over it with red and green, which everyone in Ms. Annabelle’s class agreed had to be Santa’s favorite colors, or why else would they be Christmas colors. She even drew pictures on the letter, illustrating the best present. Her Uncle Steve even took her out to go see Santa at the mall, though Stacie was a little confused about why Santa was spending time in the mall right before Christmas when he should be finishing making the presents at the North Pole. Uncle Steve told her that the elves handled most of the presents-making and Santa could take some time off to visit with little girls and make sure he understood what they really wanted.

Stacie had been very clear. She wanted the lego castle set, the cool one with the real working drawbridge and the towers that she could play with and re-design a hundred times over, not the Cinderella one that just had the stupid clock and couldn’t be remade any better. And if Santa would also get her the Smaug dragon from the movie that Mom wouldn’t let her see because it was too scary for little girls, that would be even better because then she could play at destroying the castle and letting the princess save the day. Stacie thought she could use Lisa’s Ken doll, the one whose head had come off, as a giant attacker instead, but it wouldn’t be as much fun as a real dragon.

And now it was Christmas morning. There was a box just the right size to be the castle set, sitting under the tree with her name on it, and she just had to wait until her Mom let her pick her first present to unwrap. Lisa went first, because she was the oldest, which absolutely wasn’t fair. She got a fairy princess dress for dress-ups, which was pretty neat, Stacie guessed. She’d have to try it on some time when Lisa was off at dance class. Stacie wiggled impatiently as her Mom hunted through the stack under the tree for the good present. It was from Santa and had to be the cool castle.

She ripped through the paper faster than she ever had before, but slowed halfway through. It was the wrong color, she thought. Had the elves gotten that wrong by mistake? She went still as the last of the paper fell off. Santa had made a mistake. This was the Cinderella castle, the stupid one that you couldn’t really play with and make it do anything. She looked up at her Mom, not sure how she could still be smiling. Couldn’t she see how wrong it was?

Lisa poked her impatiently. “You’re supposed to say thank you so I can open my present next.”

Stacie just looked up at her Mom, waiting for her to fix it. “It’s the wrong castle. Santa brought me the wrong castle, Mommy.”

Just for reference, the cool castle: http://shop.lego.com/en-US/King-s-Castle-70404?fromListing=listing

And the Cinderella castle, which is pretty but not nearly as versatile: http://shop.lego.com/en-US/Cinderella-s-Romantic-Castle-41055?fromListing=listing
mari4212: Mr. Tumnus inviting Lucy to tea (mr. tumnus)
My mother has a bad habit of missing a step or two as she goes down a flight of stairs. It’s ended, on more than one occasion, with her breaking her foot and spending the following months in a walking cast maneuvering on crutches.

She worries every time she falls like that. She flinches when she drops something she’s sure she had a firm grip on. The time I’m most likely to hear her slip up and actually swear out loud is when she drops a plate or glass. Moments of simple clumsiness that the rest of the world shrugs off will nag at Mom for hours to come.

That’s how it started for Grandmommy, you see. Slight stumbles, dropping things, a weaker grasp than she’d expected to have. Slowly, the little things crept up and started to become more significant. Little things like a missed stair that eventually pointed at nerve damage and illness.

Mom was two when Grandmommy was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and told that she had two years to live. By the time I was born, 32 years later, it was a family joke that Grandmommy was well on her way to outliving all the doctors that told her she was going to die.

When Mom was a child, it wasn’t a joke. It wasn’t even a jayus. For her it was reality that her mother could either be perfectly fine or absolutely flattened by her disease, and that no one could predict when it would happen, when her mother’s hands would go from deft and skilled to clumsy to almost incapable. One of the longest stretches of time when Grandmommy was too ill to make it out of bed came when Mom was in her senior year of high school, a stretch of time that Mom links to her younger sister spinning out of control and going wild. She often wonders how different her sister’s life would have been, if their mother had been able to be there for my aunt as much as she had been for my mother. I wonder sometimes how she felt going off to college, if she was worried about how her mother and her family would cope. I wonder if it was a guilty relief to be away, to not feel responsible for a bit because she couldn't actually be there anyway.

Mom was 54 when Grandmommy finally died. She did, in fact, outlive every doctor who told her that she was going to die from her condition, including my grandfather. Mom is far older than my grandmother was when Grandmommy was first diagnosed. As far as we can tell, Mom has not and will not inherit MS.

And yet the minute she drops something, there’s a look in her eyes that says she’s right back there again, still a child terrified of her mother’s loss.
mari4212: "Okay, you don't just have issues.  You have the full set of collectable binders (issues)
Inside

That awkward laugh. He knew it far too well by now. It was the laugh that said that once again he’d misread the situation, that he’d forgotten who has talking to. He could never remember to watch for social signals until he heard that laugh and remembered that his team was the exception, that most people couldn’t stand him. He tried, sometimes. More often than he ever let on, he was actually trying to be nice, to be friendly and relaxed with new people. But he’d never yet figured out how to seem interested in things which bored him, and so much of ordinary conversation was boring and a waste of his time. He’d open his mouth and let loose with a rant that skipped straight past snark and sarcasm into rude and petty insults. And flirtations were even worse, he always tried too hard and then found himself back-tracking and insulting worse by accident.

He’d try a joke, after that, something to cut the tension or at least make the other person stop focusing on the last thing he’d said. And they’d laugh, but out of pity, or just to make him stop before it went on any longer. He hated that laugh more than anything else. It would be more honest if they’d just ignore him and walk away. He’d rather be hated than pitied.

Outside

She was pretty sure it was worse when he tried. When he didn’t care about what anyone else thought of him, he was rude, arrogant beyond belief, and abrasive, but he wasn’t awkward, and he didn’t make her want to wince or laugh just to cover up the latest failed attempt at a witty or flirtatious comment. When he forgot to care about impressing her, he’d go on to the pure science and lose his defensiveness in the wonder of what they were exploring. It was then when he’d be insightful, sometimes humble at the magnitude of what was before them, and wickedly funny when she least expected it.

It’s why she makes herself laugh at most of the failed jokes. If she can get him past the need to prove himself to her, he might actually relax enough to be worth talking to more often. It was a pity that it took so much to get him to that point.
mari4212: image of Teal'c and Daniel, text: What are Friends For? (if not to mock you mercilessly) (friendsmock)
Identifying traits offline: long red hair, glasses, amazing cleavage, long skirts, nose stuck in a book. Friends at college had a competition to see how fast they could make me blush. Currently bouncing around Baguio in the Philippines for a few more months, teaching at Easter College.

Identifying traits online: slightly less visible cleavage. Tendency to write rambling updates about daily life, interspersed with the one-liners about hilarious things my students do. A bit of a fannish butterfly, I bounce back and forth throughout a lot of fandoms. The most permanent ones are Star Trek, Harry Potter, Doctor Who and Narnia, but I’ll probably cheerfully geek out about most fandoms if you give me a chance.

Interests: religion (you do not spend a year as a missionary working at an Episcopal school in the Philippines with no interest in religion), science, books, fandom geekery, knitting and other crafts, other people, telling stories.

Cast of characters: [profile] glacier_scout is my father, he will pop on here and there. He’s mostly harmless, if prone to telling stories about me. Mom is self-explanatory. I have three siblings. The oldest, Elizabeth, is married to John. The middle is Sara, my disabled sister. Scroll back a few journal entries if you want more of the story about her. The youngest is my brother Thomas. The entire family actually gets on very well, so you will not hear many family horror stories. I’m far more likely to brag about how amazing they all are. Here in the Philippines my fellow teachers get referred to with Ma'am or Sir in front of their names. Padie Alyse is the chaplain of the school, and one of my closest friends here. I will talk about my students en masse, but never by a specific name. The same if I tell any stories about the day care kids back home. Main friends in the states not on lj (or not active anymore): Dana, her husband Ellis, Lierin, her husband Marco, any of my group of college friends. [profile] lady_tigerfish is probably my best friend in real life, but she's also rarely on lj.

Affiliations: Team Hufflepuff all the way. Light side of the Force over Dark side: they have cookies but we have pie and triple-chocolate brownies with caramel sauce. Wine, cider or mead over beer, tea over coffee at any time other than first thing in the morning, and sometimes even then. Vampire stories bore me, give me random aliens any day of the week.

Random facts: I once ran Medieval Society in college, and was the head of Hufflepuff house at my college HP club at the same time. I used to hate speaking in public: what giving a report about dolphin testicles didn’t cure, teaching in the Philippines has thoroughly fixed. My seventh grade students just tried to guilt me into staying another 5 years to keep teaching them all the way through high school by threatening to cry if I left. I run a blog here about my experiences as a missionary in the Philippines if you want to know more of what I'm doing than I list here. That's my official blog, it gets the points when I'm not giggling about the eggplant race or banging my head against the desk after grading test papers.

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