Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Crazy World

Last weekend I was switching channels and came upon a reality show called "Surprise Wedding." The premise of this show is that half a dozen women who have been in long term relationships and want to marry their significant other are brought to Las Vegas for a week of makeovers, wedding shopping and all-around fun. They somehow get their SOs to meet them in Las Vegas - most of them told the hapless men that they were receiving an award of some sort. One by one, the men are brought out onto the stage, where the women are standing in wedding dresses, and in front of the screaming audience and many cameras, the women propose. The men are given a few minutes alone to consider the proposal, then they are brought out again and to give their answer. If they answer yes, a JP marries them immediately. If they say now, they are hustled off the stage while the wanna-be bride tearfully is escorted offstage to a kiss and cry area and is interviewed.

This was horrible. It was like watching someone pick their nose - its disgusting, but you can't take your eyes off it. What does it say about our American culture, that women would feel so desperate because they aren't married, that they would lie to the men they supposedly love, would humiliate and debase themselves?

What does it say about the state of America's spiritual underpinnings that women are so intent on marrying, that they would be willing to forego any mention of God and would get married without their loved ones around them?

What does it say about how we raise girls into women in our culture, that to be without a husband is so heinous that women prefer lying and the risk of public humiliation to remaining single?

What does it say about the self-worth of women who would do this? Who would beg on national TV to have a man marry her?

What does it say about the men in America today - that they spend an abnormally long adolescence, all the way to their mid 40s for many - and don't step up to the plate of male adulthood, thus forcing women to take over?

What does it say about the men who said no to the women they supposedly love, who wore their hearts on their sleeves and risked everything to marry them? Do these men understand the shame involved for these women - if they truly loved and valued them, they would never have put them in a position where the women felt they had to take matters into their own hands.

What does it say about the men who said yes and married on the spot - if you were wanting to marry this women, why didn't you do the right thing and spare both of you the humiliation?

On every level, I found this show horrific and deeply disturbing. It was like watching a train wreck. Its a sad commentary on life in America - that we would tune in to such a thing, that we would participate in such a thing.

This makes me so much prouder of my dear daughter, who recently ended a relationship with her first real boyfriend. She realized at 17, that TBF had planned out their lives in minute detail, and when he was unable to loosen up, she decided that she was too young to have no surprises left. She'd rather be single. Props to her! At almost 18 (her birtday in next week), she has learned that happiness and contentment come from within, that no one can own another, that sometimes (especially when young) the unknown future can be an exciting place, and the journey there a reward in and of itself. And most of all, that her happiness and worth as a human being has to do with her relationship with God, and does not require being part of a couple.

Props to her!

Monday, February 11, 2008

I remember Mama

Another year without you, Mom. Three years without hearing your voice, or feeling your embrace. I'm still shocked when I remember that you are gone.

I think that inside each of us is that little child who cannot conceive of a world without her mother, and when it happens, its so very shocking that it feels like a part of what makes you YOU has been violently ripped out of your body, leaving a bloody hole.

As I was driving home from work tonight, I thought about this very thing, and how the only thing that eases the pain is the good memories. We certainly made a lot of those, didn't we Mom? You and me and Dad. And later, much later, you and me and Dad and DD. How much you loved picnics! And watermelon, and roasted chestnuts, and pasta. How many figure skating shows and competitions did we watch together? I couldn't watch them at all for the first couple of years, but this past year, I have been able to enjoy them once again, though its just not as much fun to watch them alone. What about the dollhouse shows? The opera? The jazz on the lawn. The Barn Theater in New London? How about all the books we shared? The Quiet Man? Clark Cabral and Greta Medeiros? Remember getting all dressed up in our Easter finery to go to town to see The Sound of Music, just you and me? The brown bomber? All the sweaters and hats and mittens that you made for me and my dolls...and my daughter.

The iron stove at the Inn, the squirrels, the chihuahuas. The three of us in the back room. Mr. Peck. Raking the leaves, the fire drills. Armand the bread man, Eric the milk man, the meat man.... The errand runs at 70 mph. Skippy Lyons. Emily Vernlund. Marian Ryberg. Vaugh Gregg.

Gram and Auntie Anna and Auntie Nettie and you in that old green kitchen on B St. In the dining room across the lake.

Always laughing. Always loving.

Always remembering. Memory Eternal, Mom. Someday, we'll be together again. Till then, I have my daughter, and the Theotokos, and my memories, and a whole life waiting for me to live it.

Friday, February 01, 2008

A Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian

“No one can heal my disease except He
Who knows the depths of my heart.
How many times have I set boundaries for myself
and built walls between myself and sin!
But my thoughts transgressed the boundaries
and my will tore down the walls,
for the boundaries were not secured by fear of God,
and the walls were not founded on sincere repentance.

And again I knock at the door, that it may open for me.
I do not cease to ask that I may receive what I request.
and I know no shame in seeking Thy mercy, O Lord.

O Lord, my Savior! Why hast Thou forsaken me?
Have mercy on me, O only Lover of mankind.
Save me, a sinner, Thou only Sinless One.

Wrench me from the mire of my iniquities,
that I may not be forever sullied by them.
Deliver me from the jaws of the enemy,
who roars as a lion and desires to swallow me up.

Rouse Thy strength and come, that Thou mightest save me.
Beam Thy lightening and disperse his power,
that he may be struck with fear and flee from Thy face,
for he has not the strength to stand before Thee
and before the face of those who love Thee.
As soon as he perceives a sign of Thy grace,
he is taken with fear of Thee and withdraws from such with shame.

And now, O Master, save me, for I flee to Thee!”