Monday, October 18, 2010

It Must Be a Joke

Yes of course whatever you say about getting old it definitely has to be a joke. My friend Doc Bubbles says it's a continuous loop of, "News flash, you're old...News flash, you're old!" It comes as a surprise for some reason, who knows why. By this time who knows much of anything right?

Today came the latest surprise: My portrait for the church directory arrived, and guess what, if you looked at this picture and you didn't know the person you would say it's somebody's grandmother or great-grandmother! So much so that looking at it I even conceived an ambition to become a great-grandmother. I started calculating the grandkids' ages and how young they could marry without it being a disaster, and when they could produce an heir or heiress who would say, "That is my great-grandmother."

I gotta get ahold of myself here...

Friday, October 08, 2010

Successful "Olding"

1) Teeter and totter when you walk. People will rush to your aid, if they're not brigands rushing to rob you.
2) Therefore, use a cane. You can push elevator buttons with it; and if you do encounter brigands you'll be armed.
3) At the checkout, count out your exact change with shaky fingers and make a long conversation with your checker. They are very nice and lovely and have interesting lives.
4) Yes, be nice! Since you are no longer pretty and no longer smart, try to be nice.
5) Talk a lot about World War Two even if you were only an infant during it.
6) Dispense wisdom and advice liberally.
8) Watch TV and eat ice cream while you "still" can.
9) I.e., Enjoy yourself!
10) That is, you can stop saving for retirement now!
11) Talk a lot about Jesus. Oh right; I even did that before I got old.
12) Yes, play hymns and sing them in a quavery voice.
13) Wear velcro sneakers with white socks if you damn well feel like it!

Suggestions welcomed; yes I have seen that "Success at Any Age" e-mail; but you can send it to me if you feel like it.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Civic Pain

The world continues its merry ride to hell in last Sunday's Week in Review! Frank Rich, whom I always read first, writes about a vote--getting whack job named Christine O'Donnell. She actually out-outrageoused Karl Rove, who used to be the disgustingest.  O'Donnell "just may be the final ingredient needed to camouflage a billionaires' coup as a populist surge." Doom.

Feature story" "The Secret Sponsors," investigates the propaganda organization Coalition to Protect Seniors, a right-wing anti-"Obamacare" cabal that spent $400,000 last month. Journalist Mike McIntire wrote this informative piece describing his process of trying to get to the bottom of who's really behind this cloaked conspiracy. Searching through a web site to a post office box to a telephone in an insurance office, McIntire never found out who is responsible. Gloom.

Thomas Friedman hopes a real third party will arise to tell us that both parties are captive to special interests. Dreamer!

If we're still reading, we can continue to John Schwarz's "Bullying, Suicide, Punishment," based on a young man's suicide after cyberhumiliation. Under the rubric of exposing how inadequate the laws are, Schwartz gets to remind us of other horribly sad examples of children hanging themselves and jumping off bridges after being bullied. Moan!

And just to put the cherry on top, Nicholas Kristof brings news we're "At Risk From The Womb," so anti-poverty programs must begin before birth! (But I am sure--my comment--that the billionaire-populists will quash this idea while simultaneously making poor women unable to prevent birth.) Groan!

I must take this newspaper into the woods and fall down on it and pray over it! Or stop reading it, which I don't think I'm allowed to do. Feeling the civic pain is part of one's civic duty.

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Problem of Pain

I have bad pain on a daily basis, and it makes me unhappy and weak. It makes me "can't" do things and it hurts to even look at a rake, a vacuum, or even my knitting. Pain is a bore! Pain hurts and that is a problem.

If you google the problem of pain things get very abstract very quickly because unfortunately suffering is a big part of existence. C.S. Lewis wrote a book "The Problem of Pain" and tried to fit pain into God's scheme: consequence of sin, which is consequence of free will blah blah. More recently, Bart Ehrmann has written that the problem of pain led him to atheism. (Unlike the most contemporary author atheists, Ehrmann actually knows something about Scripture and faith; he did theological reflection on the way to atheism.)

The theologian Dorothy Soelle settles the question for me. She says we just cannot reconcile the existence of so much suffering with the idea of a loving God. If we try, we get a "theology of sadism" or a "theology of masochism." We don't understand "why," and the comforters talk crap, and all our piety--I don't know. I have theories, but I don't know!

One thing I know about God: if you have pain and see all the suffering, He wants you to tell Him all about it. The Psalms never accept pain as something you must put up with. Your sin can cause pain and confessing sin brings relief, but it doesn't follow that pain was a punishment or even a good thing! Sin causes suffering and death (you can look around and see sin bringing death into the world); but not all suffering is the result of sin (except for mysterious original sin, I guess, that is part of mortal humanity). Healing does exist. If you learn something from it? As St. Paul says, God can bring good out of evil, but he doesn't say pain is good. At best, Paul's "thorn in the flesh" kept him humble.

Most definitively, you never see Jesus telling someone to accept their blind, crippled, deaf, hungry, or discriminated-against lot. He heals the sick and feeds the hungry. In fact, pain relief is a sign of the messianic age!

In the world we shall have tribulation. God damn it and hopefully soon!