Sunday, November 25, 2012

Annual Blues Letter

Holiday Blues

What to say about the Christmas blues, holiday blues, that hasn’t already been said? I recently read the most incredible thing of all: that holiday blues aren’t real.
The writer said there is no nameless horror that overwhelms you and leaves you exhausted before a mountain of tasks. No tears for losses decades ago well up while you’re working at the desk. No resentments surge, either, at obligations suddenly crowding out cherished routines. And no disgust rises at the yammering, clamoring advertisements competing for dollars.
Perhaps you haven’t suffered from holiday blues. But for many of us, the darkness of shortening days outside thee window seems matched by a gathering darkness within the psyche. We may feel fatigued and irritable. While missing loved ones who are not here, we feel annoyed with the here-and-now family present in greater numbers than usual. These feelings seem unacceptable when we’re supposed to feel jolly!
We feel assaulted by both the trivial and the global. We get caught in a traffic jam, and the dog gets sick, and one of the kids suddenly needs a costume. Meanwhile, the Four Horsemen gallop unchecked across other lands, through our own cities. Planes fall from the sky, people freeze I the streets, and such news feels worse this time of year.
As we go about spending too much and doing too much and running idiotic errands at insane ties of night, we may feel like some kind of captive to a world that is out of control with its own falseness. What, you and I might feel despairingly, does all this have to do with our redeemer?

Rediscover Advent

Advent, the liturgical season of preparation for the coming of Christ, is actually the appropriate time to acknowledge these feelings Underneath the stress of coping with a busy time of year, I believe, lies the truth that our spirits are touching the chaos of a fallen creation. Our culture’s emphasis on hyper-cheerful hyperactivity (with an occasional television look-in on the poor) tries to run from and deny the non-Ok-ness that is beyond our power to fix.
Yet, only in acknowledging that darkness can we appreciate the coming of the light. What is wrong with us, what is wrong with the world—these grieving, driven, complaining, captive parts—these are the parts that groan for release by a Savior.
I invite you to understand the holiday “blues” as the holiday “purples” (the church color for the Advent season). Religions know, and celebrate liturgically, the lostness of a bound and broken universe. Our faith acknowledges the “already-but-not-yet” quality of our waiting for release.
Yet we do not wait passively. Advent is the season of preparation, expectation, and hope. Whatever action we take to help ourselves and others will make us ready for the coming of the Lord. Please, take care of yourself. Ask for help. Our redeemer is near.

Pat Caplan Andrews

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pro-Choice NC

The campaign and election woke me up to the fact that I live in a red state now. And that red is for Republican and not my father's Republican party.

Well the point is, I found out that those inroads on women's health and reproductive freedoms are growing in strength and repressiveness. I realized I've been congratulating myself on the results of work feminists accomplished in the 1970s while present-day pro-so-called-"life" politics has been putting on a squeeze:

--Voting to de-fund Planned Parenthood
--Requiring parental consent for some abortions
--Misinforming women about the consequences of abortions
--Enacting legislation to require a woman seeking an abortion face a transvaginal ultrasound.

This last isn't just in Virginia. Last year, in 2011, "while I was sleeping" so to speak, the NC legislature, Republican for the first time in decades, passed the "Women's Right To Know Act" (don't you love the 1984-speak).

All of the above is upsetting to proponents of women's equality, to those who believe a woman should decide, not the government, about the whether to carry a foetus to term.  

The argument is this: nobody is happy to see a pregnancy terminated, but sometimes it is necessary to do this. Even if you think abortion is evil, it is still a necessary evil. Even if you think a 2-cell organism has rights, those rights should not overrule the right of the woman to make a decision about her own body. I'm just throwing a few arguments out there in case someone hasn't given choice much thought.
Personally, I have thought all this through years ago.

But with the wakeup call of the election I realized although I'm old and a bit frail, I still need to get back out and DO something. So I contacted NARAL -- Pro-Choice NC. (I think NARAL stands for National Abortion Rights Action League.) Yesterday a young lady from there called me and filled me in on our political situation in NC.  Which is not pretty (See bullet points above). I did some reading on the NARAL web site and then on the NOW web site, and now I'm beginning to think.

What can I do? Well, I am doing it. What I can.

Stay tuned.