Monday, January 28, 2013

writing, appreciating, building--influenced by the world around me


I've been reading and enjoying "Reached", the last installment of the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie.  I'm really enjoying the book--a dystopian young adult novel in which the characters are living in a civilization devoid of most of the freedoms that I take for granted--they've even forgotten how to write without a keyboard.  It's made me want to start writing in my journal again.  I'm fast at typing, and my handwriting (as we've discussed) is nothing to write home about, but still--there's something to be said for having a history, as incomplete (and nearly illegible) as it may be, written out in my own hand, you know?


A few months ago, we decided that we'd seen every Netflix DVD that really interested us, and we switched to a streaming plan.  Almost immediately, I started watching Jon & Kate + 8, and got completely addicted.  Knowing how the story ends (and can I just say, that is one sad ending!) made it all the more compelling for me to watch, although I hate to admit it.  Poor Eric has had to endure semi-frequent late night soul-searching questions from me, such as, "Do I treat you the way Kate treats Jon?"  "Do you feel like I am critical of you?"  "Do you know I love you?" etc. etc.  ad nauseum.  Poor guy.  He takes it well, and I'm starting to lay off the paranoia, but it's a cautionary tale for me.  I'm not saying that the Kate & Jon divorce was all Kate's fault, I'm not saying whose fault it was, because I have no idea, nor any right to an opinion, frankly.  What I am saying is that I've got a good man married to me, and I don't ever want to take that for granted, no matter how many times I'm tempted to get annoyed with messes around the house, miscommunications, differences of opinion, or what-have-you.


One more area that I'm trying to work on:  A few years ago, I read a blog post by a woman who talked about being rejected as a child by one of her neighbors, a woman who also happeend to be her Primary President.  Apparently she and the woman's son were the only two kids their age in the neighborhood, but for some reason, the girl wasn't allowed to play with the boy very often.  Then one day she was allowed to the house, where she had a glorious afternoon, and then was promptly banned from the house, never allowed to go back inside because she had made a mess there and not cleaned it up. (Or at least that's the explanation that the little girl remembered)  The way she tells the story, from then on, the neighborhood children would go to that house on hot summer days for a cool drink and while all the other children were allowed inside, she would have to drink her drink on the porch.  She says that it was very confusing for her in those days, because she would feel so unloved during the week, and then she'd go to church and see that woman standing up in front of all the children, representing all that should be good and righteous.

That story haunts me now.  Now, whether I am or am not the Primary President, I honestly can't imagine ever making one child stand outside our little house while all the other children are allowed in.  Come to that, I struggle to imagine a situation in which I would deny entrance into our home to any child for any reason.  We all know that as far as I'm concerned, when it comes to kids, the more the merrier.  But children are fragile, and they can be hurt by something far more innocuous than a locked door.  Their feelings are tender, and you never know what chance word or action will stay with them throughout their lives, molding who they are, how they see the world, what they think about themselves.

In all my associations with children (and I now have quite a few more associations than used to be the case), I really really almost desperately want to be a builder.  With the exception of Heather, Eden, and my nieces and nephews, I can't say that I really care that much whether or not a child remembers me throughout their life as someone who helped them to feel loved and happy and safe.  Hopefully there will be so many people like that in any child's life that remembering them all will be as impossible as remembering all the meals one has eaten.  BUT, I absolutely don't want to be someone that is remembered for a belittling word or action.  I want to be a builder.  I want to build.


highdeekay said...

Even without her iron-clad memory, Eden will have no problem remembering the Cantwell family! She loves spending time with all four of you (even if she is a little cautious around Marilee). As for all those other kids, I'm pretty sure they feel loved and that they have a neighbor and primary president who is kind and welcoming. Thanks for the reminder though, it is so important to remember how fragile kids (of all ages) are.

kates said...

Oh, Charlotte, I love your humility. Don't you realize that you ARE a builder? Ever since I was privileged to learn from you as the Primary song leader, I have been so thankful that my kids have you! Keep building away....

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