Warm in Winter: All We Are Meant to Be?

“The [Benedictine] monks went into barbarian areas to evangelize, and if the barbarians killed them off, the mother house would send more brothers out. Slowly, these men laid the ground for the rebirth of Christian civilization in the West,” Rod Dreher.
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home,” Edith Sitwell.
There is a warm feeling in the frosty cold. Oxymoronic, I know. A chill allows me to wrap a blanket around myself, snuggle a grandchild closer, warm the kitchen with sweets from the oven.
Warm cookies and hot tea. Maybe a movie. Or a great book. Maybe a circle or two around the park on my skis. Swish, swish and an occasional car going by.
Peace. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Even those who know me best don’t always realize my yearning to be home. To be in quiet. To feel the warmth of my own hearth. But: Continue reading “Warm in Winter: All We Are Meant to Be?”

Abortion: The Issue that Never Dies

“The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships.” ― Mother Teresa.
Forty-four years after Roe v. Wade and  America finds that the issue will just not go away. There was an expectation that a generation or two growing up with this “right” would not be able to find its way back. The issue would dissolve into acceptance. The procedures would be legal, safe, and rare.
Many did not walk down that road of thought.
But rare it is becoming. We have looked through the window of the womb and many of us have found ourselves.
The shift in thinking today seems to spring from a scientific view–not a religious one. An accusation in the early days of the argument was that those who opposed abortion sought to impose a religious view on the non-religious. Continue reading “Abortion: The Issue that Never Dies”

Young America Rethinking Roe

America is forty-four years after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion for any reason and at any time during pregnancy (provided you could find a doctor to do it–and many have). But the tide is turning.

Or perhaps has turned.

The Guttmacher Institute–which supports abortion and tracks its numbers–says abortions are happening at half the rate of the peak years of the 1980s.

The institute’s report says, “it is unclear whether the most recent decline in abortion is due to fewer women’s having unintended pregnancies, more women being unable to access abortion services or some combination of these dynamics.”

Which seems to eliminate other possibilities. Even so, the report acknowledges that, even in some places where access to abortion increased, rates came down.

Continue reading “Young America Rethinking Roe”

Shaping our brains; shaping our souls

In When Breath Becomes Air, neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi tells the story of a patient who insisted on having a brain tumor removed against the advice of his surgeons.
The tumor was situated in a critical speech center in the brain. Excising it was likely to render the patient speechless for life.
Kalanithi was about to ask the attending physician why the surgery was proceeding when he received his answer. He met the patient.
The man dished out a “litany of profanity and exhortation” demanding that the doctors get “this thing out of my [expletive deleted] brain” (111).
At the operation’s conclusion, Kalanithi had a new question:”How was he still talking?”
He surmised that profanity “supposedly ran on a slightly different circuit from the rest of language. Perhaps the tumor had caused his brain to rewire somehow” (112). Continue reading “Shaping our brains; shaping our souls”

Time: The Giver of Choices

Some of us get more of it than others. None of us knows exactly when it will end for us. We complain that there is not enough of it. Or that there is too much between where we are and what we want.
Some smart people even say it’s an illusion. But illusory or real, it binds us all.
Time never seems to do what we want it to do. But how to use it is up to us–even in the worst of circumstances.
Natan Sharansky spent nine years in Soviet prisons and camps. He endured many days in a punishment cell–with little food or warmth. He endured hunger strikes that weakened his heart.
He endured. Continue reading “Time: The Giver of Choices”

Life: A Series of Heights and Depths

He was one of my first teachers in college. The class was Philosophy 004. He would teach me Plato’s Theory of Ideas and Aristotle’s Golden Mean. There were side journeys through Nietzsche and Heidegger, but Plato and Aristotle are the ones who stuck best.
I was not a traditional student. I was 32 years old, newly divorced. Juggling five children, a part-time job, and a full-time class schedule.
He had come to our small campus via the larger university and, before that, received an ivy league undergrad degree. He had been a prodigy.
He taught me Aristotle’s understanding of the three kinds of life people can lead. How we can get caught up in the vulgar or entangled in the political. But that the happiest life to lead is a contemplative one. Continue reading “Life: A Series of Heights and Depths”

Guest Blog from a Dog's Eye View

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself,” Josh Billings.
(Boomer fills in for Nancy E. today.)
I’ve been in this house for a season now. I’ve gotten to know them–he and she–the two humans who live here with me.
They take care of me. And I take care of them. Continue reading “Guest Blog from a Dog's Eye View”

Wonder in Sick Days

“We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders,” G.K. Chesterton.
 Last week, I had the blessing of being sick. Good timing. After Christmas. When there’s time for not doing much.
Wednesday: A granddaughter is sick along with me. Two bad cases of winter yuck: coughing and head stuff. We each claim a couch and a blanket. I put in a DVD of Twilight Zone episodes. Black and white images flicker in the glow of a wood fire and a lit tree.
We find a twilight of wonder with Rod Serling voicing over our dreams. Continue reading “Wonder in Sick Days”