And for this, I am grapeful.
Todd Anderson: Truth like-like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold.
John Keating: [some of the class start to laugh] Forget them, forget them! Stay with the blanket. Tell me about that blanket!
Todd Anderson: Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it’ll never be enough. You kick at it, beat it, it’ll never cover any of us. From the moment we enter crying t-to the moment we leave dying, it’ll just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream…
It’s kind of been a week of bad news, hasn’t it? It seems like bad things happen in clusters, and for many this week has been one giant cluster. From the horrific atrocities in the middle east to loss of a beloved celebrity to struggles of family and friends, it has just been one if those times when you can’t help but be painfully aware that this world just is not as it should be. This is a broken and dirty and diseased world, and creation is groaning under the weight of it all. This is not what we were created for.
I saw it written somewhere this week that all around us in this world we see Christ’s crucifixion. You know, metaphorically speaking. It’s true. Look around and you don’t have to search far for what appears to be death’s victory over us and evil towering over our hopes and attempting to crush our hearts. It can be oppressive and thick in the air around us at times and I can understand why some might start to feel abandoned and angry. I can see how others can feel hopeless and defeated.
But what I want to tell you is that if we keep looking we can also see evidence of what this world was meant to be and what it will be again. We see the creation. We see the resurrection. It’s all around us too, if we just keep our faces turned upward. In reality death is the dirty, insufficient shroud trying to hide that fact and smother us with hopelessness, but it’s not nearly sufficient for the task. Even though this week I’m faced with the reality that sometimes death wins the battle, I hold tight to the fact that the war is already won. We have been given the privilege of a glimpse at the end of the book so I already know how this story resolves, friends, and it is with a victory.
…but it can be hard in the middle chapters sometimes. Creation cries out for its Creator as it bears the weight of it all and here we are in the waiting, where people are sick and children are being murdered and our favorite sweet clowns are succumbing to their inner pain.
When we feel covered by the dark shroud, or when relief from the pain is like that short blanket that just won’t cover? I think we just persevere, and we pray, and we cling to our God and we love each other. We try our best to make things easier for each other when we can. We laugh when it seems unreasonable to do so (shout out to Robin). We act kindly and tenderly to each other even when anger seems more justified. Because the rest is in more powerful hands and because in the end of the story, we know that love and grace cover all.
I’m about to say something that is going to upset some of you.
I mean, I’m not looking to break any hearts or anything. I just call ‘em how I sees ‘em and sometimes some things just need to be spoken.
Alright, ready? Here goes:
Fifty Shades of Gray is basically Twilight, but with kink in place of vampirism. *
Except, you know, by basically I mean exactly. As in, if I were the author of Twilight, I’d be contacting my lawyers and rubbing my hands together Mr. Burns-style, ’cause somebody would be writing mamma a big ol’ plagiarism check.
Don’t believe me? Let’s review our best-selling novel recipe: You have a stunningly beautiful yet somehow socially invisible girl who crosses paths with a devastatingly handsome yet emotionally unavailable/dangerous guy who warns her to stay away because he’s so emotionally damaged/unavailable/dangerous, but she just can’t. There’s also the great guy in the wings who loves her but who I suppose is not an option based on his boring tendency to not take her immortal soul/beat her til she bleeds, the few same disinterested friends, and the same set of completely uninvolved yet endearing parents. There’s tons of money/fast cars/private planes/incredible homes which serve to make the dangerous guy mire mysteriously alluring. There’s the transformation by which the heroine only becomes fully secure and beautiful once she becomes what she needs to become in order to be with him. There’s something/someone who threatens to take the devastatingly handsome/dangerous/unavailable man away. And just as a super-fun kicker, we find out that our supposed heroine teeters between being literally unable to function without him and snarling like an insecure turd any time this blissful relationship is threatened.
I don’t get it.
It’s kinda’ gross when you think about it. Is this some sort of recipe that just appeals to that many women? I didn’t get it with Twilight, and I don’t get it with Fifty. Were I Bella, I’d have run off with Jacob (I’m pretty used to the shedding anyway). If I were…what’s her face from 50 Shades, I’d be married to the nice guy friend who never stood a chance based on his…what was it? His regard for her as a human being rather than a possession maybe? The fact that she was certain he probably wouldn’t kill her the minute they were alone? I dunno’.
Most people would assume that if someone is going all Judgey McJudgeypants on this novel it would be because of the sex, but on my list of issues with this novel the kinky sex doesn’t even rate. If you’re into that thing, fine I guess, I ain’t mad atcha’ (although if someone I was involved with became so violent and scary that I ran traumatized from the room, the term “deal-breaker” doesn’t even come close to being sufficient). You do your thing, girl. Different, uh…strokes for different folks and all that.
The more disturbing thing to me is this pattern that the books share, and what it says about us that this is what’s being sold to us as exciting and romantic. It’s that we are being sold the idea that a relationship where you are willing to take a beating or literally lose your eternal soul just to be with a guy as dreamy that bothers me. The the chapter where they’re separated so the girl stares out of her window practically in a coma for a season or three being sold to us as something romantic. The idea that the girl runs from a lifestyle that terrifies her only to run right back as proof of an undeniable love or some unbreakable bond. The lie that a girl can be responsible for soothing the broken soul of a jealous and possessive man with unconditional love and/or unconditional sex. Those things are problems for me. Those things are problems for me as a woman, and they’re problems for me as a mother of daughters.
So what’s my point, I guess you’re asking. I’m not saying you should feel guilty if you have read them and got a kick out of them. I’m reallyreally not. I’m just saying, recognize what these books are saying once you get past the titillating bits and pieces. Don’t buy into the message of the dysfunctional relationship with handsome jealous/abusive guy as what love is supposed to look like. That’s all I ask. Because it’s super not.
I’m just gonna’ hop down off my soap box now.
* I realize there are some of you who are all, “And? Twilight was awesome literature, what’s your point?” and to those I say, “Go away, I cannot speak to you.” Twilight was a fun little thing that happened and yes I read them too and even saw one of the movies, but it’s time for us to move on and admit reality, girls…and middle aged women with Edward tshirts.
A year or so ago we found ourselves with a tiny newborn kitten that my mom found in the Walmart parking lot. He was so eensy that he looked like a bobble head, and we had to feed him from a bottle. It was the cutest thing…until we realized that he was also too little to pee and poop on his own.
Oh, you didn’t know that was a thing? Well it is. The mamma cat has to, uh…help them if you know what I mean and I think you do (it’s enough to make you thankful you’re a human mom and not feline mom, let’s just say). So, several times a day we had to get a wet paper towel and kind of go to town on the kitten’s more delicate areas. And it isn’t just like you can attend to this task half-heartedly. There’s a certain way it has to be done to get any sort of result, and I might even go so far as to say it’s sort of an art form. A sad, sad art form that leaves you feeling a little weird about yourself, but I digress.
As it happened, we had a beach vacation planned right in the middle of this kitten fostering and so we had to pack this eensy little guy up in a shoebox and head to Florida with him nestled in the back seat. We stopped in the parking lot of a Zaxby’s on the way and the girls were arguing over who had the last kitten bathroom duty and I snapped, y’all, and out of my mouth flew the following sentence:
”ANNA CATHARINE, TAKE THAT KITTEN AND GO POOP IT RIGHT NOW, DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?”
As soon as it left my lips we all stopped and stared at each other for about five beats of silence and then cracked up simultaneously.
To date that had held the title of The Weirdest Thing I’d Ever Said. Until now.
Jolene the foster cat has ringworm. I think. Either ringworm or cat leprosy, which I don’t think is a thing but can’t be sure. And look, I’m all about giving this hussy a temporary home until she has her babies and all, but I’m not super down with taking her to the vet and incurring expensive vet bills if I can help it (Before you judge me, remind yourself that I’m housing a stray pregnant cat with ringworm. Give a girl a break). I did a little Googling and vinegar is good for treating ringworm so twice a day I say the following as if it’s the most normal thing ever:
“Has anybody vinegared the cat today?”
This is what it’s come to, people.
Also, I just realized we’ve turned “vinegar” into a verb. Somebody call Webster’s.