Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fifty Shades of Love

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day—the day a certain nine-month old granddaughter blew her first kiss. 

Goodness, it was sweet.

She’s slowly adding to her repertoire of communication.  There’s a hi and a bye, and a night-night, (all accompanied with profuse waving) and sometimes a ba-anna.

Language acquisition—what a thing to behold, especially with nouns and actions that aren’t concrete.  It’s clear how babies learn a banana is a ba-anna, and with a little more experience, how night is night, but what about a more intangible noun (or verb) like love.


It’s taught/learned in the bonding process.  And there is no fooling a baby.  Not in the beginning anyway.  You either provide what she needs, and she thrives which includes learning to love, or you don’t, and she fails to thrive.

As a baby’s experience of the world increases, though, their instincts for what is love and what is not can be lost.  You can abuse, neglect, not act lovingly toward a child even as you continue proclaiming your love, and your child will probably believe you—but not without consequence. A disconnect will be created because there will be a discrepancy between what their senses are telling them and by what you are telling them.   It will skew their ability to judge, and change how and what they think and feel about love.

Most people, regardless of faith, consider this portion of the 13th chapter in 1 Corinthians, to contain a standard of love.  The way of love, if you will.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I’ve read these words from the perspective of me being the giver of love—the doer of love.  What I should strive for. Now I’m reading them as the receiver.  If this is what a child receives, there won’t be internal conflict between proclamations of love and the actions that accompany them.

It begins the construction of a foundation of what love really is.

As a child matures into an adult, there will be other influences, other things they see, hear, and experience—sometimes at critical points of development that will shape them.  That’s why many parents do their best to keep graphic sex and violence away from their children as long as possible. 

It has the power to change how they feel about love.

I first heard about the book FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY on a morning talk show.  The author, E.L. James was being interviewed.  She said she had no idea the book would strike such a chord with women.  She wrote it in reaction to her mid-life crises.  It was just a fantasy.

The premise of the book does nothing for me.  Pain does not bring me pleasure.  When I think of someone submitting to pain, I think of Jesus on His journey to the cross.  No pleasure, only pain.  Pain endured for the purest of reasons—love. Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for another.

I’m not judging Miss James.  I have no idea what kind of life she’s had.  If I wrote a Steamy Fantasy According to Lisa, and I wrote it honestly, it would raise eyebrows.  It would be a bad mix of the romance novels I consumed in adolescence, a few experiences I’ve had at critical junctures while growing up and in my dating years, and the joy I feel in my marriage.

I wouldn’t be proud of it as a whole because some of it would have been borne of a very fallen world, and I don’t want to be tantalized in that way again.  It would remind me of the discrepancy I’ve felt between the love people have proclaimed for me and the reality of their actions.

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY has caused an up-roar.  People say the story has nothing to do with love and everything to do with encouraging violence and rape against women.

Maybe so.

I just wish we were talking more about the foundation of love we give our children to begin with.  The tantalizing, the provocative, the violent, the over sexualization of girls in particular—it’s everywhere

We can’t protect our young people from everything, but I wish as a culture we saw more value in keeping garbage from our children and adolescents—garbage that changes who they become. 

The book may encourage deviant behaviior, but it didn’t create the millions of women who enjoyed the fantasy.

We did that to ourselves.

The Language of Love, though not always congruent with action, has deteriorated to the crudest of states. 

The Way of Love—too many of us are clueless.

Words and Actions.

What we have to offer others.

The more we offer love in its endless and beautiful shades, the more fluent we all become. 

Speaking of fluent, as I was writing this (and I’m not kidding), the bambina picked up another word—la—as she and her mother were singing, “Sing, baby, sing, la la la la la…

There’s no time to waste.  Who this baby will become is already happening.  Whatever part of her development that is my responsiblility/opportunity is happening now.  And I can’t fake how I feel about love—whatever I give her has to really be the way I see it.  Ergo, if I have a place that’s been adulterated, it’s my job to work through it, so what I give her is as pure and good as it can be.  

If I write anything, it should be Fifty Shades of Love.

Because I love her in at least that many ways.

All in Goodwill,

Friday, January 23, 2015

About Our Wedding Anniversary...

Dear Samson,

About our 28th wedding anniversary —the evening hours specifically.   Some things happened which I’ve neglected to mention for the last three days.

Maddie, who was with me, may give you a different version of what transpired—but you know how she leans toward exaggeration for effect.

Our anniversary, if you recall, was on Tuesday the 20th of January.  That morning I woke up to flowers and some very thoughtful gifts. 

You did not.

Maddie had been sick, and I allowed it to waylay me in planning for you.

I’m sorry.

I thought I’d make it up to you in the evening, even though Maddie and I were working—if you consider directing mystery dinner theater work.  Which we hope you do.

That night’s performance went long, and caused some stress, and there was a substantial amount of cleanup afterwards.  Even if we had gone home upon finishing at 9:45 PM, you would have been asleep by the time we made it up the drive.

So what did we do instead of going home?

Funny you should ask.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Swaddle Up!

Swaddle Up!

My first grandchild was born earlier this year.  We wrapped her in cotton cloths.  Soft ones.  We called her our burrito.  Sometimes when she slept, we were tempted to wake her, to have our eyes meet hers, to give her yet another hundred kisses. 

After a few weeks, we fell away from swaddling—I’m not sure why.  Maybe we thought she had adjusted to life outside of her mother’s womb.  But she became unsettled, the nervous system wasn’t in control of unruly limbs, open space and complete freedom wasn’t comforting.  Her world was too big for her to manage. 

It would be a few days before we would put two and two together. 

Our baby missed being wrapped up. 

Friday, November 7, 2014


Dear Readers--are there still readers?

Let's try this:

Dear Friends…

Are there still friends?


Dear Person Who is Reading (because she forgot to unsubsribe),

I am here, as I hope you are there.

Life is a gift.

Insights like this make for riveting posts.



It feels good to connect--if even for a minute with an unoriginal thought.

Life is a gift.

I'm thankful.

Hope you are all doing well.

All in Goodwill,


Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Year Ago Today

Thirty-one years ago today, my son-in-law Aaron came into this world.  

A year ago today, Aaron and my daughter Madeline discovered they would be having a Sweet Bobblehead.  

What a year it's been for Aaron and Madeline and our whole family.  

In April (on Madeline's birthday), Aaron was lying in the ER getting a diagnosis of acute MS.  He couldn't walk or use his hands properly.  His vision was way off.  

There were moments in the months of hospitalization that followed when we thought we might lose him.  But the relapses finally stopped and his body (and weight) had a chance to stabilize.

We have praised God every moment of this last year--even at our lowest--His love and care for us ever present.  Family and friends prayed for us, rallied around us, kept our spirits focused on what was good.

We thank you all.

Today Aaron is walking unaided.  His vision is back.  He's driving again.  He's back to looking for a position in the museum field.  

But now he has a baby girl--a real joy-giver who loves him and thinks his monkey noises are the best.

She's right.  

Our family has grown closer to God and to one another even while there have been rough patches--even if Madeline and I periodically argue over whose turn it is to cook.  

I'm usually right.  

Don't listen to what she says.

Our awareness of others has increased, too.  

Sometimes when we're out in public, I notice people watching Aaron walk--his gait is not a perfectly "normal" one.  I wonder what's going through their minds--maybe they suspect he's been imbibing.  Maybe they think what  I now think when I see people who are not walking/behaving "normally"--I wonder if they have MS or ALS or some other challenging disorder/disease--and I stop what I'm doing and pray for them.  

We could all use a little prayer.

We pray for the future of our family, hoping above all else that Love remains our Constant.

Happy Birthday, Aaron.  

Speaking of love--you have ours.

All in Goodwill,