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Hypocriticism

Tonight we had more odd electrical phenomena, making me glad a visit from my daddy, known as “Grandaddy” to Mythankfulboy, will be visiting soon.  Not the only reason, of course. He was originally due tomorrow, but the trip was postponed a few days.  We can go without lighting in the kitchen for a few days, right?

B is sleeping on the couch after having found 2 ants on his bed.  The dog loves it, because B pulls the dog’s ottoman up to the couch beside him (since the dog is not allowed on the couch) and they snuggle up.  Once they were in place tonight, I read Affirmation #457, by Reverend Edward Everett Hale, from the gray hymnal as our chalice reading:

I am only one

But still I am one.

I cannot do everything,

But still I can do something.

And because I cannot do everything

I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

I closed the hymnal and waited for a response.

B said, “Huh?”

I laughed.  I have to admit, by the time I had gotten to the end, the reading was feeling a little Seussian.  So I read it again, slowly.  He still had no idea what it meant, so I interpreted for him that looking at big problems and thinking “I’m too small to change that big problem” means nothing will ever change.  Instead, look at the big problem, and if it makes you think it’s really not fair, think “That makes me really mad. I’m going to do what I can do.”  If you do that, chances are others will join you, but even if they don’t, you will have some impact, and that matters.

He said, “Huh”, this time as in “I hadn’t thought of it that way before”.

I said, “I wonder what’s going to make you really mad?”  He answered, “Right now, it’s hypocriticism (hippo-criticism).”  “Wow”, said I. “That’s a pretty great word without actually being a word.”  “You know what I mean – when somebody gets all over somebody else but they do the same thing.”  “Yep, sounds like ‘hypocriticism’ to me, and that could make me mad.  How would you go about changing something like that?” I asked.  “I have no idea”, he responded.

I had no answers for him.  We talked a bit about why it made him mad (unfairness), why someone might hypocriticize (oh yeah, now we’re conjugating it), and what you’d really have to change to change the behavior.  To tie up the conversation, I re-worded my original thought – that I was looking forward to seeing what community or world issues made his heart hurt enough to fight for as he got older.

He said, “Me too.”

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Lucky in love

I realize that Upworthy has been criticized for regurgitating information it finds elsewhere on the web, but I have to say I appreciate their efforts, and am genuinely moved by some of the things I see there.  Tonight I borrowed a little interview done by Basscreative.com production of comedian Michael Jr., which, if I’m understanding the way it’s being credited, came from a video series called I Like Giving.  Anyhoo – it was a lovely segment about a comedian who, one night before going on stage, had the sudden realization that he shouldn’t be trying to get laughs, he should be giving laughs, and that realization changed the way he moved in the world.  He said that life is like a joke – there’s a set-up and then there’s a punch line.  He said anybody can deliver that punch line – essentially, anybody can make a difference.  This resounded to me, making me think of the chalice lighting last night (receive, carry, give back).

I invited B into my room to watch this on my computer, and he curled up in my bed while I sat in my desk chair, backed up to the bed.  Naturally, there was a point at which I cried.  He’s used to this from his emotional momma.  He softly laid his hand on my shoulder, and left it there for the remainder of the video.  When the segment was done, I said, “We are very, very lucky.”  He ran the back of his hand down my wet cheek, as I’ve done a million times to him, and said, “I know.”  We really didn’t need to say anything more.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Receive, carry, give back

Today was the last scrimmage before the real games begin!  Mythankfulboy had been worried he might not get played on a team with almost twice as many players as there are positions, but he did – right field, pitching, and catching.  He played well, and they were in winning until the last inning when the other team took the lead and the game was called because of time limitations.  It is going to be very hard for me to not be at all of his games, but 3:45 in the afternoon is just murder for a person who works.

On our way home, he got the gum and the milkshake he had requested last evening.  He was in high spirits when we arrived home, and did a little work around the house (he even washed his own uniform – talk about feeling grateful!)  Dinner, teeth, no studying because it’s state testing week, and so on to bed and the chalice lighting.  This morning he had felt pretty crummy, and tonight, post-adrenaline, he began to feel it again, making him quite ready for bed.  Tonight we read #455 from the gray hymnal, by Dag Hammarskjold:

Each morning we must hold out the chalice of our being to receive, to carry, and give back.

So simple, but there was a lot to talk about.  There was the concept of ourselves as vessels, and of the meanings behind the symbol of our chalice.  There was the idea that it is a responsibility to give of ourselves, and it is a responsibility to fill ourselves up with that which is then good for us to carry, and good for us to give.  We talked about how we each thought we were doing with the three aspects; I said I thought that I was quick to carry and give, but that I had to remind myself to slow down and receive, and to make time to be with the people who fill me up.  I named some adults I would include in that crowd.  He said, “Aren’t you missing someone?”  So I named some more folks.  He said, “Um, still one more obvious person.”  “Who?” I asked.  “ME!” he exclaimed.  “Oh yeah.  And you!” I said, laughing.  He said he thought he was “just okay” and “getting better” at all three.  He said, “Look!  I’m reading instead of playing Xbox!”  (A reference to filling himself up with good things – it was true – quietly ensconced in bed, waiting for me to arrive to light the chalice, he had been reading.)  And he said he wasn’t always sure how to give, except to open doors and help people out when he saw they needed something.  I told him I had seen him encourage a teammate today who took a mistake on the field pretty hard.  He said, “Yeah – I don’t always know what to say.  I mean, when I feel like that, nothing anybody says makes it better because I know what I did.”  I suggested that the goal wasn’t to make him think a mistake wasn’t a mistake, but remind him that a mistake didn’t run him off the team, or out of the lineup – that everyone makes mistakes and can understand how he feels.  I also told him I didn’t think he had to say anything, but patting him on the back when you passed by could do the trick.  I could see he was thinking about it.

And, a side note that I’d like to remember – at B’s scrimmage today, the team bench was placed beside the bleachers so that it lined up with the lowest seat on the bleachers.  I sat in the second row, on the bench side.  About the fourth inning, B was sitting out as other kids rotated into the game.  He walked over and plunked down beside me.  Neither of us thought much about it until his coach saw him and whispered in his ear, loudly enough for me to hear, “You don’t sit with your mom at a baseball game.”  B laughed and skipped down to sit with his teammates on the bench.  I looked up at the other moms, who were uniformly giving me the pouty lip, as though to say “He just had to blow it for you, didn’t he?”  I had to laugh when, not 10 minutes later, B sat down on the row beneath me and turned to face me, steadying himself by putting his forearm on my leg, and started telling me about his day.  I don’t think Coach saw him that time…

Receive, carry, give back.  May it be so.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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I love our church

B spent the weekend at his dad’s, and I was ready to see his sweet face when he got back.  He walked in, and I was taken aback at the teenager he was.  Nothing little boy about this little boy of mine anymore.  A few days apart really makes it obvious.

After putting his things away he came to stand in front of me (where I was sitting, taking a break from cleaning) and announced he had made straight A’s.  Woohoo!  Wait a minute.  “What about the D you made on the math test the other day?”  “Oh, that was the new marking period”, he said happily.  He then asked if he could have a little reward.  I asked what he had in mind.  He said 11 kisses.  I said, of course.  He said nevermind, he could get those anytime. (Ouch!  But I guess he’s right…)  He then asked if I would take him to get a week’s worth of gum for the state testing to occur this week and a milkshake, in celebration.  I told him to take the gum he got from his Easter basket, and we’d work something out tomorrow, after his baseball game.  “O-kay”, he said, a little disappointed.

The chalice lighting was quick – mythankfulboy was stressing about the exams and wanted to get to sleep.  I read from the chalice lightings in the gray hymnal, # 471, “arranged by” Reverend L. Griswold Williams:

Love is the doctrine of this church,

The quest of truth is its sacrament,

And service is its prayer.

To dwell together in peace,

To seek knowledge in freedom,

To serve human need,

To the end that all souls shall grow into harmony with the Divine —

Thus do we covenant with each other and with God.

When I closed the hymnal, B nodded and said, “I love our church.”  “Me, too”, I said, sitting on the edge of his bed.  “What are you thankful for tonight?” I asked.  He said he was thankful that he got to do tryouts for summer baseball (his dad somehow missed that they were Saturday, but they’re going to give B a make-up date).  I said I was thankful that he was home.  He hummed to himself appreciatively.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A stone from my collection

It’s our late evening, which more or less takes us from the car to the bedtime routine.  Mythankfulboy hates having a secret about something that is making him feel guilty, so, before we got things rolling he cornered me and said, “Remember that math test I felt pretty good about?”  “Yeah….”, I respond, slowly.  “Well, I didn’t do so well.”  “How well is ‘not so well’?” I asked.  “A 67″.  “Oh. How did everyone else do?”  His rate of speech picked up considerably. “Most of the class failed it – (list of friend and acquaintance names) all got scores in the 50’s, and (name of kid who consistently does well) got a 7 out of 42. He cried.”  “And what did your teacher say about it?”  “She didn’t say anything.  She just gave them back.”  “So”, I began, “You know what this means, right?”  “Yeah. All my math homework and studying with you.”  “Yep. For the rest of the year” I commanded.  “Okay”, he said, with a hint of what may have been relief.

That off his chest, he happily skipped off to grab a snack and get his stuff together for his baseball team pictures and first game, tomorrow.  We’re supposed to have thunderstorms. Maybe they’ll be wrong, but he’s excited either way.  I alternated filling out the picture order form and throwing the ball for the dog who has been neglected all day while B got creative for his grandmother’s birthday card.  Those tasks done, the normal routine kicked in, down to the chalice lighting and thankfulness ritual.

Tonight, I read chalice lighting #469, The Spirit of Wisdom from Wisdom of Solomon 7

I am mortal, like everyone else, a descendant of the first formed child of earth, and in the womb of a mother was I moulded into flesh within a period of ten months.

When I was born I began to breathe the common air, and fell upon the kindred earth.  My first sound was a cry, as is true of all.

I was nursed with care in swaddling cloths; no king has had a different beginning of existence.

There is for all one entrance and one way out.  Therefore I prayed, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.

I closed the gray hymnal quietly and looked up at B.  He said, “I like the part about all of us being from one place.”   I nodded, “And I like the part about all starting out the same way, all needing the same basic, simple, things.  Food, warmth, love.”  He nodded.  We were quiet a moment, then he broke the silence saying, “I’m thankful for Peepeye (his pet name for my mother) turning 77.”  I said, “I’m thankful that you took the time tonight to do more than just sign her card.  It will make her so happy, and it made me proud.”  B included in his Peepeye’s card a pretty turquoise stone, and wrote, “For your birthday, I’m sending you a stone from my collection so you can think about me like I think about you all the time.”  This is the first time he’s really made this kind of an effort for someone’s birthday.  It was, and it seems to this biased momma that he is, so very dear.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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From the first day of spring March 20, 2015

Happy first day of snowy spring!  Today we regressed from bare earth to six inches of snow to welcome in the spring.  I should probably apologize right up front, because I’m the one who was praying for it.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of snow, coming from the southern regions of the US. Maybe if I lived in Boston…

They did, however, do a great job clearing the roads by nightfall, so off to dodgeball practice we went. On the way home, mythankfulboy slipped into his imitation of a southern twang, and I thought to play a voicemail for him from my momma, who he calls Peepeye, from New Year’s Eve of 2011. She was calling to tell B that “Juhstin Beeeber is gonna be own CeeBeeAyus (CBS) in a mihniht”. Just delicious. I told him I was so sorry he wouldn’t grow up with that accent. He smiled.

Once home, he went straight to bed. Having used up all his screen time earlier in the day, and having finished his book the night before, he was sort of stumped as to what to do with himself. We lit the chalice, and I read chalice lighting #451, by Leslie Phol-Kosbau:

“Flame of fire, spark of the universe that warmed our ancestral hearth – agent of life and death, symbol of truth and freedom.  We strive to understand ourselves and our earthly home.”

B said, “There’s not much to say about that.” I offered, “I think a lot of people are working to understand why we got snow in our earthly home on the first day of spring.” He laughed. “And I probably had my last fire in our hearth tonight, don’t you think?” He said no – he thought I’d eek out a few more. He’s probably right.

He sent me on an errand to fetch him some water (for which I extracted 11 kisses on the cheek), and I asked for what he was thankful. “For you, for your momma, for dodgeball, for the roads being good enough to get there, and for you taking me.” (He must have been thinking while I went for the water.) I said I was thankful for our hearth, and also for his not giving me too much guff when I told him his time was up with screens and to find something else to do. He said it looked easier than it was (!). Then he said, “Tell me again why I can’t just play if I have the time?” “Because it keeps you from using your brain for other things, including being creative enough to come up with something to do besides playing Xbox!” I blew out the candle, and told him I loved him and was slipping out of his room when I heard him say, playfully, “But MOM!”

From the hallway I said, “Oh NO! Is that whining in my household?!” He yelled, “No! It’s yelling!” I yelled back, “OH NO! IS THAT YELLING IN MY HOUSEHOLD?!!” He laughed and yelled, “I LOVE YOU MOM!” I stuck my head back around the doorframe and said, “I love you, too, Snicker.”

(which is short for Snickerdoodle…)

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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We need one another

Baseball practice, shopping for baseball pants and cleats, registering for summer camps, Criminal Minds, and the chalice lighting.  The reading tonight, #468 from the gray hymnal:

We Need One Another by George E. Odell

We need one another when we mourn and would be comforted.

We need one another when we are in trouble and afraid.

We need one another when we are in despair, in temptation, and need to be recalled to our best selves again.

We need one another in the hour of success, when we look for someone to share our triumphs.

We need one another in the hour of defeat, when with encouragement we might endure, and stand again.

We need one another when we come to die, and would have gentle hands prepare us for the journey.

All our lives we are in need, and others are in need of us.

Mythankfulboy and I were both thankful for having registered for Ferry Beach, the magical Unitarian Universalist camp we attend each summer.  Then I brought us back to the chalice reading by saying I was very grateful that we have each other, and that we have very good friends, to whom we can turn to in “the hour of success” and when we “need to be recalled to our best selves again.”  B said, “We’re lucky we agree on just about everything.”  (I’m sure, though, he would have noted that we don’t always agree on number of hours spent gaming or on bedtime, had he thought about it.)

When he says things like that, I wonder how long he will feel that way, and what interesting, or difficult, moments may come when we don’t agree on everything.  B and I have some pretty amazing parent-teen and parent-young adult role models in our UU community, and they give me confidence that, agree or disagree, he and I will always be there for one another when push comes to shove.  Oh mercy, may it be so.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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