Wednesday, July 10, 2013

When We're Living It, It Is a Mess

When I went to Mass this morning, our associate pastor said he had been watching a program on The Eagles (the music group) last night and in an interview with Joe Walsh, he said that in looking back at their history now, it looks like a well-written novel, but that when they were living it, it was a mess. Our priest applied that to the First Reading, when Joseph's brothers come to get food in Egypt, not realizing that the man who has the power to feed them is actually the brother they sold years before.  To the brothers, it certainly doesn't look like God is in charge of their lives except that they are being punished for selling their brother, and their treks back and forth to and from Egypt must have seemed like a very messy business.

It was a very appropriate homily for me to hear, right now when I am living each day with the mess left by the flood in part of the house, taking pictures of things I want to get rid of so that my daughters can take anything they want, finally getting in touch with the IT manager at my husband's company so that I can return his computer and have them give me any personal information that was on it (knowing my husband, there was very little other than his contacts which I already have), and clearing out some of the 7 file cabinets that are scattered around the house.  But in order to get to one, I have to clear out the bookshelves that are in front of the closet where the cabinet is currently parked, and I'm not quite sure where to put all the books that I haven't donated to the law school library.  It's a little like doing a Rubik's cube, where you can only move a small number of things at a time, then move a few others, and hope you made the right decision.

My washer and dryer are hooked back up, but the washer doesn't have access to hot water, since we haven't replaced the hot water heater because we're still waiting to hear from the insurance company, but at least I can do most of my washing and drying without another trip to the laundromat.  The asbestos has been removed along with the last of the parquet flooring, and I am planning to put in a laminated wood flooring that will be practical, easy to clean, and can stand up to both my home business as well as the pitter patter and thud thud of the grandchildren scampering and roaring across the floor.  My reconstruction agent and decorator is looking for left over tile to put in the laundry room so I won't have to worry about the machines gouging huge holes in that flooring.

I have been re-reading The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World (Familiaris Consortio) by Blessed John Paul II, and came upon a sentence that I must have completely missed when I read it the first time:  "Children must grow up with a correct attitude of freedom with regard to material goods, by adopting a simple and austere life style and being fully convinced that 'man is more precious for what he is than for what he has.'"  That word "austere" has been troubling me since I read it, and I even discussed it with my confessor whom I saw this morning.  While we always tried to avoid conspicuous consumption, and I can remember pointing out to one daughter that if I were to work outside the home, we could have many of the things she had been admiring at her friend's house, I don't know that I ever tried to teach them to live austerely, though I was often reading books on how to live more simply.  But perhaps I was only meant to come upon it now, as I am beginning to think through this next reconstruction, so that I can accomplish it simply and perhaps even austerely.  But that word seems a very high hurdle to me.  I found myself wondering what the original word was in Polish and if it had the same somewhat unpleasant ring to it in that language.  But it could also be that this was the first day of my attempt to live without sugar, and that has left me feeling a bit grumpy about many things!

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