We are culture full of mooing affirmations. We accentuate the positive and avoid the negative. However, what you deny is as important as what you affirm.
Think about it.
If you ask a friend what she loves, that will tell you something about her.
But ask her what she hates. The answer to that question will reveal a different side.
The Proverbs illustrate this, don’t they? In one verse you see the antithesis: A false balance is abomination to the Lord; but a just weight is his delight.
In the spirit of affirmations and denials I’ve been compiling a Loathsome List. Strictly speaking, some of the items are more irritating or annoying than loathsome. And just because it lands on the list doesn’t mean that I’ve banished it from my life (particularly # 1 and #11). And what may be loathsome (can you tell I like how that word rolls off the tongue?) to me may be acceptable to you. So we allow each other a measure of quirkiness.
So what about you, my friend? What do you hate?
Carol’s Loathsome List1. Standing-overnight
2. Bitter cucumber
3. The demise of
4. Hearing harmony
6. Screaming, kicking tantrums in the grocery store
7. Quiet tantrums held within my head.
8. Any email with a
promise postscripted if you forward it to five people
9. A mosquito’s buzz
near the pillow
10. Racist comments,
11. Produce I’ve let
spoil in the fridge
12. Cut-off telephone
conversations without a proper farewell
13. A good book with
the last pages missing (not theoretical)
14. An unreconciled bank statement
15. A listener to gossip
16. Litter (written the day after July 4th)
17. 105° without air conditioning
18. Used gum in inappropriate places (underneath tables, on the street)
19. A stain on a favorite white tee shirt
20. Interest paid for consumables – like throwing $20 bills out the back door
Picture by deviantART.
We have lost a sense of reverence and respect in our culture.
Silence is an endangered species.
People seem to be allergic to quiet.
Friday evening my husband and I went to the symphony and sat in front of folks who talked through large portions of the music. They did not whisper. They did not pass a note. They talked in normal conversational tones. Their need to comment on the music overrode any sense of respect for the musicians and the fellow patrons. How rude!
Saturday afternoon I attended the funeral of a lovely 96-year old woman. Sitting in the sanctuary, listening to the organ prelude could have been a lovely time of reflection and prayer, were it not for the two women near the back who conversed in loud voices that carried across the room. They were oblivious to the turned heads, the furrowed brows, the hairy eyeballs, the multiple mute pleas to be quiet. What would have been appropriate for the grocery aisle was so wrong before a gathering to honor the deceased. It wasn’t fitting. It was a time to keep silence, a time to bow the head, a time to contemplate our own mortality.
“The world would be happier if men had the same capacity to be silent that they have to speak.”
~ Baruch Spinoza
End of rant.
Summer Reading Challenge….eeeyeahhh. I’ve gotten a little sidetracked, but in my mind the other books were always considered addendums not substitutions, and there were certainly good reasons to read them. This week I got back to my SRC list and started The Tolkien Reader. I was given a very nice bonus. A bonus as in an unexpected gift.
[aside for a rant: I work one afternoon/week in a pharmacy as an accountant. I get sooo annoyed when employees approach me in a buzzard-like way wanting to know exactly when the Christmas bonus will come. A bonus is not an entitlement. Really.]
As I read Tolkien’s essay On Fairy-Stories, I realized I should have read this before I read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. It was impossible for me to keep characters in their right category because none of categories made sense to me. I remember asking our Latin class what an elf was. They all knew. My youngest son, who was practically a Tolkien scholar by age nine, was very patient with his mom. “Now what is Aragorn, again? Is he a man or one of those other…things?”
The first bonus last night was the sense that I was actually doing some very helpful teacher preparation for studying medieval literature this year. Tolkien made many references to Beowulf, Chaucer, Spenser and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. There are many reasons to read a book (entertainment, education, pleasure, information, curiosity, because someone knows you are a reader and pressed a book in your hand begging you to read it) but when those reasons intersect it is truly a blessing. I didn’t choose The Tolkien Reader because it would help me teach; I chose it because it was an unread book on my bookshelf.
The second bonus: a question I had 10 years ago was answered. Readers often come across references that are meaningless on first reading, and just skip over them. About ten years ago as I was reading through Charlotte Mason’s The Original Home Schooling Series, she mentioned Queen Mab in such a way that assumed the reader would “get it”. I didn’t — and didn’t have Google at my fingertips. My set of World Books didn’t help and so the reference was a dangling loose end in my brain. Tolkien spends half a page explaining why Michael Drayton’s Nymphidia, the story about Queen Mab, isn’t a true fairy-story. It was a gift to read, recognize and to finally understand.
The third bonus? A chance to read an excellent writer with an excellent mind.
Deer are not the sweet little puppies portrayed in Bambi. Really, I don’t mind if they leave little piles in my yard, but eating the tulips down to the ground is going TOO FAR. Is there any hope for tulips which have been bushwacked? Any hope? Puleeze!