Friday, October 19, 2012

A Cascade Effect

It's common for those with some level of monetary security (even though it's not wealth) to look down on those without.  I remember years ago when Rush would dispute the line, "There, but for the grace of God, go I."  He had a point.  It does matter that people rein in their spending and that they work hard and make good decisions.

But what I've been noticing is how bad situations multiply.  Also, how good situations multiply.  It's like there's a spiral, going up or going down.  It's like there's momentum in one direction, momentum that can be slowed or increased, but which is very hard to reverse entirely.

A person may have been in a devastating car accident.  A woman may have been abandoned by her husband, with children to care for.  Maybe a house fire.  Maybe cancer or some other disease.  Maybe a house that turns out to be termite-infested or full of mold.  Sure, bad things happen, and people can (and do) work hard to rise above the circumstances.  But when there are ongoing health problems, it makes it harder to obtain work and advance in the company.  When there are financial problems, there's that much less money available, and so maybe a person can't take advantage of a good deal when it pops up.

And in the same way, good situations feed off themselves.  Maybe a teenager can find a good job because the parents have connections.  If there's extra money, it can go toward investments, or toward paying off a house (or buying the next car with cash) so that less is wasted on interest.  A person with good health can expend the effort and ability to do things that not only save money but also increase well-being; consider older folks who cannot shovel their own walks or clean their own gutters and what it will cost them to hire someone to handle those chores. In this society, a person with nice clothes and pretty looks will face different opportunities than those with haggard and grizzled appearance.

Katie was telling us today how some of the people Nathan runs into at work look down on those who have less.  Katie was listening to moms at the library who are pleased that one of them found a maid who will work for very little money.  In both cases, it was like the poorer people deserved what they got.  And it is true that poor choices will often result in uncomfortable results while responsible choices may result in more freedom.  But certainly not always! 

What are people supposed to do when they're stuck on the downward spiral?  Can we intervene in others' bad-momentum and slow it or reverse it?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Sun's Bedtime

Last time Pastor went to Scandinavia to preach, he came back and reported to Bible class about his trip.  They were there in early summer; the sun wasn't down for long overnight, and the nights didn't get dark-dark.  I thought it was tremendously interesting that he mentioned how they didn't get tired.  It would get to be midnight or later, and they would notice the clock which told them how late it was.  But their bodies didn't tell them.

The sun is setting earlier and earlier.  And I am so sleepy.  I need naps on the days I'm not at work.  On days I don't nap, I'm yawning away by 7:00 and struggling not to nod off by 8:00 or so.

If this is virus-fighting, I should be giving in and sleeping, letting my body use its reserves to fight the germies.  If this is "the sun went to bed so I should too" I probably ought to be fighting my desire to laze (and popping more D3 capsules).  The trick is figuring out which is which.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Baptismal Pooping

What is it with my kids?  "Receive the sign of the holy cross," and some water connected to "I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost" ... and they filled their diapers to overflowing.* 

Twenty-three years ago today my baby spent the church service wrapped in a kitchen towel.  You'd have thought, by this point, that on a baptism Sunday I'd tuck a change of clothes into the diaper bag.  But no.  I forgot.  And Paul outpooped the poops of all his older sibs.  After the baptism rite, I bathed the other end of the kid, snagging a dish towel from the kitchen drawer so he wouldn't be cold and naked.

Also on this day 23 years ago we sang "Oh, How Great Is Thy Compassion" for the baptism hymn.  Pastor Wieting initially thought it was the oddest request he'd ever had for a baptism hymn.  Really?  "And in our deep degradation, Thou hadst mercy so that we might be saved eternally." Ah, yes, it works just dandy as a baptism hymn.  I'll sing it again today.  Maybe others in the family will too.

* Except for the two youngest.