Tuesday, January 26, 2010

7 Wonderful Things about Yesterday

1. Sleeping well.
You never realize what a wonderful thing sleep is until you go inexplicably without it for several nights in a row. This wasn't exactly my case--I seem to have a bad habit of waking up for two or three hours in the night at a pretty regular interval of 3 days. Sunday night, I slept a hard dreamless sleep. It was the sort of hard sleep that makes your body feel like it weighs 5 times as much as it does, and the pull of gravity would pull you straight through the mattress. And then of course, when you wake up, you realize that you're really much lighter than you felt, and that gives you SO much energy! (it's not the only thing, but it certainly contributes.)

2. Music.
I spent several hours rummaging through piles of music yesterday. Classical, jazz, accompaniments, new and old, pretty much everything you can imagine. The great part about this wasn't exactly all the dust I stirred up, or the backache I got from sitting on the floor for too long. It was wonderful because it's like being surrounded by friends that you love but don't necessarily know well, and it makes me happy to have them around to get to know better! And it's wonderful that it makes me so excited to play piano and learn new music again.

3. Carrots.
Carrots are so ridiculously orange. And crunchy. It is just so awesome. It gives me such a feeling of power and satisfaction to consume their rigid bodies one after another.

4. Smells.
Paul sent me an email as soon as he got to work telling me that the day was beautiful and cloudy and smelled like rain and that I should open all the windows. I looked outside and thought it looked like a pretty boring ordinary day, but when I opened the windows, it did smell like rain! And this was not any ordinary rain smell, it was the rain of spring, with growth and greenness and brown dirt (as opposed to grime dirt, which is much more common here) and newness and life. It was windy too, and warm. The smell filled the apartment and the wind swung the tassel from the open shades back and forth, tapping it against the wall, as if it needed to knock to come in. How wonderful it is that smells can transform your world into something rich and glorious!

5. Vacuum cleaners.
We didn't have a vacuum cleaner for three months. The one we have now is not fancy--I dare say it's nearly as old as I am, and faring much worse. But it works, is space efficient, and cheap. The best thing about it, besides its normal vacuuming function, is that is rids me of the embarrassing compulsion (which I but rarely indulged) to crawl around on my hands and knees picking lint and hairs out of the carpet. It is in moments like those, kneeling on the floor, that one realizes that people compare cleanliness to divinity not because of its moral goodness, but because of the impossibility of achieving it.

6. Anne of Green Gables.
I have recently started reading Anne aloud to Paul, who finally relented and determined that the book was not too girly for him. Last night, we read the part where Anne gets angry with Mrs. Rachel Lynde and has to go apologize. Of course, Anne, endeavoring to revel in every moment of life, glories in her debasement as she apologizes with large words and quivering tones, lying prostrate before Mrs. Rachel. One can't help but laugh at Marilla's instinct to chide Anne for "having apologized too well" on the way home. Though it certainly wasn't the apologizing well that Marilla disapproved of, but of Anne's enjoying it so much. The ingenious descriptions emphasize every detail and draw out every last ounce of humor and irony in the situation. The book is full of good times, and makes many more for those who pick it up.

7. Paul.
He's my husband. And he's the best. It's like winning the lottery (but actually something much much better) every day when he comes home from work. I can't even say how wonderful that is.

Monday, January 25, 2010

March for Life

Every year, there descends upon the capitol a great mass of people to protest the abortion of human babies within a woman's womb. The choice is a matter of the legal killing of a human life, and though many seek to redefine when life truly begins, hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall last Friday to reassert their belief that even unborn children have the "right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

I arrived at the March a little late, getting off the Metro at Capitol South, near the Supreme Court building, which was the destination of the March. Around 2:30, the first people were passing the Supreme Court. The 5 lane road was packed, with people walking on the curb and in the grass all the way from the front of the line at the Supreme Court down to the rear by the Museum of Natural History. There were enough people present to make up the population of a small state. Unfortunately, I only saw one news crew as I "swam upstream" against the current of the march to the end of the line where I met friends from my alma mater. Seeing the vast majority of people in the March, by walking against the flow, I noted that most marchers were younger women, students, and that I've never seen so many strollers in my life. One particularly moving demonstration was a mass of men and women in black carrying a variation of signs that said, "Women DO regret their abortion" and "Men DO regret lost fatherhood." These signs replaced "Women" and "Men" with "I". These men and women were marching with a great burden of regret on their shoulders, bravely declaring that they have done the thing which the hundreds of thousands of people around them (including themselves) were denouncing as morally reprehensible. My heart ached to see the signs and the number of people who have brought this sadness on themselves.

Granted, many of the people and the speakers with megaphones made a point to focus on the recent health care legislation that allows federal funds to be used for abortions. And what few newspapers ran articles about the March for Life focused the issue on health legislation instead of the broader issue at hand. It is ludicrous to think that Right to Life activists will be satisfied with congress dispensing of a bill that uses their money to promote abortions. To loot the people of America by taking their money and giving it to someone else is robbery, which is unconstitutional and immoral on all accounts. But to take our money and give it to someone who would rather kill than face the responsibility of caring for a child is truly horrifying on a whole new level. It is a tough decision for single, pregnant teens to decide to carry their baby through to term. But it is the right decision, and they will find lots of help if they seek it. Another deeply moving sign that I saw as we approached the Supreme Court read, "At the age of 15, my mother left the abortion clinic and chose life." I wonder of the holder of that sign regards his life as more precious and fragile than I have thought of mine, because his mother considered abortion (and because so many 15 year old girls have chosen it in the same situation.)

Americans want "independence" and "freedom." What most people don't realize is that the "freedom" they want is from responsibility, and that irresponsible people are always dependent on something or someone else. "Independence" in the Wild West sense of the word meant being capable of taking care of oneself so well that one could support and help others in need. We need leaders and parents who train their children to be independent, responsible, and honest...to value being debt-free, to love making good commitments, and to cherish our responsibilities because they allow us the freedom to make our own good choices.