Sunday, October 30, 2011

Secret Remedies: Do I need more?

Yesterday I went to Apotek, our local pharmacy, to renew a pain killer prescription. I also picked up an aid for one of the problems caused by my pain killers, combined with having to sit and lie on my backside.

It's the truck driver and the pregnant mother to be's best friend, the doughnut pillow.

I didn't realize how much help it would be. With two days use my problems have been relieved so much that I can actually forget that I have problems other than the leg. The best twelve dollars I've ever invested to handle indelicate problems.

Now, maybe one or more of you can help with another secret remedy.

I've spent much of this weekend in weepy nostalgia. Yesterday it was focused on my parents and my children. Today is was all about church and spouse. I couldn't think of either without weeping.

I started to snap out of it at lunch - potluck with Martin Marty - the church historian. It was a great surprise to have him at Bethany, and I had enough history of listening to his lectures and reading his books so that I had something to talk to him about. But as soon as that was over I was back into weepy mode. Just about anything was making me sentimental. Like my brown leather jacket.

I wanted to get out, I thought that might make me feel better. I wanted to get out to the zoo, in my leather jacket, in honor of that moment back in 1994 or whenever, when the kids and I were photographed in front of the Landmark Cafe in Chicago. Of course Chicago was out of the question, so I was willing to settle for Rolling Hills, provided I could wear my leather jacket and have my picture taken in said leather jacket.

Mostly it worked. For most of the afternoon I was alternately cheery and in pain. The walking is difficult - we mostly rode the tram from stop to stop but did enough walking that I was well aware of my leg-lump. But there were times I started to tear up, usually over nothing.

So, what the heck is going on?

Is it common that the combination of medications leads to depression? Or is the depression a way of alerting me to facing my mortality? Do I need some talkie therapy - I'm more than willing to go talk to someone - or do I need happy pills?

As always, your thoughts are welcome.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nostalgia Hurts

It all started this morning when Kris caught up on a Simon and Garfarkle documentary we'd been keeping on the DVR.

It's a few years old, this documentary, so Paul doesn't look "elderly" the way he's been looking of late. The documentary covered all the old tunes, the good tunes. "Song for the asking," "Bridge over troubled waters."

Listening to the boys singing the old tunes I found myself transported, mentally, back to 1967. It was a beautiful fall day, and I stood at the corner of Fullerton and Lincoln, across from what was then McCormick Theological Seminary. The sun was shining bright. The anti-war movement was promising a new day. The hippies were scorned but not yet despised, and I was in my favorite part of my favorite city. It was a moment of life and hope and bright illumination.

Suddenly I felt myself tearing up and thinking about the potential that we had somehow thrown away. What happened to us? We were going to be the bridge over trouble waters, the friends who would be there to lay down our lives for one another. What happened?

I thought I had a photo from Chicago from a fall or a spring just like the one I was remembering, so I went hunting. Instead of finding just what I was looking for - I found the photos I've now posted on Facebook, including the one I've used in this post.

It should be obvious. It wasn't the 60's. It was the 90's.

There's Emily and Jon and me and we're in front of the Landmark Cafe, at the center of the Lincoln Park Zoo. It must be Christmas time, since I have both the children with me. It's obviously cold, but we don't seem to care. It may be kind of damp, but we don't seem to care.

I sort of remember this day. I sort of remember every trip to the zoo with my children, including the first trip Emily took to Lincoln Park Zoo, a trip where she was more interested in the pigeons than in the zoo animals.

I remember these days and I'm getting quite emotional. I miss having kids this size around, having kids discovering and learning and exploring without my having to tell them to look and listen and explore and study. I miss my kids and wish they weren't so far away.

I've thought that before, but I've never found myself so, well, weepy about it. I wonder if the illness and maybe the conditions I've been fighting this week has something to do with my emotional state.

Still, I'm holding tight to the memory of that day when we zipped from lion house to monkey house to ape house to Children's zoo to bird house and shivered at the few outside animals in between. I'm holding tight. Nostalgia hurts.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why The Third Man?

Kris said, "Let's watch a movie tonight." We fiddled around until nearly 9:30 pm. I wanted to see Wisconsin win. (They didn't). Or Notre Dame (They didn't).

Finally watched Ebert at the Movies. The show begins and ends with the Third Man theme, that mystical musical zither sound that entranced my mother. It's one of the gifts she passed on to me, loving both the music from this movie and the movie itself.

I had recorded The Third Man the last time it played on Turner and hadn't watched it. So we watched it.

It really is a brilliant film. You can see all the technique Wells developed for Citizen Kane. You can feel the tension build. You're amazed that Harry Lime is the central character of the film, though he appears in less than ten minutes of the whole.

What draws me back to the film is the setting. Post-war Vienna, barely recovering from the bombs and destruction, is as important a character as Lime. Wells managed to take that devastation and make it not just interesting, but compelling.

Why do ruins draw our interest? Why does devastation draw our attention. Perhaps it is because we see these people struggling and refusing to give in to but not quite believing that there is a future. There is a combination of pathos and an intellectual argument - what is allowed for people who must compromise to survive? Are moral values only for those who are comfortable and well fed?

Or is our interest in ruins a hold over from the romantics?

I'm not sure, but after another Saturday of overdoing, I'm feeling like a bit of a ruin myself. Maybe that's why the film appealed to me. I could identify with post-war Vienna. Perhaps that means I see myself finally looking like the Vienna Rick Steves loves to visit.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Why do Baptists Hate the Constitution?

Pastor Robert Jefferies of some gigantic Southern Baptist church in Texas, started me thinking about Evangelicals and the U.S. Constitution.

Yesterday he announced that Mitt Romney was not a Christian, and that his religion would be considered a "cult" by orthodox Evangelicals. The media reports are saying that Jefferies said he's "no true Christian" - whatever that animal is. Regardless, either "no Christian" or "no true Christian" as a designation of Romney is being portrayed as scandalously harsh.

I think that Romney ought to embrace the "not a Christian" designation and do some educating of the media and the public.

Mormonism is not a "denomination" - a division of Christianity that accepts orthodox doctrines with a particular interpretation of those doctrines. Mormonism is a separate religion that gives a nod to Jesus, but has a raft of beliefs that deviate radically from Christianity. Mormonism wasn't founded, as was the Baptist tradition, on a different understanding of the meaning of a particular Christian practice - namely baptism. Mormonism was founded on a new revelation to Joseph Smith.

It's not Christianity, it's Mormonism. It's a different religion, not merely a denomination.

I don't care for Mitt Romney, but it isn't because of his religion. I believe that the constitution already assured all of us that Romney's religion doesn't matter - all that really matters is our judgment of his potential as a leader of the democracy and his proposed policies. His religion doesn't matter.

The constitution specifically says,

but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States (Article VI, section 3)

My only question is why the Evangelical Christians hate our constitution?