How to Be Husband

What Can a Wide Receiver Teach Men About Being a Husband?

Men. You like football! You think about sports all the time.

Maybe you should think about your wife a little. Think of her as a football.

Yeah. Wisdom here. Just lap it up. Because we need to teach you things by making them into relatable sports analogies that aren’t too difficult. Because all you MEN are white, suburban middle-class sports fans. And all of you are dumb and clueless and clumsy at relationships. And all your wives are sweet but eye-rolling at your selfishness.

Football players know all about marriage, after they clean up their selfish selves.

Yeah. This will open your eyes. Be a wife receiver.

Money quote: “Sometimes my wife coming at me looks a whole lot more like a porcupine than a pigskin.”

Our Message to Africa

As African Mothers Die at World’s Highest Rates, West Offers Abortion: Vatican UN Event

“The true fact of it is that there is no real correlation between legal abortion and maternal health,” Ekeocha said. “There is rather a real correlation between the standards of our health care systems and how women are actually surviving or dying.”
“We need access to real prenatal health care, we need skilled birth, we need care and support after birth,” she said. “This is non-controversial.”

Our message to African women is clear.

We have such sympathy–the poverty, the third-world infrastructure, the lack of medical facilities and expertise! What you women of Africa must endure!

We in the first world want to help. Here’s our solution and we’ve spared no expense. We will happily see to it that you have the funds to reduce your population.

We know, from our own experience, that the one thing standing in the way of your freedom, self-actualization, health, wealth and happiness is your uncontrolled fertility. Throw off the shackles of the patriarchy.

Yes, we help out from time to time. Our 1%-ers send millions.  But let us tell you what your real problem is: there are too many of you. Here’s some money right away to fix that.

Familiar names at the tops of the lists of the wealthy make headlines when pledging millions to provide access to abortion services to third-world women. Such philanthropists wow!

I see no headlines describing the same wealthy names donating their millions to provide even basic necessities like hospital equipment, medications, medical expertise. These are the things that are needed according to the recipients of their largesse.

And how easy it would be for them to alleviate so much suffering. Instead they offer death.

 

 

Never Give In

We were asked to move my Mother to a second nursing home because she became too difficult. She has dementia. She cannot remember that we’ve been taking care of her 24/7 for the last three years. She cannot remember that my Dad’s been gone for 30 years.

No one’s going to tell her what to do or keep her against her will. They tried calming her with a mild sedative, then a stronger one. The stronger one effected her paradoxically; it enraged her. They eliminated the drug to no avail. She made for the exits. They put an alarm band around her ankle. But she kept trying to make a run for it.

So the powers-that-were politely asked us to find her a new home.

I wanted to say:  She’s a ninety-six year old woman in a wheelchair with the strength of a kitten. Was she too much of a challenge?

I could have argued but I realized the truth: they were not willing to handle her.

She’s articulate, clever, intelligent, sarcastic. She also has almost no short-term memory and is often confused. She can get belligerent. But I thought nursing homes were where one went to get care when one became disabled, particularly when one was cognitively disabled.

Apparently not so, unless one is cognitively disabled in a compliant sort of way.

In the span of six days at her new place, she has tried to take the elevator down, pulled the fire alarm, and threatened to press charges against the staff. She doesn’t cooperate even when it’s to her benefit, hanging on to the table’s edge when they’re trying to pull her chair out from where she’s wedged herself.  Never give in. She’d make a wonderful protester.

To be fair, when we pushed the elevator button to go home, there was a bag taped to the wall next to it. Yes, they have installed the fire alarm right next to the elevator button. In a dementia unit.

My 96 year-old Mom: kicked out of one home, making the second home create new procedures.

When we get there, she gradually calms down, she jokes, she brags of her badass-ness. We re-orient her, we reassure her. We talk about her grandchildren. We explain that she cannot take care of herself at home right now and so she needs to be there. We take her out to the gazebo. We manage to persuade her to submit to another overnight, we promise to be back next day.

And try to be nice to the staff; they’re just doing their jobs. We’ll be back tomorrow.

This must be repeated every day. Her kids are her only link to stability. She cannot remember new people so everyone else is a stranger. Sometimes our reassurance and persuasion go down fairly well, sometimes it takes hours, and sometimes she still isn’t buying it. She’s going home.

She will never not want to go home. She is nursing home-resistant. I hope the new place is ready for permanent non-compliance because she is not going to assimilate.

I am trying to plant an idea in her mind. Although it may seem cruel, I’m trying to suggest that when you are almost 100 years old, it’s no shame to lean on others. It’s no shame, and maybe even necessary, to accept some help. She could be so much more content.

So far it’s not working.

 

Simple Advice

Be honest about what you ultimately want from your life. This is tricky because we’re dishonest with ourselves about this. And when we’re young we think there’s endless time and endless opportunity to change direction.

But time passes so quickly, along with opportunity.

If you want to look back at your life from the end and see a happy home and family of your creation in partnership with a person of the opposite sex, do not pussyfoot around with politically-correct posturing through your twenties and thirties. Stop trying to impress your peers and social media contacts. Get to work looking for that partner and developing yourself into a person who can create that home.

Decide what you really want from life. Shut out all the other voices around you and think about what you would regret not having done when it’s too late. Too late comes much faster than you expect.

If that’s the career of your dreams, go for it. If it’s public significance and gravitas, go for it. If it’s purpose without recognition, go for it.

If it’s a lifetime working together, shoulder to shoulder, with the person you admire and respect most in the whole world, go for it. Get to work.

Is there a person in your life who is kind, dependable, willing to commit to you? Do you think this person will support you through life’s rocky road? What more do you need?

If it’s you standing at a sink of dishes with a toddler or two roaming around wrecking havoc, go for it. If it’s watching your kids become unique and valuable human beings who better the world by their presence, go for it.

None of the options will just happen. You have to be intentional about what you pursue. Yes, sometimes things mysteriously fall into place, and God does drop things in our laps. But we must be able to discern those things as gifts, and not devalue them and throw them away.

I’m afraid we throw away gifts like garbage all the time.

Do we imagine that God’s methods, the ways he designed us to actualize those chances, are too outmoded for our enlightened times? What pride.

We are made for relationship. There is not one thing on earth more significant than building good relationships. The question is: what kind of relationships do you want as you walk through your life? How deep, how lasting? What will you have when it’s too late to change direction?

 

Does Mothers’ Day do more harm than good?

Sitting in the pew, I was struck by how many women around me could easily be hurt by my glib “Happy Mothers’ Day” wishes. Within our church family, and among just my smallest circle of friends, I recognize several whose experience with this day is part sorrow.

Donna and her mother Gerry are still deeply grieving over the loss of Donna’s brother about two years ago. I winced inwardly as I wished Gerry a happy day. My elderly neighbor and mother of my next-door childhood pal has lost two of her three children.

Joan lost her young adult daughter unexpectedly, whose life looked full of promise. Our church family was stunned by the loss and her memorial service was easily the largest in many decades.

Then there’s Kay, who lives a life of service to everyone around her to an incredible degree. She must be the encourager in her daughter’s life while carrying her own double sorrow. Daughter Samantha was blessed to celebrate just one happy, careless Mother’s Day but all remaining Mother’s Days, for the rest of her life, will be days of mourning. What does one say to her on this day?

I was thinking of the friends whose adult children have walked away from relationship with them. Some have simply allowed distance to become the default while others have been explicitly cruel.

I was thinking of the countless who feel the loss of their own mothers keenly. My friend Beth, who stepped up to help us take care of my mother because she cared for her own mother until she lost her three or four years ago, still cannot speak about her Mom without tears.

I was thinking of the women who’ve experienced the pain of infertility and the surrendering of hopes and expectations, assaulted by smug broadcast well-wishes.

Compare the numbers of women who can celebrate this day thoughtlessly, with no shadow of sorrow, to those for whom this is a remembrance of loss, either of children or mothers.

We careless surely must be in the minority. I wonder if we ought to observe Mother’s Day differently, more soberly, with more respect for those who’ve lost so much. Or should we get rid of it altogether?

Limited Thinking via Politics

My younger friends won’t realize this, but it is not normal in culture for everything to be political. Today, there is no field, no context, no issue which is not automatically interpreted through a political perspective.

Thus thinking is limited, boxed in, flattened. That is only one facet of the negative.

When the critical mass of culture has dismissed God from their point of view, people look for a substitute provider of meaning, values, and a moral standard. Into the vacuum rushes politics.

There is nothing more useful to people who desire power. Nothing which so easily satisfies our virtue-signaling needs with so little personal effort. Nothing more sociopathic in the pursuit of opportunism. Politics is the lazy sub for the excellent teacher, theology. Politics does not hold me personally accountable as does God.

Here’s an interesting perspective:  Bombing on Stage: Comedy as Political Resistance

But  the best irony of the newfound-under-Trump-activist bent is that its proponent doesn’t realize he’s being used by the corporate entity in which journalism-is-comedy-is-advertising. So used. The comedian works for the news network, which is one outlet of the same corporation which doles out the news and the advertisements. They all imbibe the same worldview within their media fortress; news is truly manufactured in the service of mass-marketed commentary which is designed to mold and drive public opinion, no longer covertly but openly in paternership with the most powerful political persons. All media is not only connected, but working together to drive you to the voting booth and help you pull the right lever; to drive you to the market to buy the right product; to drive you to order your life in the rigid manner the powers that be see most fit.

To drive you to think the thoughts they approve and no others.

Stephen Colbert is not some brilliant guy who just happens to have found irreverence a formula for success. He’s a hack, working for corporate BUSINESS figures to produce a certain result. One result being your unexamined loyalty to said figures’ interests. Do you wonder that your news journalists and your comedians rarely differ? Even their chosen wording is eerily similar. Your newsfeed panders to your most self-affirming social issues. And wonder of wonders, the ads on the side column of your fave social media place just happen to be pushing you to buy the accompanying product to your political/social bent.

Hillary literally bought media mouths and outlets during her campaign. There was no longer any illusion of independent thinking or critical judgement. How can anyone–anyone!–still follow the party she represents when critical thinking, individual thinking, and intelligent thinking are actually excluded?