December 12, 2008

Week in Review

It's not a competition - so please no wagering - but seeing Bernadette Luse comment on unfamiliar turf, i.e. Zippy's fine blog, prompted an envious comment from me though Bill reminded Zippy, lest his head swelleth, that I actually met her. So I thought this an opportune time to link to that original post... While on the subject I must say I'm mildly heartsick that the beautiful name "Bernadette", so redolent of Catholic piety, has been cruelly shortened by those in the know. And yet three syllable first names are always D.O.A. aren't they?

Golf is the ultimate mind game because you don't run the course. You walk it. As such I wonder if Bernadette, as a Psychology major, doesn't have an advantage. After a basketball player misses a shot he's instantly distracted; he's running, he's intent on guarding an opponent. A golfer has no such easy distractions. They must forgive themself instantly, while in other sports the player can take out their frustrations aerobically and/or against their opponent.

And what makes golf so much harder than, say, bowling, is that there's driving off the tee feels so much different than iron play which feels so much different from putting. Picking up a spare doesn't feel that different from your initial roll. When on the tee, you feel 'let it all hang out'-ish. While on the green, precision is crucial. Short game feels different yet.

I noticed a huge upcrease (neologism? 'increase' sounds so pedestrian) in energy this week, coming off the heels of vacation. I felt like Superman ripping through the tissue-thin cords of mediocrity, making brilliant breakthroughs at work through sheer drive and energy levels. It's hard to imagine the breakthrough happening outside the framework of the post-vacation surge though I 'spose it's possible. Certainly there is nothing so satisfying as perfecting a fresh automation and seeing it work its magic, ending a previously long manual task, though indeed that brainless task afforded a listen to NRO’s “Uncommon Knowledge”. But the old task created endless work for a co-worker and so it 'twere something that ought be done even though while I was doing the repitious task it felt in some ways recuperative, in the way cleaning a room can be, or organizing your bookshelves, or weeding a garden. Or more likely it was just that I liked listening to “Uncommon Knowledge”. I report, you decide.

So the eye of the tiger was so fierce that I even managed to decorate the Christmas tree and put the lights outside, not to mention the herculean task, heretofore never-before-done, of actually sending out some Christmas cards. Exercise-wise, I blew the doors off even the H20 workout, feeling limited only by the slick surface of the pool bottom. I was glad to see the post-vacation energy last more than a day or two.

I’d like to write a hagiography for the bingo volunteer, they who suffer a slow martydom by way of ennui. If you ever want time to stop come with me to bingo and experience the death valley between, say, 7:30 and 8pm on a Thursday night. It's like experiencing total sensory deprivation.

We received our assignments for the new year and I counted the number of members per team in order to figure out relative strengths in order to determine if they’d need me. I was also surprised to see Kim king of the hill, top of the heap. I’d heard Matthew had ascended to that august position after our previous leader’s retirement (and here Jo M. had said it was a lifetime appointment, like the Pope’s!).

I smell a coup. A rat. I can't rule out that she slept her way to the top. It's not that Kim isn't eminently qualified but this sudden change, well, Kim I hardly knew ye. If you're reading this I can't believe you'd Machivelli yourself into the top spot just for the fame and glory and money in it.

I do resent that I’m not enthusiastic about continuing with bingo. Sure it’s been stripped of its mystery and excitement, as I’ve been exposed to it for so long, but that’s no reason to quit. I like to think I wasn’t in the bingo game just for the writing material. WWFD, I ask, although I always forget that Flannery O'Connor was a gifted writer while I'm a blogger with an embarrassingly small audience. Details, schmetails. To be resolved: to maintain a full squadron of bingo volunteers requires the suspension of the natural order. I'll debate on the 'yay' side.

To switch gears: Andrew Sullivan writes of Thomas Merton's death 40 years ago this week:
"...what a merciful way to be brought back to God. No anxiety; no fear of death; no forewarning."
Which almost perfectly mirrors the modern (including mine unfortunately, more or less) mindset. The death Sullivan applauds was the definition of an awful death in Shakespeare's age. Back then it was taken for granted that one would want time to prepare for death because back then the state of your soul at death was crucial. Nowadays we see that as a technicality. No one now, for example, would delay Baptism as Constantine did until one's deathbed.

Back years ago they believed in personal sin as well as Purgatory, all of which has fallen out of favor. Back then people were assumed to be sinners in need of purgation and Confession. Now there is much more a sense of most everyone going straight to Heaven. Which makes suffering and advance notification of death pretty much a waste, or am I missing something?

As I posted here, the way the world works is that the coin of the realm is relief of suffering: if someone does something that prevents me from suffering, even as minor as letting me in their lane of traffic, I am grateful. I feel the love. But if relief of suffering is the only thing I see as of value, then how can I truly celebrate Christ's love, He who relieves our sins and not our sufferings? Until I truly see sin, and not suffering, as the supreme evil, can I be truly grateful to Christ?

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