You Don’t Get Out of Life Alive, but, Choose Your Battles Wisely

 

Axl Rose

My son didn’t ask, but mothers are pretty good at unsolicited advice in life and love and all those things that are only somewhat discerned by merit of age and time.  If I were to try to explain to him why he should abandon the “friends with benefits” arrangement he’s got going on with the ex-stripper, it would go something like this:

The great theologian and philosopher Axl Rose (of Guns-N-Roses fame) once stated in his version of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” that, “You don’t get out of life alive.”  I  also understand his point about both the bank and the mortician- the two inevitabilities of this life are death and taxes.  Nobody escapes either of those.  Nobody escapes the common human dilemma of finding one’s way through life and surviving in the process, either, though some do a better job of it than others.

As far as the wisdom of the concepts of “not getting out of life alive,” and “you can’t take it with you,” go, both sort of go along with the Biblical admonition to give one’s life as an offering. You were created to have a purpose in this life, even if it’s simply one of being an example of what not to do,  or serving to expand others’ vocabularies.  We all came into the world naked and not having any stuff, and we all go out the same way, so what are you going to do with the time in-between?

coffin

We all know that our physical bodies are going to become worm food.  There are a few things worth sacrificing and fighting for, precisely because we cannot preserve youth and health and wholeness in these physical bodies, or for that matter, youth and health and wholeness in any aspect of our lives.  Entropy WILL win.  Systems all eventually break down, if you want to frame the inevitability of entropy in tech geek terms.  Life in this world is a finite proposition.

The question is, what do you do with the finite resources you have been given, that you can acquire, that you can pool with others?

gold-bars

It’s great if you can amass all kinds of wealth and get all the best stuff, and prepare for every possible contingency, but in the end, what do you do on that night when your life is required of you? (I’m referring to what Jesus said in Luke 12:13-21.)

If you don’t get what really matters, then who cares about money or power or prestige or stuff?

I’m not going to go on a morality-chastity-clean living rant, because I am no poster child for any of the aforementioned.  I have never been a paragon of virtue.  I am a Christian, but that is only by the grace of God.  He left me to my rebellion and own devices for awhile (about seven years’ worth) so I could see just how much trouble I could get into out there in the pig pen. I got a rather nasty taste of how nasty and depraved I can be apart from a relationship with God.  Finally, I realized, again, by the grace of God, like C.S. Lewis did, that if I were going to be sane and worth anything to myself and others, that it was and is Christ or nothing.

That realization does not make me more virtuous or more moral or  more prudy. It does not make me less human or  less fallible.  It does make me all the more aware that anything good anyone sees in me is not my inherent goodness, but the goodness of God. I fail a lot, but apart from Him I fail and screw up a lot more.

hypocrisy

 

Yes, Christians are hypocrites. Get over it.  So is everyone else.  I can say that, but for the grace of God, I would be a LOT worse.  I need God precisely because I know how depraved and hopeless I am without Him.

All these theological and philosophical observations being said, and back to the assertion that one of my purposes in life is to serve as an example of what not to do, I will give you a heartfelt admonition.

If you are one of those people who are blessed enough to find true love in this life, don’t let it go.  I know that it can and does happen, even if it is too late for me.

true love

Part of the reason why I can be so cynical and snarky when I consider matters of the heart is because true love has always eluded me.  I’ve been used, abandoned, exploited and deeply damaged by people who claimed to “love” me.   My wiring is such that I don’t understand or communicate very well in the emotional realm.  To add insult to injury, most men are intimidated by intelligent women, and most men are not terribly thrilled with plain and frumpy looking women.   I blend in to the wall pretty well.  It’s a survival mechanism.  At no time in my life were dudes ever banging down my door.   If they did talk to me it was to get my phone number- so they could call my sisters.  I was even voted, “Least Likely to Get Laid” in my (unofficial) high school senior will.  So I felt like I had to take what I could get, even if it meant settling for minimum standards such as, “vertical and sucking up valuable oxygen.”

Minimum_Standards

Hair and teeth optional, especially at my age.

I hate to admit it, but all I can say about my own marriage is that at best it’s a symbiotic relationship, but a good deal of the time it’s more like a parasite vs. host relationship.  Maybe it’s harsh to call Jerry a parasite, but he can and does suck the life out of me with his incessant whining and infantile demands.  He didn’t need a wife, he needed a mommy.  And I’m not all that great at playing the mommy role, but it’s all I have to offer.  I haven’t gotten a better offer, and even if I did, I would be morally obligated to decline it.  In Jerry’s defense, he has put up with me for all of these years, as frumpy and plain looking as I am, and as eccentric as I am.  That says something- although in Jerry’s mind it’s probably, “there’s someone in this world who will fetch my beer and smokes for me.”

But if you find true love, that indescribable and blissful universe of two, understand what it is.  Hold it, cherish it, fight for it, and never let it go.  Otherwise you will find yourself in the same predicament I am- either completely alone, or bound by a sense of duty(?) pity (?) desperation (?) to someone who only cares about you as long as you’re useful to them.

unique-not-useful

I guess I’m good for as long as I can fetch beer and smokes.

I will tell you that expediency and usefulness are not the same as love.  Sex doesn’t necessarily equate to love either.  It’s easy to get caught up in hormones and horniness (been there done that) but when the excitement and lust die down, what do you have?  From my own experience I can say that following the hormones and horniness path has led to a lot of guilt, embarrassment and shattered dreams.  It’s not worth it.  I’m thankful that my past indiscretions didn’t wreak as much havoc as they could have.

Don’t follow in my path.  Don’t let a chance at true love go because of fear or because you need to hold on to perceived obligations.  It sounds trite, but love will find a way.  Unless you’re an eccentric old bat who’s proportioned like a mutant troll.

True Love Quotes and Pictures (5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Sins of Omission, Explaining One’s Offspring to Others, and More Awesome Tunes

Old-time Catholicism is a bit masochistic, but you gotta love the artwork.  I have nothing against Catholics- some of the best Christians I know adhere to Catholicism, and I’m not going to argue the small points- other than to say that by definition I cannot be considered a Catholic because I don’t agree 100% with the Catholic Church.  Agreeing with Church teachings 100% is part of the deal.  I’ve read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and I agree with a good deal of it- but I do disagree with some key points of what the Catholic Church teaches, and I don’t agree 100% with their theology- especially what I consider to be the bizarre extra-biblical stuff like purgatory and indulgences and praying to saints.  It would be dishonest for me to claim to be Catholic when I don’t agree with everything the Church believes and teaches.  So those who claim to be Catholic but embrace some very un-Catholic and very un-Christian thought processes are effectively lying their pants off.  You either take the whole hog or not at all- that’s the way that Catholicism works.

Joe Biden: claims to be Catholic, but if my grandfather were still alive I think the descriptive would change to “Crazy as a Shithouse Rat.”  Though in the end he- and we- are accountable to God alone.

As a confessional Lutheran I don’t fall terribly far away from the core beliefs of Catholicism, and theologically I am well within the sphere of orthodox (small “o”) Christianity.   I’m not into weird stuff like God being a space alien (who knows, He might be, but I doubt it) and I don’t believe that I’m part of some elite nerd tribe whose destiny is to be spirited up to heaven in a space ship with Marshall Applewhite and company.  I’m definitely more conservative both socially and theologically than most of the people who go to my church, which does give me pause at times, and does cause me some cognitive dissonance, but there’s an important point to be made with that unease.  If I were to seek out a very literal, fundamentalist church (at one point I almost became a Southern Baptist) I wouldn’t hear any viewpoints remarkably different from my own. (I do differ with the SB’s on the subject of infant baptism, which is an important point of dissent- but otherwise I can pretty much get right on the bandwagon.)  I need to be challenged to see viewpoints that are different than mine, and I need to be challenged to be compassionate to those who are coming from a different perspective.  As a confessional Lutheran I have considerable freedom to ask theological questions and to hold differing opinions on non-essential issues without being considered heretical or completely outside the box of Christian orthodoxy.

I think we can agree: This dude was one crazy mo-fo.

I don’t like to argue theology with anyone.  I will gladly explain what I believe and more importantly in Whom I believe- and why, but I’m not going to pound anyone in the head.  It doesn’t work.  Some of my closest friends are atheists and agnostics, who likely view my faith as something archaic and quaint- but they still talk to me and there’s still a relationship there.  Jesus was all about building relationships with unlikely people in unlikely ways, so if it worked for Him, why not?  I learned long ago that the number one way to dissuade people from faith and a relationship with God is to act like Dana Carvey as the Church Lady.

Could it be….SATAN?????

I may differ even with some of my more orthodox cohorts in that I believe Satan is real and that there are real evil forces at work in this world.   But most of the ills of this world can be attributed to human beings doing what we do best- screwing up.  The sin of the Garden was not so much, “The devil made me do it,” as “I screwed up and did the opposite of what I was told.”  Is this not the underlying theme of human history?  I know it’s the definitely the story of my life.  I am an example, and a good amount of the time I am an example of What Not to Do.

A sin of omission is knowing what you’re supposed to do, but not doing it for whatever reason.  I know I should refrain from laughing at Jerry when he can’t find the beer in the fridge because it’s behind the milk, but I laugh anyway.  Technically that’s a sin of commission because I did laugh, though.  Sins of omission are more like knowing I should iron Jerry’s shirts, but not doing it because I hate ironing, and because I know it’s something his lazy ass can do for himself.  He should be happy I’m washing them and hanging them up for him, but if I were really good I would be doing the ironing thing too.  That’s the omission thing, sort of, anyway.   I should be a missionary in Africa giving out food and water to pitiful orphans, but my selfish ass is too satisfied with sleeping in the A/C and not having dysentery.  There’s always something I should be doing but for whatever reason I’m not.  Take it right on back to the old Catholic guilt trips perhaps, but there’s a grain of truth there.  I know full well I do things I shouldn’t and neglect to do things I should.  Which segues quite well into my hit-or-miss parenting.

This won’t be the last time he will be cajoled into sporting his daughter’s clothes- heh-heh!

As far as Steve-o goes I am delighted that he is remarkably normal in many ways.  He is gainfully employed, only has a couple of weeks until he graduates from college (YAY!) and is very close to Independence from the Parental Units, which in my mind is the ultimate goal of parenting to begin with.  As far as I’m concerned, I did not give birth and work myself into the ground to end up with a thirty five year old acne-ridden, obese couch jockey stinking up the basement with greasy Taco Bell wrappers whilst clogging up his brain cells with assorted online interactive video games 24/7 on my dime.   I do wish Steve-o would have listened to Mother a little more intently in regard to abstinence, chastity and so forth, but hindsight is 20/20.  I love my granddaughter and wouldn’t trade her for anything, but it would have been better if they would have waited a bit.  However, life is such that you wish in one hand, or shit in the other, and we all know which one fills up first.

The two most common elements in the universe are:  Shit and Stupidity.  Figure out how to convert either into energy, and screw foreign oil.

Today’s playlist is just as awesome as Friday’s:

“Urban Angel” from Neal Schon’s I On You

“Double Vision” – Foreigner

“Evil Woman”- ELO

“After the Fall” – Journey from Greatest Hits Live

“Somebody to Love”- Queen

“Smells Like Teen Spirit”-Nirvana