Fides, veritas et virtus



7 Quick Takes (vol. 6)

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For more wonderful Friday snippets, see Jennifer’s 7 Quick Takes feature over at Conversion Diary

(In this episode the writer is rather down in the dumps.)

1. I’m going through a major life challenge at the moment. It’s something that I’ve wanted to blog about but I don’t know how without sounding whiny. Since all I can do obsess over this little situation that I’ve gotten myself into, it’s been hard to find time to actually be an interesting person. If I can find some way to talk about it without being all ‘woe is me’ I’ll post. If not then it just might be super quiet here while I get my stuff figured out.

2. One possibility stemming from this life challenge – an upcoming move. To where? There are, at present, two options that are bouncing around in my head: a) Ocean City, Maryland; or b) Santa Fe, NM.  Option A is where my mother and her family lives. Since many of my troubles are centered around a decided lack of income, living with my mom or grandmother would be beneficial at the moment. They wouldn’t charge me rent or utilities. I could work and save for the summer and then assess. The problem is then I’ll just be flinging myself into the arms of another branch of my family and not really standing on my own two feet. Also Ocean City, MD is not really the classiest place on earth and definitely not THE that ‘going-places’ kinda gal starts out on her own path. There is a possibility that I’ll get stuck there too. With Option B, my oldest friend is offering me a spot in her apartment at extremely low rent. The minimum wage is the highest in the country in NM so I could make money even if I don’t have the most glamorous position. I’ve also never been to Santa Fe so that would be an adventure. Downside – I don’t know if I can live with said friend and NOT want to strangle her. We are very different people so whether we could live together (and with her 2 or 3 other flatmates who I don’t know) is questionable. Also I would be paying rent and not saving every penny.  Oh decisions, decisions…

3. How I can tell that I’m bordering on actual depression – the lump in my throat and the fact that all I want is bagels and pasta and english muffins and bread and starch. And some cookies and sugar for good measure. In the last year I’ve lost 15 pounds putting me really really close to healthy weight for my height. If I keep up the way have these past two weeks I’ll be big as a house again. Maybe if I eat better I’ll feel better.

4. Searching searching searching for a more cheerful topic…..I’ve had a lot of time to read. Most of the books I’ve been reading have been about the Church’s teachings on different topics that I struggle with – homosexuality and liberation theology for example. I never did RCIA (my college chaplain agreed that because these next few years will be quite up in the air it might have been difficult for me to find a church home long enough to complete the course, so she worked with the bishop to fast track me in once I was certain that I wanted to join the Church) so my education about the finer points of doctrine and tradition have been learned mostly by self-study. It’s cool because I’m a pretty independent learner but not so cool because I miss out on the community/discussion aspect. Still its all turned out okay. Trying really hard to make this doldrum time into a sort of retreat. It’s difficult – but I’m searching for that silver lining.

5. Bought two new cookbooks this week – Nigella Lawson’s How To Eat and Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. Having been a vegetarian for 15 years or so, suddenly I crave meat. So now, I’m toying with the idea of learning to cook meat. First project – roast chicken.

6. After sleet and hail and 30 degree weather on Tuesday and Wednesday, it’s supposed the be 80 degrees this weekend. This is Vermont.

7. Oh! Good, exciting news! I have been asked to sing with my good friend Rae in her summer recital in August. My first operatic duet! We are looking at two songs Barcarolle from Les Contes d’Hoffman…and the Flower Duet from Lakme. Oh how WONDERFUL to sing again!

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  1. * Anna says:

    #3… COOKIES! Yumm. I’ve also been thinking that “Maybe if I eat better, I’ll feel better” bit, lately.

    #4… Out of random curiosity, may I ask what kind of issues you have with liberation theology? It’s not something I usually hear people say they struggle with.

    #5… I recently finished reading Real Food by Nina Planck and it has me considering all sorts of changes I probably ought to make. (basically, less processed food.) Roast chicken is very, very good.

    If you don’t mind a complete and total stranger butting into your life, I want to say that God forgives you. And I want to say more, but I’m afraid of offending or hurting you by even bringing up the topic, so I’ll shut up now.

    God bless.
    Anna

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
    • * Chloé F. says:

      Hi Anna –

      Thank you so much for you kind words! I’m not offended at all. You are welcome to write anything you want here or you can drop me an email chloe.noelle@gmail.com I really appreciate your support.

      (re: #3/#5) That “Real Food” book looks really good! I’ll have to check it out

      You’re right – #4 liberation theology is a really random thing to take issue with. I guess it all comes back to me being (until about a couple years ago) a (capital L) Liberal with strong socialist/Marxist tendencies. Slowly I’ve shifted over to “small l” liberal, and now I’m pretty much ensconced in moderate territory. I come from a whole long tradition of hardcore Democrats (and for a while I relished being the role of being the radical Marxist) so taking a good hard look at my lifelong political leanings in light of the Church has been difficult. It doesn’t help that before I “got religion” the way that I ordered my life was through political and social ideologies. (There is probably good blog post fodder in there if I wanted to dig through it.)

      My struggle with liberation theology is this – why shouldn’t the Church take more proactive role in dismantling systems of oppression? The Vatican statements that I’ve read this week have helped clarify things quite a bit. Still, I’m stubborn – so for the moment I’m agreeing whatever the Church says on principle while still tussling it out in my head.

      Have a blessed Day!
      Chloe

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
  2. * Anna says:

    Chloe,

    Well, since I have your permission… 🙂

    There’s a book I’ve read called Waking the Dead by John Eldredge. It’s a really good book, and I’d encourage you to check it out sometime for yourself. But there’s one idea in particular that he writes of that I wanted to tell you about – the spiritual healing that God offers us. For me, it’s not just an idea I read in a book; it’s something that I’ve experienced just a little bit in my own life. And that little bit was surprisingly powerful for me.

    The idea is that God is a healer. He doesn’t just heal physically; he also heals the emotional and spiritual wounds that we all carry from past experiences in our life. And He doesn’t insist on waiting until after we die to heal our brokenness; he offers us this now. This is more than just forgiveness, although it includes forgiveness; this is about restoring us to the glory that God made us with and meant us to have.

    To seek out this healing: ask for it; go somewhere quiet by yourself, especially if you feel like God is leading you to (one way Eldredge says that God leads us to this is by bringing up the painful memories over again); surrender yourself to God, giving him permission to heal you; repent of whatever you have done wrong, and forgive anyone who has wronged you; and allow God to lead your thoughts in whatever direction he will, even if it is painful. (If you haven’t already gone to confession for the things you listed that you regret, I’d encourage you to; that can also be a powerful step in healing, sometimes.)

    Your post “A Meditation on Grief, Loss, and Regret” from about four weeks ago is what brought all this on, by the way, in case that wasn’t clear. You see yourself as broken; I’m saying that God wants to make you whole again, now. Also, let me throw in a bit of Catholic theology while I’m at it. The communion of saints means that we are already connected to those in heaven. You wrote that you hope that one day you will see your loved ones in heaven; then you will beg their forgiveness and maybe then you can be healed. I say… why wait? They are with you now. You can talk to them as surely as we Catholics pray to the saints; as surely as you can talk to me (if not more so). Do you think that they who are in intimate union with the Source of all Love and Forgiveness are reluctant to forgive you? I am sure they are quite eager for it.

    One other resource that you might find helpful is Project Rachel.

    Moving on to other topics…

    Real Food IS a really good book. I checked it out from the library, and had to return it yesterday, but I’m hoping to buy it as soon as I feel like I can afford to buy books again.

    On liberation theology… interesting. I suppose I haven’t really met any hardcore Marxists before. (Although my youngest brother has been getting into some anarchist philosophy lately, which sometimes reminds me a little of Marx.) My own politics are sort of in a state of being figured out, especially on economic issues.

    I think the thing with liberation theology is that there is a balance to be maintained. On the one hand, we really do have an obligation to help the poor. On the other hand, we can’t start thinking that if we only got just the right political/social system, that everything would be ok and people would be good. We NEED Christ; only he can truly save us. We can’t start putting our ultimate hope in an earthly system, because all earthly systems are imperfect. But just because there are even more important concerns than helping the poor (i.e. spiritual concerns, growing in holiness) doesn’t mean that helping the poor isn’t a very important thing, nor does it mean that we can ignore it. In answer to the question of why can’t the Church take a more proactive role in dismantling systems of oppression, my answer would be that that depends. The Church CAN take a proactive role, as long as that role doesn’t neglect the spiritual concerns which are its immediate purpose (like telling people about Christ, providing the sacraments, etc.). One of the things that I respect about Pope Benedict XVI is his willingness to speak out about injustices. On related notes, you might be interested in these articles – Liberation theology African style and Vatican speaking for voiceless poor.

    God bless,
    Anna

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
    • * Chloé F. says:

      Anna, my friend –

      I’m so sorry for not writing sooner. Your response was and is what I needed to push me a little bit out of that negative headspace and off to somewhere more productive. I picked up Waking the Dead the other day as a graduation present to myself – not very far along in it yet, but what I’ve read seems great! Thank you so much for your recommendation and your insight.

      I hope you have a wonderful day,
      Chloe

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
      • * Anna says:

        I’m sorry I didn’t see this sooner… that’s what I get for not checking my email more often. 😉 I’m so glad you’re doing better. Let me know what you think of Waking the Dead when/if you finish it. I’ve thought and written about it enough that I’m curious what every one else’s reactions are to it. 🙂

        God bless,
        Anna

        Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
  3. I’m hoping you’re feeling more joyful lately…difficult decisions always bring out the worriers in us, don’t they? Once you’re settled in either place, though, I hope you’ll find a groove to make it work for you.

    And about the roast chicken…I have a recipe posted on my blog that is my all time favorite recipe. It’s so simple that it’s less of a recipe and more of a method, but still…it’s the best. I’ll go ahead and describe it for ya. Because I love it so much!

    2 or 3 days before you want the chicken, pat it dry with paper towels, salt it all over heavily. Cover it and put it in the fridge. Day of, preheat a pan in the oven to 475 (reallly hot!) so when you put the chicken in the pot, it sizzles. Roast uncovered for about 30 minutes, then flip it over and roast for another 20 minutes. Flip it back over for maybe 10 minutes. Then let the chicken sit for a half hour or more to let the juices redistribute.

    My times may be off, the recipe on my blog describes it better. You should make this chicken! It’s delicious! My very favorite!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago
    • * Chloé F. says:

      Hi Sarah –

      I am feeling more joyful, much more. It’s funny how we can stuck in ruts. And thank you for that wonderful recipe! I’ll be trying it out shortly, and let you know how it goes. 🙂

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 1 month ago


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