Betty Duffy

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

More Life in My Life

Pedge gave up TV for Lent, so she was sorry to miss the finale of the Bachelor last night. Being a good friend, I watched it for her--and now I remember why I quit watching TV (not movies) several years ago. How many times can a guy say, "I know my heart, and I know what I'm doing is right," steely eyes gazing into the distance? Turns out he can say it about fifteen times a segment, followed by a twenty minute commercial break, after which he will come back and administer his foregone conclusion. My husband said, "Is there any question?: One is a need-machine, and the other has big boobs."

Quote of the show:
Need Machine, sobbing from the back seat of her Caddy: "He brought so much life... into my life."

My husband gave up internet for Lent, and is watching TV instead. Since our internet and TV are hooked up to the same cable, it seems I am giving up internet by default.

Internet is not really what I gave up for Lent. I'm doing a "Conversion of Manners" as I understand it. Things for which I have previously allotted an abundance of time, I now have a poverty of time. For instance, I have thirty minutes a day on the internet after kids are asleep--which means no minutes on the internet, because that's exactly when my husband wants to watch TV. I have thirty minutes a day (no more, no less) to write what I need to write on paper, which means I now have a glut of unfinished sentences.

In areas where I previously rationed myself, I practice gratuitousness. For instance, there is no end to how much housework I can do in my free time. There is no cap on holding my kids. I can pray without ceasing.

No need to fear scrupulosity in my case. I need to become a bit more Martha (In both the Biblical and the Stewart sense).

My sister (a Martha) and I (a Mary) are doing a little switch-a-roo for Lent. I'm a contemplater who needs to get off her rear. She's a do-er. But she points out in this post, that we haven't always been this way. Trying to think what caused the change for me...partially related to the men we married, but I don't think entirely....

I also think that my "Mary-ism" is not the really the Biblical kind. It's a bit more self-oriented rather than Christ-oriented, and so is not really the "better part."

Had conversation with my girlfriends last week about whether or not our mothers are the kind of women we want to be, based on the question "Who is your Star, or your guiding light?" Common denominator among mothers who were our stars was complete unselfishness. They're there when we need them and don't place limitations on what they're willing to give to their families.

At one point in my life, I might have said that I didn't care whether or not I became my grown children's "Star." However, I'd never asked myself who my star is. Undoubtedly, it is my mother, whose resistance of her limitations allows me to remove some of my own limitations. I feel more open to life, more capable of growing my family with the support of my extended family.

The other day, since I'd done my housework and prayer, and I wasn't on the internet, and since I'd already bathed my kids for Mass, and dressed myself, I had...TEN MINUTES WITH NOTHING TO DO.

I sat down in front of my little Pieta statue and looked at it, not really praying. But it hit me for the first time in a long time, that Christ suffered so that we don't have to.

For the past I don't know how many years, I have thought, "Christ suffered so I have to suffer too." It was my excuse for everthing: "Well this is supposed to suck because it's exile, and Christ suffered so the least I can do is embrace the misery of not ever being able to do what I want...Wahh!"

But the reality is not that I'm unhappy with life, but that I'm divided. I'm divided by concepts I have created.

In unifying my hopes to what God has given me, there really is no suffering.

"The urge that drives us to seek God is the same as the urge that drives us to smash things...It is the power that smashes through limitations, leading us either to become visionaries or to become vandals."
(Father Simon Tugwell, O.P.--on the ambiguous role of anger)


TS said...

I really like how you spent your thirty writing minutes.

Bill White said...

Heh - I clicked on the comment link to write "Ten bucks says part of this is going into the next Spanning the Globe" - and General TSO has been here already. That's some darned good writing.

TS said...

You know it Bill - I saved off some for next week's already. Glad to see another male member of the Betty Duffy fan club.

Dawn Farias said...

A friend of mine from high school keeps an excellent blog. One of the things you wrote reminded me of something I read at her blog recently:

One of the lies of the enemy is that to be obedient to what God calls us to, we will end up living in one of the worst places we can imagine, doing work that we find distasteful or boring, basically trying to get by being someone we are not. We fear that whatever we most don’t want to do, that is what God will ask us to do.

Your "Conversion of Manners" is an excellent idea.

mrsdarwin said...

Ha -- Darwin and I compete to see who gets more "Spanning the Globe" mentions, but the competition is more intense when we know we're up against Betty. You guys don't live all that far apart -- you should get together sometime. We ourselves are passing through the region in two weeks, but we're only there for about 12 or 15 hours and they're all claimed by family. Bummer!

Pertaining to the post -- I really enjoyed reading this in conjunction with Emily's Martha post. You guys are a great team.

BettyDuffy said...

I just removed my comment because it sounded so ridiculously bent out of joint about being left out of the Globe this week. At least I can look forward to next week. Why don't y'all Darwins just extend your visit to the region by a little day? It's not that long. Then we'll lure the General down to the tri-state area (after the Chinese Chicken reference, he might never be TS in my mind again.)

Julie D. said...

Didn't find an email for you but wanted to let you know that I get my comments by email so I know that someone (anyone?) has said something. So I got the comment you deleted about the big bang theory ... thought I'd die laughing! :-D

Joey said...

Don't forget the best quote that he (the bachelor) kept repeating the last few shows season: "I can't believe it's come to this." Why do we watch these shows?! lol!

Joey said...

Don't forget the best quote that he (the bachelor) kept repeating the last few shows season: "I can't believe it's come to this." Why do we watch these shows?! lol!

Emily J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mrsdarwin said...

Agh! No can do, though I really wish we could. We can't leave Tuesday because Darwin has to work. So that puts us in Cincinnati on Thursday, on which I have to see my brother before he leaves for Omaha, then we have to drive to DC on Friday for the Saturday morning baptism. Tight, tight, tight. And we're going back a different route, like the wise men. Alas!

BettyDuffy said...

Well, darn it. But I figured as much.

You have my prayers for safe travels and happy reunions.