Something Worthwhile from CNN?!?

CNN and all the mainstream news networks are so full of garbage that every time I go on there, I roll my eyes in sheer exasperation at the level of stupidity. But every now and then, someone writes a decent opinion column, like this one: “Three questions, from Tolstoy, for mindful parenting,” by David G. Allan.

These are the three questions:

  1. What is the right time to begin anything?
  2. Who are the right people to listen to?
  3. What is the most important thing to be doing at any given time?

I’m not a parent, but I thought all of the questions and their answers were applicable to pretty much any situation, not only between parents and children. The answers to the questions also depend on what you’re talking about. The right time to begin something could be right now, or it could be several years down the road, depending on how long the thing in question takes to begin properly.

The right people to listen to… could be your own intuition. In case of parenting, the right person to listen to could be your own child. Many parents think they (or a “professional”) know best without consulting the child to determine what he or she would want.

The most important thing to be doing at any given time, in terms of raising a child, is being present with your child. Not playing on your phone or thinking of the next thing you have to do. Just simply being there.

Perhaps these are questions to ask yourself when embarking on any new project, whether it be starting a new job, raising a kid, or doing something related to writing. It helps to take a step back and listen to yourself and think about what you’re going to do and why you’re doing it, so you can be more intentional about it.

Clarity in Modernity

Sometimes I get moments of perfect clarity. Everything makes sense. All the questions I’ve been pondering for many years are answered. I know the truth, even if it hurts. And yet sometimes, after having these moments, I ignore the truth.

No, I’m not on drugs. I honestly couldn’t tell you what brings these clear moments about. But I had another of them last night.

There isn’t a lot of permanence in today’s society, or even anything that lasts a decent amount of time. People are constantly picking up and changing jobs, significant others, hobbies, and so on. We are searching for something.

Last night, my friends and I were in church decorating a poster board for the ministry fair. We talked about how the church (our particular parish, not the Church) has been in somewhat of a decline. Around 600 teenagers/young adults are registered members of the parish, but you don’t see anywhere near that number at Mass. The amounts we are taking in during the offertory are dangerously low. People are leaving Mass early, and only a few linger in the vestibule to chat afterward.

Everyone seems to disappear.

Why? Because time rushes on and we can’t sit still. Why do you need God watching your every move when the government and your mobile devices already do that?

We can’t look our friends in the eyes because we feel the compulsive tug to look at our phones and see what people we never see in real life are doing. Then our real-life friends disappear, but we still have them on Facebook, so it’s OK.

Holidays become meaningless—just another way for the great big companies to make money and become bigger and greater. What are we really celebrating at Christmas? The birth of a man whose life is increasingly irrelevant to us because we have lost the meaning of sacrifice. The “I” is sacred. If it doesn’t work for “me,” then it can’t work, and I’m going to find something else.

My church is boring, so I’m finding another church. I haven’t gotten a promotion, so I’m finding another job. My significant other doesn’t make me happy, so I’m going on Tinder and finding another one. You know, I think I might get a new iPhone. 

I know I’m being overdramatic. We’re not all that vacuous. But I think we are turning in that direction. We are so accustomed to rapid change because nothing inside computer screens stays stable for very long. But with things changing so rapidly, there is no time to really think and ponder what’s going on and what the point of everything is. We’re just living for the moment, which passes and changes so quickly that we forget what we’re truly living for.

Everything’s Changing

When I was a teenager, I used to listen to Avril Lavigne. One of her lesser-known songs was called “Mobile” and it went like this:

Everything’s changing
Out of what I know
Everywhere I go
I’m a mobile
I’m a mobile

Hanging from the ceiling
Life’s a mobile
Spinning round with mixed feelings
Crazy and wild
Sometimes I want to scream out loud

A little overdramatic, but when you consider that the song was written by a 16-year-old, it’s not that surprising. But it is my default song when I’m going through changes, and needless to say, it recently became applicable again.

The point of this post is to say that I’m getting back into my regular posting schedule (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays) now that all the wedding madness is over. I missed writing so much that it literally made my head hurt, and I missed this blog. I changed both my website domains, so this is now “maajohnson.com” or “maajohnson.wordpress.com”—if you try to get to “maasmith.com” or “maasmith7.wordpress.com,” you will reach a very lovely error page. I tried to get the old URLs to redirect to the new ones, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work.

The secondary point of this post is to say that the wedding went well and was beautiful according to everyone who attended. I honestly had no idea what was going on because the whole thing went by so quickly, and I was so nervous I was literally shaking. The official pictures aren’t yet back from the photographer, so here are a few from the honeymoon. (We went on a Carnival cruise to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas. I had never partied so hard in my life… and by partying hard, I mean foolishly “dancing” to club music, staying up until 2 in the morning doing said foolish “dancing,” overindulging in food, and generally getting high on life because, you know, it’s not every day you get to go on a honeymoon.)

Crystal clear beach at Nassau… you can see a lighthouse in the distance
My husband in his natural habitat (there was a library on the ship)
Me in my natural habitat… staring out the ship’s window and waiting for ideas