573: Unacceptable Risk

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In America these days, there is no acceptable risk for something someone does not find useful to themselves.

We all get in our modes of transportation on a nearly daily basis, and willingly take the (rather significant) risk that our routine daily trip will not, this time, come to a horrible, bloody end. It does happen that way for many people the world over. We take that risk with nary a qualm.

We take other risks with insouciance, too.

Have you actually read the warning labels that come attached to most small appliances these days? Seriously? I think we should just improve the gene pool and leave these labels off, thanks very much. WHO showers while using their toaster? Or tries to dry their hair while still in the shower? The awful part is that SOME one obviously did it, or there would not be a warning label for the rest of us…who don’t actually need one, thanks.

I remember the prenatal class I took during my first pregnancy. They were very careful to warn us moms-to-be not to have sex (immediately after delivery) while we were still in the hospital.  I’m not too sure about the other moms, but that was a totally unnecessary warning for me – any man who got anywhere near me immediately after delivery had better have had a shot of morphine, not sperm. It wasn’t actually an experience I was looking forward to beginning all over again at that point, believe me. It took me nearly three YEARS to forget about how much better it felt going in than coming out. Once again, this warning prompts the question: WHO did such a thing, and was she conscious at the time? And as for risk, pregnancy and childbirth are still (even in this modern age) statistically pretty high risk endeavors, and still women do it all the time.

Risk. Actually, I take lots of risks when I get out of bed in the morning. Your home is full of mortal dangers: the electrical circuits, the bathtub, ceiling fans, the stuff crammed on the top shelf of the closet, the pets that weave in and out between your feet, assorted cleaning chemicals which can’t be combined (that bleach  and ammonia thing gets a few people every  year), food left on the counter, or saved a few days too long in the fridge….you  just don’t know all the stuff that can kill you once you take the risk and get out of bed.

Let’s just understand that risk is part of living. The only way to eliminate risk is to die – and then you have to hope that the funeral home dude isn’t a necrophiliac. You just don’t know – and at least, at that point, you just would not know (or care much, either).

Let’s get on with the business of living – and be mostly careful, without being nuts about it.

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492: Decisions

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Every day brings decisions. Most of them are not Earth-shattering choices. What to wear. Generally, that one ranks fairly low on the importance list (unless you have a career in fashion). Some have potential long-term consequences: what to eat today, for instance, is not terribly important. But over time, with repetition of good (or bad) choices, that daily decision becomes vastly more important as the health consequences compound, with interest, over time. That is a daily choice with long-term repercussions. Some decisions are like that.

Other decisions obviously are more weighty from the get-go. Where to go to college – what major to study. Who to date, and who to marry. What job to apply for – and which job offer to take. Where to live. Whether to procreate (sometimes that choice is taken out of our hands by other choices we make).

Some of our choices lead to other choices, of course, and not just that ‘whether to have sex’ choice that results in ‘whether to have children’ choices. For instance, the ‘you choose a partner or career (or both), that is not conveniently located geographically close to your present location’ choice, for instance. This choice dilemma results in some difficult decisions, assuming you are not satisfied with doing things at a distance – which might work with SOME careers and a few (a very few) people.

You can move to be closer to the object of your desire (partner or career). Sometimes that solves the difficulty. Sometimes the chosen partner chooses you, too – and perhaps they can relocate instead of you, again, resulting in problem solved. That seldom works well with a career choice, but some careers are more portable than others are. For instance, being employed as a nurse is a universally necessary career with job opportunities anywhere there is a clinic, doctor’s office, or hospital. Pretty much anywhere. Some careers are like that – and some are not. You are not going to find employment as a nuclear physicist in Podunk, Iowa. You are going to have to relocate, or take a job they do have available there.

Where things get complicated is when you have a partner, and you need to move for a career change – especially if your partner is also employed. Whose career takes precedence, in the choice of stay or go? Or, do you become a weekend-and-holiday relationship? Is there another solution that will work for you both?  Hmmmmm…….decisions, decisions.

What if you have a career, and find the ideal partner somewhere else? What then? Weekend and holidays? OR, do you pass on the soul mate in favor of your secure, enjoyable, good-paying career? Just how fulfilling is your secure, enjoyable, good-paying career….solo? Hmmm…….decisions, decisions.

Well, conundrums and arguments aside, people of faith don’t always have to make those choices. When you surrender your life to God, you discover that He actually does have your best interests at heart. When these gritty choices rear their heads, you can seek His wisdom and counsel. He is adept at opening doors, making circumstances and disparate pieces fall into perfect alignment, and placing the right people in the right moment to have everything that He wants just….work out.

The hard part is trusting that He will, and waiting until He does.

Keep your pants on, Abraham.

487: Scratching That Itch

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People get itchy. There are things we want to do, and when we can’t get them done, we get itchy about it. It is like the physical itch we get when something tickles, or irritates, and all you want to do it scratch it. Nothing is more satisfying than scratching an annoying itch. Nothing. What is particularly frustrating about annoying places that are itching,  which are begging, clamoring, demanding to be scratched, is that most of them are tantalizingly, just barely, just so close, but just out of reach.

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This is true both with physical itches, and other overwhelming, non-physical desires as well. The physical itches are overwhelming enough, believe me. This includes places on the surface of the skin that demand scratching, and other physical demands, such as sex and food cravings, among other things which are based on the body. My ex-husband sometimes would get this intense expression of near panic on his face, and he would look at me and with a note of utter desperation in his voice, he would ask/demand, “Scratch my back, PLEASE!!” There would ensue a period of intense random back-scratching, following commands of higher – lower, to the left, down – until I hit the spot and an expression of pure bliss would appear, along with a heart-felt AAAAHHHhhhhhhh. It was nearly sexual, that itch-scratching. Seriously. Including the involuntary utterance at the climax.

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Artists, musicians and other creative types who are driven to create are familiar with the itch of inspiration, too. When the muse strikes (attacks), there is this itch to create that just.will.not.go.away until the beleaguered artiste gives in and does it. It is an act of surrender to scratch this creative itch. It is an overwhelming itch that cannot be ignored, and indeed, it is ignored at the artist’s peril. You might cut your ear off, you just don’t know.

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There is an idiom about the seven-year itch that happens in marriages. It actually refers to the restlessness that happens often in marriages when the two partners have failed to be diligent in maintaining the quality of their marital relationship – regardless of the year of marriage in which that state is reached. That is a frustrated itch for the relationship you thought marriage was going to be for you, but were not willing to invest and work for to achieve – and that is just childishness. In that case, scratch your own itch, and get off your lazy butt and re-romance your partner. Duh.

Not every itch deserves to be scratched.

 

486: So, What Is Love?

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I have been reflecting lately on love and how it happens. I do not believe in love at first sight. Instant attraction at first sight, yes – oh, HECK yes. I can fall into want in a freaking heartbeat. But, that isn’t love. I can know that I’m interested in you as an object of my personal desire at first sight, oh HECK yes. But, that isn’t love.

So, what is love? It quite obviously, given the above scenarios, isn’t physical desire – although physical desire is a part of love. A delicious, exciting, inspirational, wonderful, tremendous, amazing part of love.  But, it isn’t love. Neither, by the way, is physical proximity necessary for love to exist. If you can’t be faithful apart from each other – guess what? It isn’t love. Physical desire is a fabulous thing, trust me. I am a dedicated, convinced, transformed witness! But, it isn’t love. And personally, I don’t recommend that you base your long-term relationship on that foundation, either, from bitter personal experience. It isn’t love.

So, what is love? It is a choice made over time, developed with experience of, and careful thought about, the object of your desire. How much time? That varies. Sometimes you know fairly quickly, and sometimes you don’t.  Sometimes it takes more time than you really have patience for, but it is disastrous to rush it. That old axiom about marry in haste, repent at leisure is spot on the money. Unfortunately, I have a bitter personal testimony about that, too.

So, so, so – what is love? It is a choice – to do, and not to do, what? Well, what are the vows you speak when you marry? Whether you marry or not, those are the choices you make when you choose this particular human as your significant other, your heart’s desire, your soul mate, your husband or wife (religious or legal ceremony notwithstanding). That should give you a frame of reference for the choices that you make when you decide to “fall in love,” whether you make the choices consciously or unconsciously, formally or informally, in private or before witnesses.

“I, ______, choose you, ______, to be my life partner, to live together in holy matrimony, and these things I promise you: I will love you, I will be faithful to you and honest with you. I will speak truth to you in love; I will encourage your fulfillment as an individual through all the changes in our lives. I will respect you, trust you, help you, and care for you; I will forsake all others and share my life with you; I will forgive you as we have been forgiven; I will remain steadfast to you through the best and worst of what is to come, as long as we both shall live.”

Those statements are not feelings. Those are decisions, choices, commitments, oaths, vows. They are not feelings. Let me say that one more time. Those are not feelings. Feelings lie. They come and go. They are not choices you have made. Feelings are not love.

So what is love? Love is a choice you make, regardless of your feelings at the time. Regardless of how your feelings change. Choices remain – like love remains.

Even if you are not Christian, the Bible (as literature) is still profound, like all great literature that had endured the test of time.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 New International Version (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 

 

 

438: Female Costumes

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WHY are all the Halloween (and other event) female costumes for purchase always the harlot version of something? Harlot policewoman, harlot nurse, harlot soldier, harlot witch, harlot cheerleader (oops, I repeat myself), harlot nun (!), harlot teacher, harlot lawyer, harlot fill-in-the-blank. What is up with this nonsense? I can dress as a harlot any day of the week, without having to buy any stupid costume…..um……..never mind.

396: Womanhood, dammit

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I did not get the preferred choice in the gender lottery. Thanks, dad. You all do know already that it is the sperm (therefore, dad) who determines the sex of the child-to-be? Yep – mom just takes it (literally and figuratively). However, I am one of those women who has a disproportionate amount of testosterone. Yes, we exist. Explains a lot, huh?

Testosterone aside, being female sucks sometimes. Most of the time. The part I still have issues with, even after 54 years and a total hysterectomy (with bilateral oophrectomy – I read doctor’s reports), are the stinking hormones. I weaned off the HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) a few years after the surgery, because the stuff costs money, and I was about the “proper” age for menopause, anyway. Plus, I was living in Morocco, and could NOT get the replacement testosterone. It was the testosterone that made me normal, not the estrogen or the progesterone, which I could get.

The problem then, and now, and from what I am told by older women who have been through this crap, too – is that this will also be the future as far as I can see into the distance – is the freaking hot flashes. At least a dozen times per night, regardless of the temperature of the room (I have conducted informal research here) I have hot flashes that cause me to fling off the covers (all sweaty and disgusting), and then, usually within the half hour, I chill down (sweat can NOT be helping this) and have to cover up again because I am cold. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. AAAUUUUGGGGHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhh.

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An eighty-year old woman I complained to about this, and then asked, “When does it ever STOP?” answered, “I’ll let you know when it does…..!” Never ask a question if you are not prepared for the answer. I was not prepared for that answer, dammit.

Men do not have this crap. Unless you count having to sleep next to a woman who does.