I hope you all feel cute today!
Do you ever ask “why”? Why did something happen, why did I do that, why did he say that? Why? Around the age of two everyone seems to learn this word, and we never really give up using it. But over the years, our questions become more complicated. “Why can’t I have a cookie before dinner?” turns into “why do bad things happen to good people?” and “why do we have to suffer?”
The thing is, now that we’re not two anymore, our great big “whys” don’t usually have a clear answer. And we learn to say “I don’t know” just as often. I don’t know why. I don’t know why she said that, or he did that, or I felt that. I don’t know why awful people live to be 92 and wonderful people die from minor complications at 30. It doesn’t make sense and I don’t know why. If you’re like me, you don’t like not knowing why. It makes you uncomfortable to realize just how little you know, and how little you control your surroundings.
But that’s ok.
It’s ok not to know why. It’s ok not to have every answer. Sometimes, “I don’t know” it the best we got. But I believe that Jesus gives purpose to our I-don’t-know moments. I think in some weird way, they’re beautiful, because we’re reminded this story is bigger than we are. Because what if you did have all the answers? What if you personally had to give an account for every bad and terrible thing that happened? I can’t imagine that level of pressure – I don’t want it. My “I don’t know” is saying “I’m small and fragile, and there are things I don’t understand. But it’s ok, because he does.” It’s a final reach beyond ourselves, when we’re at the end of our rope. It’s a surrender of our perception of control to the one who actually has control.
This post is dedicated to my wonderful cousin Adam. I don’t know why you’re in the hospital with brain cancer right now. But that’s ok, I love you and we’re all praying. Keep fighting.
I love letters. Specifically, I love Love Letters. So much so, that part of my Fiance’s proposal included a beautifully written letter, that I’ve re-read countless times. There’s something about putting pen to paper and expressing your thoughts and affections for another that’s no only beautiful, but appears to be dying. In the age of tweets and text messages, are we losing the art of handwritten expression?
I’ve taken to reading some of the Love Letters of Great Men, and I think I’ve found a favorite. We all know Beethoven for his music, but did you know he was a romantic letter-writer? I didn’t. But it turns out he wrote the line which we all now like to attribute to Sex in the City, “Ever thine, ever mine, ever ours.” Well, that about sums it up. For marriage, for spending your life with someone, for giving them your heart. Ever thine, ever mine, ever ours. And of course, it helps this was the third of three letters sent to Beethoven’s secret love (collective sigh across the blogosphere).
Here’s the letter in totality:
|The Third Letter|
| Good morning, on July 7
Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us – I can live only wholly with you or not at all – Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits – Yes, unhappily it must be so – You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you. No one else can ever possess my heart – never – never – Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves. And yet my life in V is now a wretched life – Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men – At my age I need a steady, quiet life – can that be so in our connection? My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day – therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once – Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm – love me – today – yesterday – what tearful longings for you – you – you – my life – my all – farewell. Oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.
So I was browsing Netflix the other day (I know, this is how ALL great stories start), and I began to notice the “Because you watched” section. Now, sometimes this section makes absurd recommendations like “because you watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, you might like James and the Giant Peach! Or, because you watched Home Alone, you might like Paranormal Activity!”
I don’t know. Anyway, I noticed the “Because you watched movies with a strong female lead” heading and it got me thinking. It seems we’re beginning to see a shift in movies from the helpless Bellas in Twilight, to the fierce Katniss Everdeens and Beatrice Priors, and I think it’s an indicator of a culture shift. Why are we suddenly obsessed with these strong female types, who maintain their femininity while still getting the bad guys and saving their friends? I would argue it’s because that fierce femininity has been under attack for so long. And now we’re beginning to see it triumph.
If you know me at all, you’ve figured out I’m not a feminist. Yes I know you hate that, no I don’t approve of misogyny, yes I know what I’m saying, no I don’t think I’m setting the women’s movement back, and yes, I think women should vote. Cover all the bases? Cool. Here’s what I’m saying. I believe men and women were created equal but not equivalent. What does that mean? Men and women are fundamentally different. And pardon me but I don’t want to burn my bras and demand to open my own car door or pay for dates. I believe femininity is a treasure; something women have and men desire.
But what does that look like? Does that mean I think women should be wilting flowers and wait for a man to come save them? No. Although when I have to carry several loads of heavy groceries, I will from time to time remind my boyfriend I’m a small fragile bird and hard labor doesn’t suit me. Unrelated. Where were we? Yes, wilting flowers. Books like The Hunger Games and Divergent offer us strong female characters who don’t become manly to accomplish their tasks. On the contrary, they use their creative mind, gut intuition, and strong female strength to complete their missions in ways that only they could. And the men in their lives love them for it. Not because they’ve abandoned their girlish-tendencies, but because they exude a feminine strength and tenacity that’s so incredibly attractive. Little girls want to be them, older girls want to be like them, (or just be best friends with Jennifer Lawrence) and we see this shift back to appreciating feminine qualities instead of overcoming them. And that’s beautiful.
So thank you Netflix for facilitating my musings (and my obsessive re-watching of Mad Men). I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
Cheers to life.