October 11, 2010


I don't know about you, but whining gets me "right here" (grasping my throat). Yesterday evening, I went out to Fry's to get some soda, and I happened to pick up some extra items (like a frozen pizza for dinner, salad, and other small things). I was in the frozen food section when I passed a mother with her two grade school aged children. The boy must have done something to the girl (as I heard from the next aisle over -- he stepped on her foot), and this sent the girl into a very serious and long-winded whine-session. This girl championed whining, I mean, she was a good as Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory ("I WANT IT NOW!) She whined with the best of them, and my ears took the beating until I finally had to escape to the water asile (two more rows over). Gosh, you'd think parents would stop that behavior when their children are small -- this girl was probably 7, and she had some lungs on her.

I am reminded of her whine today, because I just did the same thing here at home (well, to myself really). I am whining a bit today, just being a sod over one of my graduate courses. I like them both, really I do. It is just that one is really, really good (right up my alley), and the other is well -- traditional and old-school English. My professors are good, very interesting, and generally responsive. This one class, though, reminds me of the course I took as an undergrad. It was the same period (though more on the poetry of the Romantic era -- early 19th century-- whereas this one is more late 18th century). That course was taught by the Dean of the English Department, and he was so tough on me. He "dinged" me every second turn. I had to be so careful to cite my references perfectly, and to not go too far a field. At the end of the semester, I was sure I had ruined my perfect 4.0 gpa -- but instead -- he gave me A. I was shocked, but I guess I did OK in the end.

I was whining over this class too, because truthfully, I decided not to pursue English because of that course (well, not true -- there were just a couple that I didn't like -- too stodgy for me). My Chaucer course is fascinating and the teacher is very open to interpretation. He corrects us, but so very gently, and generally likes us to go for it with our thoughts and feelings. I like this approach because that is how I feel too. I know everyone has an opinion, and scholars are the worst when it comes to opinions -- yet, sometimes you connect with a work and it just speaks something to you. Perhaps the author didn't mean it that way, but I think it is crappy to tell a person "wrong interpretation" when clearly they got some deeper meaning and enjoyment from the work itself. Oh well...whine, whine, whine.

Now that I am done with my little whine session, I am ready to start my day. I have a lot of reading to do: The Man of Law Tale (from The Canterbury Tales) and a very long journal article about this Tale and Antifeminism (38 pages worth). It will be interesting, and as an older woman, I tend to understand the writers (many so far) views that Chaucer was an anti-feminist. Most of his contemporaries were too -- it was the High Middle Ages and unfortunately, women were worth less than animals back then. Still the article should give me some good fodder for a short paper (this class requires a paper on every reading). So far, I have written on the journal articles because they are far more accessible to me. I am not a solid English student, and I don't get all the rhyme and meter stuff (I do, but not to the extent that I feel comfortable writing about it). I like to explicate based on my impressions, and journal articles do the same thing. They are in my bailiwick, so to speak (ever wonder what that means -- it means my specialty or area of interest -- I admit that I just looked that up online!)

More stuff on tap today -- piano lesson for DJ, house cleaning, and getting ready for my week. Pretty low-key stuff only.

One thing...I spent the entire night in conversation with the Lord. Do you ever do that? I wasn't really awake, I was sort of in this half-way sleep mode, where I was asleep just not deeply. Something stirred me, and I woke up enough to ask the Lord about it. It might have been some memory or perhaps it was recalling the events of earlier in the day -- I don't really know. I just remember waking up a little bit, and then asking the Lord for His help and understanding. He does that for me, and I think it happens this way because my brain is accessible to Him in this half-way dream like state. He can probed my mind, and I am responsive to Him. I guess I am more unwilling to consider things, well that is not really correct -- I think it is more that I accept things faster in this state than when I am fully conscious.

Anyhoo, the Lord and I had a good conversation about accepting people, and also about learning how to deal with difficult individuals (those boundary busting people who always want to manipulate and control you). I remember asking God how He deals with these kinds of people, and He said He just puts up His hand and tells them to stop. I liked that answer. I thought, "Yes, You are God and I can see You doing that!" In truth, God has done that to me too. Many times, I have tried to whine my way out of something or just thought I could be in control, and God has said to me "No, stop doing that." I then asked Him what I should do, and His response was the same: just tell people to stop doing that kind of thing/behavior. Just put your hand up and say "No." Politely, of course. No anger, no hurt feelings, just a calm "No" does the trick. I will admit that this is true -- if you can do it that way. Most of the time, we are so angry or hurt, and then our words don't have the same emphasis. There is too much baggage attached to them, and the meaning gets mixed. But, if we can be plainspoken like God -- use direct words, simple and focused intent, and gently tell someone to stop, we can effect change (at the least on our end of things). No one but God can change another person, but we can change ourselves, even if that means walking away or distancing ourselves from the person for a time (a grownup time out).

Well, that was the gist of my conversation last night. I don't really remember much more, but I am convinced that following God's lead, and imitating Christ is ALWAYS best, and in doing so, will net you the best chance of a successful outcome.

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