Mary Beth Writes

I mentioned to Len this morning that this year I am going to make a New Year’s resolution. Usually I don’t make resolutions because I don’t believe people change (very much) by determining to “do better starting tomorrow.”  The person who works mightily to stop eating cookies tonight - while there are still cookies in the house - is probably going to become healthier than the person who is going to Stop Eating All the Sugar and Only Eat Roasted Brussel Sprouts … starting tomorrow.  Don’t ask me how I know.

So when I mentioned to Len that I am going to try to become more stubborn in 2018, his first response was so much laughter he had to take off his glasses and wipe his eyes on the neck of his sweater.

Apparently, after 30-some years living with me, he doesn’t really see me as a pushover?  I can see how he might have this opinion. There have been some moments….

But this is what I have been thinking about this week.

Stubbornness is one of those attributes where we pretend it is an affront against a person’s character, but is in fact – it is usually a compliment.

We sigh and say the toddler is stubborn, but what we mean is that child is exhausting us but we are glad she is that way.

We say that boy is stubborn, but we are glad he keeps playing basketball, or working on his robot team, or refuses to give up on his friends even when his friends alarm us. 

We admire people who have worthy goals towards which they keep working until they get what they need and want.

But I think most people are stubborn the way I am.  I push on behalf of people I like and love.  If you are my kid, I will push you hard, and then I will push hard at the institutions around you who are not giving you (in my opinion) a fair shake.

But being stubborn on our own behalf?  We have to believe that what we want is worth our attention and effort.  We have to have the courage it takes to stick to a person, project, or action that we are not 100% sure is the right person, project, or action.  We have to believe in what we want, even when we are smart enough to know there are almost always choices and options. We have to have courage to stick with our best idea and plow ahead.

That is the territory I want to stake out. That when a project is hard, to not find an easier or different project to do. Sometimes people have complimented me by noting, “How much you do…”  I generally know what I was avoiding while I did the thing people noticed. 

This year I am going to work at having enough courage to stick to hard and interesting projects and to say no to my own imagination when it wants to distracts me with unnecessary tasks.

(No, I don’t need to paint the hallway, or leave this paragraph to wipe the kitchen counters, or the other cool ideas I can always dream up - but you get the gist.) 

My resolution is to be more stubborn. Being stubborn requires slow, persistent courage. To be courageously stubborn on behalf of one’s own visions, hopes, arguments, and mission – there is a scary but interesting resolution. 

Let’s see how it goes.

Are you making a resolution this year?

Comments

I am forming the very same resolution, and you put it so well. As part of working with a spiritual director I've explored the Enneagram as a way of understanding my personality (again? still?) at this stage of my life, moving over the next five years from my current work as a pastor to working, but differently. I tend to not be stubborn on my own behalf, but stubbornness will be needed if I want to launch myself, moaning and bitching or cheering and sighing in relief probably, over this particular finish line and onto a new, exciting, scary path. So yes, stubborn will do nicely.

You go, Girl. I grinned largely because I can imagine Len throwing back his head and laughing u til he cries. I don’t think I am going to make a resolution this year - but, I am going to try and take care of myself better. Physically, and mentally - so, I guess that is a resolution u can periodically remind me of

Yes, isn't it amazing that at this point in our lives, we're still working on this stuff? But we are, so there you go.

Love the photo.

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Let's go to Canada. It will be beautiful and convenient and nothing will get too crazy.

Hi! Len and I returned home at 1:30AM from our 15-day road trip through eastern Canada and Maine and more.  

In case you ever wondered, you CAN go to the “Glazed and Confused” donut shop in Syracuse, NY at 9 in the morning, peruse the  Erie Canal museum https://eriecanalmuseum.org/ and then drive back in Waukesha - all in one 16-hour day. We are generally closer to interesting places than we know.

But I get ahead of myself.

An afternoon in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Sault is a French word that mean topsy-turvy as in the rapids on the St. Mary river that tumbles between the US and Canada. Or summersaults. Isn’t that cute?

We walked a lot that first day. We thought the Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site; which is two old houses that we wanted to see, were just around the corner from where we parked. Nope; more like two miles there and two miles back.  But it was a brisk day and after our hot, humid Wisconsin summer it was delicious to wear a jacket and not sweat.

Mountain Top Toddler

We drove to Chicago to help care for our 2-year old granddaughter. There is a lot going on in their family as is true of any family with a toddler, a new infant, and two working parents. Such as; my daughter went back to work the same week their daycare center closed for a 10-day break. A perfect storm of domestic hoopla. 

We only watched her from 7:30AM until 4PM on Monday and Tuesday. When our son-in-law came home from work, he took over. Other relatives are watching her the next few days. 

Here are three things I noticed about taking care of a toddler.

"Death Comes for the Archbishop" and How to drive to the Y without a map.

I read Willa Cather’s “Death Comes for the Archbishop” when I was in high school. I heard it was an important book which made me curious (still does), so I borrowed it from the library and read the whole thing.

It was mud. I didn’t care about the characters; two middle-aged priests who go to the American southwest to build and strengthen the Catholic church. Snooze. Nothing cohesive happens. They do a bunch of walking around in the desert followed by episodes of trying to be helpful a few days here, a few years there. Yawn.

When Weaving is NOT a Metaphor

I wrote this 12 years ago.  It's long and even I get confused as to what I wrote when one gets about half way through this  - and I was there!   But some of you will be interested to read how those "ethnic weavings" from Guatemala begin.  Next time you buy something hand woven, for less than $20, you will understand that price is not right.

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