Things I don’t understand

Today, a list of things I don’t understand (but I’m trying to):

  • Hand-foot syndrome.  Why on earth is the chemo leaking out the capillaries in my feet and hands?  And are the burst capillaries all over my chest a symptom of the same thing?  (My feet are so tender these days that by mid-morning, walking or driving hurts, and I’ve had to buy shoes with extra cushioning so that I can stand to pick up the kids from school.  They’re comfy as all-get-out, but yeah, not really my style.)
  • Catholicism.  I found a church this spring that has everything we wanted — a close-knit community, a school, scripture-based service, prayer groups, moms and dads who volunteer — and my husband and I can go to church with the kids and not have to worry if they happen to ask a question too loudly or have to leave to go potty.  There’s a down-to-earth priest, an honest-to-goodness community of nuns, and I love it.  I’m just working through the catechism to make sure that I can get on board, as some of the more extremist interpretations are not something that I’m just willing to sign on to. (We could talk about this a long time.  I’m not going to do it here.  Oh, and comments will be moderated.)
  • What to do about my NASA book.  It’s sitting here beside me, 560 pages of text detailing the history of an 18-year-old program and all its missions.  The trouble is, who wants to read 560 pages?  No one, that’s who.  Including me.  I wanted to write a popular-type book, not a tome.   But I don’t want to scrap what I’ve spent the last 2.5 years doing. 
  • The resistance to flexible work.  The more that I interview women in planetary science for our web series, the less I understand why employers value desk-sitting so highly.  If researchers don’t have to use equipment in a laboratory or sit in meetings every day, why can’t they (and we) do the work at another location?  Why does my suburb commute downtown every day, clogging the roads, getting in accidents, and generally wasting time in traffic instead of working?
  • Cancer.  I’ve tried for years now, and I still don’t understand a) Why I got cancer, and b) Why there is not yet a cure.

Things I do understand:

  • Love and friendship can help you overcome almost anything. 

And today, for me, that’s enough.


22 Responses to Things I don’t understand

  1. *m* says:

    I have some foot issues, and last fall I broke down and bought a pair of those Ugg boots that all the girls around here wear. They are so damn comfortable! Highly recommended as the weather grows cooler.

    Thinking of you.

  2. marty says:

    I got your love and friendship right here, Babe.

  3. Kendra says:

    I was raised Methodist and converted to Catholicism when I got married. I don’t agree with all the beliefs, mainly the extremists ones. My husband and I can argue that all day so I understand where you are coming from. For me, I think we should question what the church dictates. I don’t see why we can’t follow some of the main beliefs and agree to disagree on the hot button topics. I’d rather my children learn to question things they are told than accept them blindly. I will say that our church family has added a lot to our lives and I wouldn’t trade that.

  4. cagey says:

    I never understood the resistance to flexible work arrangements, either! I use to laugh when I was at the Federal Reserve. Man, they certainly did NOT mind my working from home in the evenings and on weekends, but from 8-5 on weekdays? My ass had better be planted in my cubicle.. *ShakesHead*

  5. Colleen says:

    You know that you can always ask me anything — as a cradle Catholic, I might not have all the answers, but I’ve thought a lot about Catholicism and whether I can assent to it, rather than just accept it, so I’ve had years of ruminations that I could share. But, I do think it is important to note that Christianity (and Catholicism in particular) is not just a “believe it and shut up” kind of thing. As the laboratory of the scientific method with the Medieval Scholastics, Catholicism in particular cannot reject reason. And questioning is part of reasoning. There are some things in Catholicism that are dogma (i.e., things we have to believe to call ourselves Christian), and there are things that are tradition, or that we believe the Holy Spirit has called us to understand in a certain way. And, the thing to remember is that the group of the former is much smaller than the group of the latter — there is always the possibility of development or change in tradition — a development or further understanding of sacred Scripture and Tradition. That’s why we all should always pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, one of which is the gift of discernment, and also for the Church to have discernment.

    Off soap box.

    And that thing about love and friendship — absolutely. Much love and friendship flowing to you — and please let me know if I can help with pickup, or drop off.

    • whymommy says:

      Colleen, your influence (and Jessica’s, and many others) has helped me see this. It’s fascinating — for so long I thought that THE CATHOLIC CHURCH was one monolith of adherents to tradition (in addition to being scripture-based and all the rest), but instead I’m finding no resistance to questions, which makes me very, very happy. And some things I understand much better, now that I’m not getting the view of Catholicism as filtered through the media. 🙂

      School pick up, surprisingly, has become a joyous part of my day, a chance to see you and new friends, and to get that all-important first hug as the children race into my arms.

  6. I am also a cradle Catholic and question constantly. I don’t think there is a denomination that I wouldn’t have questions/struggles/disagreements with. I think those of us who question play an important role in the evolution of (struggling for the right words here) applying faith in the modern world. There are also many levels of conservatism within the Catholic church, so it takes some questioning to find your niche.

    I can’t help much with the others, but the love and friendship? I got your back on that one!

  7. Sunday says:

    I was raised Catholic and then left the church when I was 17. I floundered for a number of years before coming back to my faith in my early twenties. In doing so I chose the relationship with Christ over any a specific church’s doctrine.
    Today I attend a church but my faith is most importantly alive in me… and not hinged on the building I worship in.

    I am sending you loads of prayers and friendship today and always Susan!

  8. Mary says:

    Hi Susan — I struggle with many of the same things you do about the Catholic Church. I drive by the one closest to me to one that does allow more questions and almost seems to invite them (but not as much as the one I loved in Georgetown where my kids were baptized but which doesn’t have any parking).

    I still cling to what my mother said years ago when faced with folks who did not welcome questioning/disagreement “I will not let those people (extremists) hijack my church.”

  9. sutari says:

    Two of your things caught my eye.

    1. I am not Catholic. But I married a Catholic, who promised to raise our children Catholic. I figure something (which he gives) is better than nothing (which I would give), so am cool with that. We were not thrilled with the public school, and sending our older girl to Catholic school also got us out of having to do evening CCD – double bonus. The unexpected benefit? A close-knit community, and a school that teaches values and morales in a way public school maybe just can’t. I go to Mass every week, sing a lot, am silent during the prayers I can’t bring myself to say. I get out of it what I want, and ignore what I don’t like (and there is stuff I don’t like). I will not “join” because that would be simply too hypocritical of me. But I participate as fully as I can. So welcome. (now, if someone would explain this whole Mary thing to me….)

    2. Telecommuting. I understand all the good reasons for telecommuting. With technology, there really is no reason I can’t do much of my job from home. But let me just say, in August we moved to new offices. The layout is very different – much more rabbit-warren like, no central hall. We are also no longer across the street from our customers. And guess what? I am unhappy. I feel like I never see anyone anymore. I miss the random conversations. And those are not just conversations about what we did last weekend, whether the Nationals might win again, etc. They are the “hey, guess what happened at my last meeting?”. And, “I noticed that this works this way now, did something change in the database?”‘ And “hey, we expect to have a new solicitation out in a couple weeks, I guess I need a task for that, don’t I?”. I have heard the term “management while walking around”. I think “working while walking around” also applies. At least for my job. That is why I commute 50 miles each way.

  10. elesha says:

    Hi there
    I’m catholic however I feel no one denomination has it all down pat. so as long as there is more you like than dislike about the catholic church than I think that’s ok. I think the church needs to loosen up on some of its “rules” ie contraception. As much as I would love ten kids I just cant have ten kids.
    Trust your instincts they haven’t led you wrong yet.x

  11. Becky says:

    The last 3 of the harry Potter books were well over 560 pages. Teamof Rivals is 749 pagesLadies of Liberty (Cokie roberts) is 400 pages, and any number of engaging books are over 500 pages. It’s the style and content not the length that matters. I am not a scientist, but I am a big fan of science, especially from the standpoint of history. I would read it.
    As for the other things, I question the reistance to flexible work schedules as well. And I question Cancer. Submit the book. work with an deditor. Get it published!

  12. I think the list of things you do understand is much much bigger than the other list, even if it’s only one line long 🙂
    It sounds like you’ve found a lovely church community (and to me that’s more important than the denomination). Best of luck with the book. I would read it. But perhaps a really good editor could help you shape it to be what you want without feeling like you’re losing too much work?

  13. Delora says:

    I love you. That is all.

  14. sutari says:

    Oh, and as for the book. Think end notes. If I know you, you have a popular book full of “supporting evidence”. So move all the supporting evidence, all the statistics, all the ‘facts’, to a large section at the end, in smaller font, that most people won’t read, but which will be there for the people who DO want to see it.

  15. Margaret says:

    There are many Catholics– cradle and convert– who feel the same revulsion to many of the church’s social edicts. As a fallen-away-cradle-and-then-returned Catholic, I take comfort from the fact that my church has a long history of being on the wrong side of social issues and then waking up one day to the truth, and I have confidence that the same will be true one day of the hard-line stances the church now takes. Selling indulgences is, for instance, neither more nor less stupid than condemning homosexuality, or refusing to ordain women, or outlawing artificial birth control, etc. Even if the church hierarchy hasn’t figured that out yet, it will in time. I have faith.

  16. Spacemom says:

    After many years of trying, I FINALLY got through the request to work at home. The note I got with the approval was terrible. It was rude and assumed that working from home= not working.

    I find it is not the employers that are preventing me from working at home, it is the HR group. This makes me sick. THe HR group constantly expects us to work 8:45-5:15. M-F. Hello? We don’t turn off the spacecraft at 5:15 and let it sit over the weekend. We don’t stop making command loads for Targets of opportunity because we can’t put it on our time sheets.

    I hope you can solve your foot issues.

    I don’t think there is really a why to cancer. It is more of an is thing.

    I cannot comment on the Church. I have given up on religion and have decided that atheism is for me. It makes me happy.

  17. Stacy says:

    I don’t comment enough but I read everything.
    Thinking of you and wishing you positive energy and thoughts. 🙂

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