Friday, March 21, 2008


Q. How come you don't update your blog very often lately?
A. Because I am sick, dizzy, depressed. But that doesn't mean I don't check for comments ALL THE TIME.

Q. So what kind of doctor haven't you tried yet for this illness?
A. I have not yet seen an iridologist (hubby wouldn't go for that).

Q. Which means . . .
A. Yes, that means that I HAVE gotten acupuncture. Last week I officially joined the porcupine club and I have to say that I AM A BELIEVER! I actually saw him for some tailbone pain, and not for the illness, but he has done miracles with that. No, he didn't put the needles THERE, but put them in my hand and foot. Amazing. I'll tell you more if you're interested.

Q. So what have you learned in this year (or two)?
A. I've talked a little about that before, but here's what I have to add a year later:
I don't know anything about anything. (Squat about squat.) But comments on my blog sure help.

Q. So have you received any "compensatory blessings"?
A. Yes. And don't use that phrase.

Q. What's wrong with that phrase?
A. I don't like what it implies about God. Like he has to make up to us for letting us go through hard things? Or that he likes to bait and switch: "Aha! You were asking for health but I gave you healthy kids instead! How do you like that?" But-- but-- I can't deny that I have received them. And that I treasure them. But I don't want to think in terms of trades. I don't think God would ever want me to be thinking, "These healthy kids sure are nice, but I would rather have health." Or, "giving up my health is worth it for these healthy kids!" Face it, lots of people have both, darn it! And lots have neither! I don't like looking at them as being connected and--heaven forbid--interdependent.

Q. You sound ornery. Don't you have anything nice to say?
A. I still believe in the blessings I've received that I will get well. I am just very, very discouraged. I still need everyone's prayers. Please.


Ang said...

I've been thinking about you today, praying for you too.

I, too, hate the term "compensatory blessings." Like God is up there with an enormous whiteboard, adding up our trials and blessings in big columns, making sure they all balance out. It's like when people try to explain how we are just the same as the pioneers . . . "our trials are just different! they probably wouldn't have wanted to live with all our trials!" but I'm sorry, I'll take dealing with policing YouTube and a pre-teen daughter who wants to wear eyeshadow over burying my baby in the middle of an empty field and continuing my three month starvation march any day.

Some people have things easy. Some people have things hard. Now I feel guilty, like I'm not being uplifting enough for you. But I know you know what I mean, Darlene. Sometimes, I suppose, there's a measure of comfort in thinking that life is fair for everyone. But I think there is something better--a measure of wisdom and compassion and knowing--that comes from realizing that sometimes hard thing happen. Sometimes righteous prayers aren't answered in the way you'd expect. Some people go merrily along their way in this life, getting hit with very little in the way of crapola and garbage, and other people seem to get hit again and again. Don't know why.

But while I hate the term "compensatory blessings," I think the wisdom and kindness that you exemplify through your trials ARE a hard won example of what you earn when you go through difficulties like this. You say you don't know anything about anything, but you must know that's not true. You're one of the most insightful, connected people I know. You're an example to all of us.

Zina said...

I've never given much thought to the term "compensatory blessings" at all, but I agree with what you're saying about God not working that way. However, *my* mind does kind of work that way, and I have to admit that I have done the calculation before that losing my health was worth it to get my beautiful children into this world. I don't know why I haven't thought of it in terms of God having taken away my health to give me my children, though -- maybe I'm more inclined to blame my problems on the mortal condition while still crediting my blessings to God . . . in which case I guess I'm okay with "compensatory blessings" if they're blessing God gives me to help mitigate the intrinsic woes of mortality.

Not that any of this is very logical -- it's just a description of the perhaps illogical way I think. And anyway, I don't remember ever using the expression "compensatory blessings," in the past, so I guess I can avoid it in the future, deliberately, as much as I have so far by unintentional omission.

I'm fighting discouragement this weekend because Easter is my favorite holiday and I love decorating for it and doing great Easter baskets and sewing wonderful dresses for my girls, but this year, with all that's been going on, I just wasn't able to do much at all. We normally do Easter baskets Saturday morning (this tradition came from my parents, who I think were trying to leave the more secular aspects of Easter celebration to Saturday and therefore focus more on the religious aspects on Sunday; I've continued the tradition for about the same reasons, plus I like that it stretches out the holiday weekend,) and last night I was sick and unable to go do the last-minute shopping I'd hoped for nor get the baskets put together. I do have a couple little things to put in the kids' baskets and I suspect they'll be happy with whatever they get anyway, so it's mainly my own disappointment I'm struggling with. And I'll get through it. Actually I think the hardest part is that I remember going through the same thing last year, and I hate thinking that I'll possibly be in this state (of barely pulling together a bare-bones Easter celebration) for as long as my kids are young -- so I guess my larger fear is that I and my kids will miss the fun while I and they are young enough to enjoy it.

At some point I'm usually able to just submit to it all (in fact, spelling it out like I just did helps a lot -- makes me see that the worst-case scenario is not really SO bad) and to let myself and my family enjoy the holiday even if I can't do it in as much style as I'd have liked to -- or, in other words, I'm able to recognize that having a discouraged Mom is more likely to ruin my girls' holiday than not having new dresses. But I still would have loved to have had better health and less stress in our family recently, and more time to do fun things rather than just coping.

Anyway, I'm rambling and I need to go do some laundry and take some medicine and take a shower and even maybe fill some Easter baskets. I'll be praying for patience and for healing for you and for me and anyone who struggles with health problems.

Betsy said...

I'll keep you in my prayers, Dar. I'd love to hear about the acupuncture (sp?).

Zina said...

I've now decided that what I was caling "compensatory blessings" could just as easily (and more simply) be called "blessings." (But then my comment would have been much shorter.)

It also looks like our kids are getting their Easter baskets on Sunday, for the first time. (But we're having a pretty nice weekend, even if 2/3 of us are sick.)

Mark Brown said...

Ornery as you might feel/sound, I just have to give you a tremendous amount of credit for the faith and positivity you display on a regular basis. In my own struggles, I get pretty angry and bitter. More now than ever before in my life. You have faith in the blessings Roger gives you and you believe one day you will be healed. You haven't given up or just gotten pissed off and bitter. That's impressive.

Ang said...

Zina, you're right. I do believe in blessings. And I do believe that in our trials, we can receive some of the greatest blessings of all (wisdom, courage, empathy). But I don't believe that God is incredibly concerned with making things "fair," e.g.--he doesn't make sure that all of his children have the same number of trials and the same number of blessings.

I do love how you say, Zina, that you tend to credit your trials to the human condition and your blessings to God. So many people have things the other way around, but I think that your way of looking at things is the most enlightened, and the most likely to bring you peace.

Happy Easter.

scott said...

Where does this term, "compensatory blessings" come from anyway? If I've heard it before, I don't remember it. I belive in blessings. I believe in consequences. I believe in challenges. Sometimes we act. Sometimes we're acted upon. Sometimes we create...something, and sometimes something just happens.

You about ready for me to come up and make you guys some dinner?

Jane said...

I'll keep you in my prayers. I've heard acupuncture can be a really good thing. Love to hear some more.

Jenny said...

I reject you accusing yourself of being "ornery." I've always thought of you as being "forthright" and it is your best quality, in my opinion because it leaves a big opening for the rest of us to be "forthright" around you as well. I remember those Berkeley days when I was always able to say things to you that I wouldn't dream of saying to other people. With some friends I felt like I had to put my best foot forward. With you, I always felt comfortable putting forward the less complimentary foot if I needed to.