Monday, March 31, 2014

A Tale of Two Plays

The first school is a private Christian school with a great drama program, known for its quality productions. It has a theater (a small black box theater, but still, its own space) with the resources to build extensive sets, buy nice costumes, and pay the royalties for well-known plays. It even has students receiving scholarships for their participation in the drama program. Play production is a class, built into the daily school schedule.

In the course of their preparation for the spring play, things aren't going as well as usual. The tech crew runs into some difficulty in its efforts to achieve the director's grand vision for the show. A key actor (one of those receiving one of the earlier-mentioned scholarships) is expelled and has to be replaced. The other actors are not completely on their game: lines aren't memorized when expected and so forth.
So, an email goes out to the parents of the play production class, regretting to inform them that the spring play has been cancelled two weeks prior to show day. The school's calendar had no room for pushing the date of the production back, and the director and administration felt that the performance would not be of a quality that would glorify God.
(. . . although, in all honesty, this parent wondered whose glory was really at stake here . . . )
The second school is also a private Christian school, but one just beginning its venture into the theatrical world. It is excited to offer its first ever drama production class (an after-school elective) with nine students and a novice director. They choose a play written by a school parent (royalty-free) and begin faithfully rehearsing once a week.
They have no budget. Zero dollars. All costumes, sets, and props are provided by parents of the students and volunteers at the school. The performance space is a youth worship area rented from the church that the school rents its weekly classroom space from, and they only have access to rehearse in the space in the last two weeks of rehearsal.
Two-thirds of the actors have never performed on stage before. The director has extensive performing experience but has never directed a play before. When they hit two weeks before production time, there are crucial costumes and props still lacking. The first run-through of the play in the actual performance space that week throws the newbie actors for a complete loop -- they forget lines, blocking, everything.
But they push through. They focus on what needs to be done and get it done. By performance night, they pull off an inaugural production for the school's theatrical department that surprises everyone attending with its fun and its message. And God was glorified . . . despite, and maybe even because of, all the imperfections.

Proud to have been a part of play number two. Just sayin'. Well done, Summit Christian Academy.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Showers of . . . Blessing???

In my nightly prayer with my husband the other night, I was about to repeat my standard “Thank you, Lord, for all the blessings in our lives” . . . and I was caught short. I couldn't say that. And it's all thanks to an article a friend asked me to read.

The author talks about how we (comfortable, rich Western Christian America) have kind of hijacked the word “blessed” and made it mean something it shouldn't mean. We look at the material good fortune that has come our way, for whatever reason, and think that we are blessed. That God is blessing us.
Who says it's a blessing?

Really, it's not just an incorrect way of viewing it, it's an insulting way of viewing it. If wealth, physical comfort, and security is a blessing from God, what do you say to the thousands and thousands of faithful believers in the world who have none of these? Why is God blessing me but not them? (Frankly, most of them are far more deserving.) Considering how these material advantages often make me self-assured, weak in my faith, and less dependent on God, how can they be considered a blessing?
They are not a blessing. Not in the way we define blessing. We've got to stop thinking that way.
I have friends struggling with medical issues beyond my comprehension. I have friends who don't know how they're paying the mortgage next month. I have friends whose marriages are falling apart. I have friends whose children have gone off a variety of deep ends. I have NO IDEA why I'm healthy, financially stable, and generally happy and secure today, but I'm quite certain it's not a reward for my faithfulness . . . or a sign of God's extra love for me more than anyone else . . . or because God thinks I deserve a life of ease when others don't.
It's not a reward – it's a responsibility. It's not a blessing – it's a burden.
This may seem like I'm being picky about semantics, but I'm going to start being more cautious about how I use that word. I'm grateful for the financial stability God has given our family, but God's blessing for us is not financial stability. God's blessing for us is the honor of having a relationship with Him.
It really does matter. How we talk about these things affects how we think about these things. If we sing that old hymn, “There shall be showers of blessing” (Does anyone sing that anymore?) and imagine money, friends, soft beds, nice cars, and hot lattes falling from the clouds, we are thinking of God as a jolly, bearded, behavioral psychologist in the sky who tries to control us with positive reinforcement.
No, no, no, no. The money, security, and favorable opportunities He gives us are tools He puts in our hands to use for His Kingdom. Tools for use. Not to “bless” us (the way we define blessing). Not for our pleasure and comfort and ease.
The joy, peace, and love we receive as He holds us in His arms – like a shepherd carries a lamb – those are the blessings. They are for our pleasure and comfort and ease. And they accomplish those things much more effectively than the money does.
May we use well the tools He gives us. And may we revel in the shower of His blessings.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Still Coughing . . .

I'm quickly losing faith in the medical profession. I mean, yeah, I'm sure these are good people, and I know they work hard at what they do, and I assume they have the best of intentions . . . but I'm not convinced they know what they're doing half the time.

This cough I've been talking about for a few weeks? This is typical of me. I get your basic common cold that everyone gets, and it cycles through all its symptoms ending with the cough. And the cough gets stuck in my chest and stays there. For weeks. I can't get enough air into my lungs. I can't yawn at night when I'm tired without coughing. I can't exert myself in any way without coughing. It's exhausting.

It's been this way for years. And it can't be something in my environment (like an allergy) because it happened in New Jersey, then in Sioux City, and now twice already in the short time I've been here. But no doctor seems to be able to figure it out. Usually, they give me an antibiotic (just in case) and some serious cough meds -- occasionally an inhaler of some sort. Eventually the cough stops, but never as quickly as they tell me the meds should take care of it.

Last week, I went to my new doctor here (whom I really like so far), and he decided to try zapping the nasty thing with cough suppressants and two different inhalers. Which worked! At first. When I went to Wicked over the weekend, the cough seemed to be almost licked, and I was thrilled.

But as the week has progressed, it is coming back. I have a doctor's appointment again this morning, but I'm not optimistic he's really going to be able to take care of this thing.

It was the same way with my sleep problems for so many years (which still aren't really licked, I don't think -- I just manage them sufficiently to get by). It's the same with this post-nasal drip problem my husband has. They go on and on and on . . . no doctor seems to be able to figure out how to FIX them. We can put a man on the moon (as the saying goes), but we can't stop my cough.

Which all just goes to show you, I believe, that Man is just not as smart as he thinks he is. At some point during the Enlightenment or something, Man decided that he was capable, eventually, of understanding all the mysteries of the world, and therefore controlling it all. We can heal every disease . . . prevent every catastrophe . . . end every conflict . . . cure every ill. We will eventually have the knowledge and ability to create a heaven on earth if we want it badly enough.

Only we will never have all the knowledge. And we can never have all the ability. And truth be told, we don't want it badly enough. I could never survive as an atheist. If I believed the greatness of Man was the hope of the world, I would be in total despair.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Is Judas in Heaven?

The other day, my youngest looked up from her homework and asked, "Do you think Judas is in heaven?" That woke me from my Sudoku stupor.

I had a quick response: "probably not". Only because there is a verse in John where Jesus talks about none of his disciples being lost except one. There are other interpretations of that, but as a rule, unless there is scripture that speak clearly otherwise, I try to take the simplest meaning of a verse as being what it means. One disciple was lost, and that would pretty obviously have to be Judas.

But I certainly could be wrong. It isn't that simple of a question. And I had a more important point to make with my daughter, which was that Judas could have gone to heaven.

That will shock some folks. Judas? That terrible sinner? The man who betrayed Jesus? Yep. He could have gone to heaven, even after his betrayal.

First of all, if betraying Christ disqualified one for salvation, there would be no hope for any of humanity. We ALL have betrayed Jesus in some sense. (Writing this post is bringing to mind a song from an old Christian rock group, Petra: "I wonder how it makes you feel when no one seeks your face . . . It must be . . . just like Judas' kiss." Insert awesome guitar riff here. )

This is one of the primary tenets of Christianity that so many people miss: whether or not you go to heaven has nothing to do with the good and bad things you've done in life. Nothing. Nothing at all. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nothing.

I realize that goes against our human instincts about justice, because we see heaven as a reward and hell as a punishment. But I'm not sure that they are those things . . . at least not in the way we think of reward and punishment. They are simply destinations--destinations that are fitting for the nature of those who end up there. A person who does not have a right relationship with God ends up in a place where they are eternally separated from God (that's hell). A person whose relationship with God has been put right ends up spending eternity with him.

Now, it's true that when someone's relationship with God has been put right, their behavior should change. Not because they are now trying so hard to be good people, but because their very nature has been altered (and is continually being altered), and this will show on the outside. But sanctification (that's the ten-dollar churchy word for that process) is not completed in this lifetime (at least, that's my take on what scripture says about it -- some denominations disagree). A person can be put right with God and still do wrong sometimes. Sometimes very, very wrong.

The actual act of betrayal, I believe, did not put Judas on the short list to hell. It all depended on the state of his heart, his relationship with Christ. It is entirely possible that Judas was quite aware of his sinful state and his separation from God (almost certain, in fact), and of his need for an outside mediator -- a Savior -- to put him right with God. And it's entirely possible that he came to a point of understanding that Jesus was that mediator, that Savior, and believing that what Christ did on Calvary applied to him as well. Yes, he committed suicide -- powerful emotions can drive us to acts of desperation -- but our emotions are affected by a multitude of factors and are not always indicative of the state of our soul.

(Did everyone hear that? Our emotions do not define our reality -- even our spiritual reality. I know some people who need to understand that today.)

So, no, I doubt that Judas is in heaven. But yes, I think there's a chance he could be. There's hope for even the most grievous of sinners.

And yes, this was important enough to devote an entire blog post to the question.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Saturday Night

Christmas 2013 just ended for me last Saturday night when my husband took me to see "Wicked" at the Majestic Theater. No, I had never seen "Wicked". Yes, that's kind of weird for someone as into theater as I am.

The evening started out with dinner. Since I picked the show, I let hubby pick the place to eat, and he chose a Mexican spot in Alamo Heights. And here's where our homebody tendencies show: we didn't build into our evening's schedule a 30-40 minute wait for a dinner table. Forty minutes? And then waiting to be served? Not happening -- so Mexican was out. We had Five Guys. Which I think I probably liked better. Mmm . . . Five Guys.

And it was a good thing we didn't try to make the Mexican place work, because as it was, we barely got there in time for the curtain to rise. Downtown traffic in San Antonio on a Saturday night? Unbelievable. We spent a full twenty minutes driving one block down Houston street. Luckily, I knew where a parking garage was and we turned off Houston, praying there was still room inside. There was -- at the very top. So we parked and hustled our well-dressed booties down the elevator and down crowded Houston street to the Majestic Theater.

Ah, the Majestic Theater! Beautiful. Just beautiful. Maybe one of the most beautiful theaters I've been in. Of course, I couldn't see much from our seats: the absolute top row of the balcony (the only seats left by a few days before Christmas when I received the gift from my husband). But I took a good look around at intermission. Bee-yoo-tiful.

And even that top row was a relatively pleasant experience. We had top row balcony seats for "Les Mis" in Philly one year, and my husband had to leave at intermission. The seats were so tightly packed in and it was so hot that high up that he was absolutely miserable. We had some nice cool air blowing on us at the top of the Majestic.

The show was fabulous. The theater was packed. And of course, one of the disadvantages of being in the top row balcony of a packed theater is being behind everyone else trying to leave when the show is over. But even then, the crowd moved along pretty efficiently, spilling us all back out onto Houston street.

Which was STILL crowded. And loud. Not until we saw some folks wearing ridiculous green hats did it occur to me that this was St. Patrick's Day weekend and maybe that accounted for the huge crowds. Of course, we've never been in downtown SA this late on a Saturday night, so maybe this is typical weekend stuff.

But if so, remind us to never go downtown that late on a Saturday night. The traffic!  Holy cow!!  It took us over an hour to move the eight blocks or so to get out of downtown and onto the highway. We sat . . . and sat . . . and sat . . .

. . . and watched people going into clubs. I've never been to a "club" on a Saturday night. I'm not sure I've been to a "club" at all, actually. I looked at these people dressed to the nines, a few already stumbling a bit, heard the music blaring, saw the flashing bright lights, and I thought, "There is nothing appealing about that scene to me at all." Nothing. I have an old high school friend who has played at clubs -- I might enjoy listening to his band sometime. But other than that, clubbing looks hellish to me from the outside.

Is this because I'm an old fart? Maybe. But I think even as a young fart, I would have chosen a quiet evening at home over that.

But young fart or old, I'll fight the crowded, noisy streets for a great night of theater. At least once in a while. Definitely worth it.

Friday, March 14, 2014


You might recall that I've been reading a book by Jen Hatmaker, 7: an Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. Ms. Jen and her family do a series of seven "fasts", one each month. One of those fasts was over possessions.  They committed to give away seven items a day for a month. That would be 210 items out the door, if you do the math.

By the end of the first week, Ms. Jen had given away 202 items just from her closet alone, so she did some adjusting to their numbers. By the end of the month they easily hit over a thousand—and still had items to give away. She wrote, "The volume created a pit in my stomach I can't shake."

Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:19–21).

Yeah, we rich Western Americans have invented "a thousand shades of gray" in those verses. It's amazing the excess we justify in our lives.

Our family did our own purge when we moved to San Antonio. We actually started when we were considering the move to Panama, but our smaller house here made the job a necessity. I took many trips to the Goodwill donation station down the street, and it felt SO GOOD to get rid of stuff that I hadn't used in years and knew I might not ever use again.

But still, we have a house stuffed with stuff. As we were preparing for some folks coming over the other day, I had the fleeting thought: what would a complete stranger think about us just from coming in and looking at our house?

Well, they would know walking in the door that we watch a lot of TV. We have a very large screen, and all the furniture in the family room is oriented toward it.

They would also suspect that we are book fanatics, because we have bookcases full of books all over the house. That would be partially true; I'm a book fanatic. Books are my one thing I hoard—I just can't bring myself to give away a book I've enjoyed. It's a part of me, in a sense.

They might guess we do more formal entertaining than we do when they see the good china on display in the dining room hutch. (Yeah, we really should use that more.)

They might guess that my eldest daughter is more into clothes than she is. If they dug into cabinets, they might think we played board games more than we do (actually, we should play board games more than we do). They might wonder at the several bags of stuffed animals in the attic.

Even after a serious purge, we live in excess.

I am hoping for my family to have an opportunity to do a mission trip overseas one of these days. We could use some direct contact with real poverty to shake us up, I think. I remember a friend telling me about her daughter's return from a week in Haiti. She found her one morning sitting on the kitchen floor, with the doors of the refrigerator wide open, sobbing. "So much food . . . we have so much food!!"

Lord Jesus, have mercy on us—comfortable, fat, indulgent sinners.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

You Are NOT a Redneck, I Assure You

My eldest recently informed me of a current trend of which I was unaware. Apparently, everyone wants to be a redneck now.

Does anyone else find that terribly amusing?
When I was in school, the last thing anyone would want to be known as was a redneck. “Preppie” was the in-look. (At the outlet mall a couple days ago, I pointed out to my eldest the Polo and Izod stores and described the look we strove for in junior high: button-down shirt over a polo with the collar turned up – and of course, all with an appropriate little emblem embroidered over the heart. She was appalled. You will never catch her wearing a collared shirt by choice, she insists. Hmph. I may have to record that statement for posterity.)
But now it's the in-thing to be a redneck. Or at least to claim to be a redneck, even if everyone who knows anything about you knows full well that you're no more a redneck than you're a bottle-nosed dolphin.
Supposedly, Duck Dynasty is to blame for this trend. Interesting, really. I mean, yeah, the Robertsons have a lot of things going for them. I would appreciate if my daughters strove to have similar values . . . if they had such good minds for business . . . if they had the knowledge of nature and independence the Robertsons display . . . if they had their sense of humor . . . if they created the same family bonds in their homes someday.
But those don't seem to be the qualities kids are striving for. No, my daughter's friends are now posting pics of themselves in camouflage. They're talking about hunting and eating wild game. Driving pickups. If they could do so, I bet the boys would grow beards.
(Ew. Seriously. I like the Robertsons, but Lord knows if my husband tried to grow one of those long scraggly beards, he'd be missin' some kissin' real fast.)
And this isn't a Texas thing, folks. These are Iowa friends. Maybe even some Jersey ones. It's one thing when a Texas boy tells you he's going shooting this weekend. When a Jersey boy tells you that, you start worrying where they're going to stash the bodies.
I suppose this shouldn't surprise me. That's what teenagers do, right? They try on a variety of personas until they find one that fits them. And the inherent insecurity of the age group won't allow them to try a persona that nobody else is giving a shot at. They have to find their uniqueness in a group. They have to express their individuality en masse.
Preppies. Punk-rockers. Emos. Greasers. Valley girls. Goths. We've all been there and done that. Here's what I'm wondering, though: how many adult friends do I have that suddenly bought something in camo within the last year?
Don't we all still exhibit this groupthink mentality to some degree? Which of my adult friends pick up new hobbies or interests or hairstyles just because they've suddenly become hot? (Who had a “Rachel” in the 90s when Friends was on? Hmm?) How many of us buy a sweater we see in the store which we wouldn't have had any interest in except that ten of our friends have recently worn very similar sweaters? How many of us added new words to our vocabulary in the past few years not because they were useful words, but because they made us sound hip?
We're all still teenagers, deep down. Still playing with the trappings – clothes, hairdos, cars, lingo, hobbies, habits – to find the right wrapping paper for what's inside. Still trying on personas to see what fits.
I'm not sure if that makes me feel young . . . or makes me feel old.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Why This Church Lady Don't Do Lent

My non-Christian friends will probably be surprised to hear that I'm not participating in Lent. Well, I suppose a few of them may have never heard of Lent . . . but most of them, I suspect, assume that's one of those things required in the faith. ALL Christians do Lent -- just like they go to church on Sunday mornings, pray before they eat, and vote Republican. The nuances between the different denominations are not clear to them.

Growing up Southern Baptist, I don't believe I ever heard the word "Lent" at church -- nor "Mardi Gras" or "Ash Wednesday". My church didn't even do Advent at Christmastime. Because it was never discussed, I never heard of a reason why we didn't celebrate such things. But given what I know of the Baptist Faith and Doctrine (and how it played out on a practical level), I think they would have said that it's all a bit too ritualistic. A gimmicky thing. That it's a "good work" people do thinking they're earning their way into God's good graces by doing so, even though most of them don't take it seriously.

(Funny enough, I had a Lutheran friend once who told me the book Pilgrim's Progress was too "Baptist" because it implied that people earned their way into heaven with good works. Yeesh. I was completely perplexed at that characterization. We sure get messed-up ideas about each other's denominations sometimes.)

In any case, I know where my Baptist nurturers were coming from. The only time I ever heard of Lent was the occasional kid at school who was "giving up something"--soft drinks, or headbands, or The Cosby Show. It struck me as gimmicky at the time, too. Certainly nothing of any spiritual nature or value.

And there's nothing in the Bible about Lent. Frankly, there's nothing in the Bible about Easter, either. Or Christmas. We're not instructed to set aside a day of the year to celebrate Christ's resurrection. (Actually, we're instructed to do the bread and wine thing whenever we get together to remember his death on our behalf. The Lutherans and their kind got it all over the Baptists on that one. Touché.)

But that doesn't mean the idea of Lent is unbiblical. As I just said, we are told to remember Christ's sacrifice all the time. And fasting is mentioned frequently. We're never specifically instructed to fast, but frankly, it's spoken of as if it is just assumed we will choose to fast on occasion for spiritual reasons.

My title is a bit misleading. I have "done Lent" before. I've had years I gave up something for Lent -- sometimes for a legitimate spiritual purpose and sometimes just because calling it a Lenten thing gave me a guilt trip if I backed off on something I knew I needed to do anyway. One year, I ended up writing a series of blog posts about why I believed in the resurrection that turned into a very valuable Lenten exercise (you can read the first one here; the rest you can easily find in the blog archives on the right side of that page).

This year, however, Lent isn't happening for me. Between a writing project I'm working on and the school play I'm helping with and my eldest's senior year stresses and subbing at my youngest's school and everyday hectic life and this incessant cough that won't let go of my lungs (yes, I'm seeing a doctor on Wednesday), Ash Wednesday slipped up on me unawares. I haven't had any chance to think seriously about what I could do for the forty days of Lent that would serve to draw me closer to God in a meaningful way . . . and if it's not doing that, it's not worth doing. Maybe I'll observe Lent in June, after graduation.

No judgment, please, Christian friends. My sins have already been atoned for, thanks be to God. Hallelujah, Thine the glory. Jesus saves, Jesus saves.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Science Fair: The Conclusion

I wrote last week about my daughter's science fair experiment. About what a monumental hassle it was. About how the results completely defied scientific research out there. About how science-disabled the females in our household are.

And then, lo and behold . . . she won her age division at the science fair yesterday. Holy smokes.
Now, I have to be honest, I did wonder if she had a chance at some kind of recognition. Even though her results seemed to be completely bogus (really, how did drinking water cause her heart rate to increase? At all three trials!), she was pretty darn meticulous about the whole thing.
And she certainly understands the scientific process, especially “variables”. Variables have been the bane of her existence for the past month. “I can't sleep later in the morning – that would be a variable.” “I can't eat more for breakfast – that would be a variable.” “Don't make me laugh so hard! I just drank the stupid coffee – and laughing could be a variable!”
With all her obsessive efforts at controlling variables, it is amazing how wonky her results were. Her ultimate conclusion from the whole experience was that humanity is just one big, stinkin', ridiculous variable. Next year, she'll study rocks.
Anyway, as I said, I did wonder if she might not get some kind of recognition for the quality of her work. I especially wondered that when I heard how behind so many other kids were on getting their projects done at all. Many had not even begun their experiments before last weekend. One kid in particular didn't start until the day before the fair, my daughter heard.
And this is where my left-brained, controlling, structured, organized self has to keep my ego in check. When my daughter was excitedly wagging her blue ribbon in my face yesterday afternoon, my first thought was, “It's because she didn't wait until the last minute. It's because she kept up with all the teacher's deadlines all along in the process, so her final product was complete and thorough, not rushed and sloppy. Being organized and planning ahead really does make a difference.”
I still think that. But that kid who started the day before? He went home with a 3rd place ribbon. As if he were thumbing his nose at me and my organized planning.
C'est la vie. We all find our own paths. The crucial point here is: MY daughter has a blue ribbon from a science fair. Alert the media.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

If I Were A Super Hero . . .

My decision a couple years ago to commit to writing three blog posts a week has resulted in several mornings of staring at a blank computer screen wondering what to write about.

Fortunately, I subbed in a sixth grade class yesterday that was brainstorming subjects for a writing assignment. They had to agree on one as a class (teacher's instructions, not mine), and they eventually had it narrowed down to three: movies (meh), outdoor activities (bleh), and superheroes. One girl complained that she didn't know enough about superheroes to write three paragraphs about them. I tried to suggest some different angles on the topic -- like, if you were a superhero, what super powers would you want to have?

And thus I have a topic for this morning.  If I were a superhero, what superpowers would I want to have?

Super strength?  I guess that would be okay. Thing is, in my life, there are not very many instances where super strength would be required. I mean, I'm sure my husband would have been most grateful had I been able to take apart by myself all the pieces of our concrete fountain in the courtyard when he needed to replace the motor, but such needs don't come up very frequently.

Invisibility? Oh, dear. I'm not sure I want to know what goes on behind closed doors when I'm not around. It may just depress me . . . or obligate me to take action I don't want to take. I think I prefer to stay blissfully happy in my ignorance. (Which, it occurs to me, is a tendency in myself I may want to examine a bit more closely . . . but that's for another day and probably not for public consumption, so moving on . . . )

Reading minds?  See the preceding paragraph. X-ray vision? Ditto.

Super speed? Aha! Now this one flips my switch! I can SO see myself zipping around the house getting chores done.  Dashing through the grocery store in minutes flat. Exercise? It'd be a breeze! Oh, yeah -- this one goes to the top of the list.

Flying? Hmmm.  I suppose it would come in handy in tandem with the super speed. And if I also have super strength, so I can grab my kids and their backpacks and soar across all the big city traffic to get them to school in the mornings. (They'd love that, too.  More time to sleep in.) My fear of heights tempers my excitement, however. And my dislike for the cold -- I bet it's cold up there.

What other super powers are there?  There are some more obscure ones: heat rays or freeze rays coming from the eyes.  The ability to climb walls. The mom in "The Incredibles" had the stretchy thing going on. These all strike me as cool but of less practical use. Yes, it would be nice to be able to reach the remote lying on the sofa without having to get up or something, but it wouldn't impact my life that much.

And now it occurs to me that super powers are not supposed to be about how they impact MY life.  They are intended to help others. Well, darn it. I suppose I need to re-think this all now.

But I won't.  Because I now have a blog post written. Mission accomplished.

Monday, March 3, 2014

White Rabbit

White rabbit, everyone.  I know it's a couple days late, but this is my first post after the 1st of the month. And I don't think anyone on Facebook got me this month, so ppbblltt.

If you're clueless, allow me to explain.

When I was in college at Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma (good ol' PU), I learned this tradition. On the first day of the month, you need to say "White Rabbit" to your friends before they say it to you. I know -- it's weird. But people got serious about it. Some, on the first day of the month, would answer their phone, "White rabbit -- hello?" -- just so nobody would get them.  And of course, there was the guy who would call someone at 12:01am to wake them up and white rabbit them.

I told my then-boyfriend-now-husband about the game, and his remark was, as I recall, something to the effect of, "That's really weird.  And dumb." And I couldn't deny that.  Nevertheless, almost every single month since then, he has tried to white rabbit me.

After a while he got bored and changed it up. "Roger Rabbit . . . what? Oh, I thought you said it was Roger Rabbit!"  "Bugs Bunny . . . what? Aw, come on, you keep changing it . . . "  One month in Hutchinson, I woke up after sleeping in on a Saturday morning with a sign on the door that said, "LEPUS ALBUM".  I groggily tore off the sign and looked at him questioningly (because he was standing right outside the door waiting).  He said, "It's Latin for WHITE RABBIT!!!" I married a crazy man.

As the girls grew older, they caught on and got into it, too.  (Well, the youngest is into it. The eldest is of that teenage ilk who likes it if she wins. If she loses, it's dumb and she wasn't even playing.) Nobody has tried waking me up at 12:01am to white rabbit me yet. I think they know better.  That would not be a bright idea.

Once I got on Facebook and started reconnecting with old college friends, I found a lot of them still do this . . . so then the game became posting it before anyone else.  One friend tends to get us all every month because she's pretty regularly up at 3:00am every morning anyway.  Crazy woman.

But I also found friends who were NOT from PU who played this game. Or a variation of it anyway. Somebody insisted to me once that it should be "Rabbit Rabbit", which I snickered at. Get it right, people.

But then a friend posted a Wikipedia article yesterday -- "Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit".  Apparently this is a long-time superstition that came from Britain. For decades at least (that's how far back they can find evidence of it), people have said "Rabbits" or "Rabbit Rabbit" or "White Rabbit" or some such variation first thing in the morning on the first day of the month for good luck.  (We didn't do it for luck -- just for bragging rights.) FDR himself was a rabbit-er. 

"Even Mr. Roosevelt, the President of the United States, has confessed to a friend that he says 'Rabbits' on the first of every month—and, what is more, he would not think of omitting the utterance on any account." – Newspaper article, 1935

And Nickelodeon promoted the idea for a while in the mid-90s, which was before I had children watching the channel.

So, it's not just a PU thing. How about that?

And so, white rabbit, everyone. Gotcha. Try it again next month. (But no middle-of-the-night phone calls . . . I'm warning you . . . )