Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Kristins, Past, Future, and Present

I used to read the journals of my younger years looking for a specific reference to a cultural event or some sort of writing that I'm sure must be there--and usually I realize that the event or writing that looms so large now, when I think back to a past year, either didn't register as fully at the time or I was writing about something else.

I wonder if Future Kristin will wonder why I wasn't writing about politics more.  I certainly can't remember ever being as interested in primary results as I have been this election, but it's not what fills my head during most hours of the day.  And I'm sure that some day I'll wonder why I didn't write more about the first female candidate who seems viable and my worries about her baggage--I just didn't anticipate that the Republicans would have a candidate that had even more baggage.

I wonder if Future Kristin will wonder why I didn't write more about all the bathroom controversies of 2016.  Perhaps she will remember that I didn't write about them because then the world might discover how neurotic I am about this issue.  I'd prefer not to have anyone in the bathroom with me, regardless of gender--but it's not because I'm worried about attacks or anyone seeing anything private.  I am a bit of a medievalist--I tend to think of myself as a soul trapped in a body, even as I realize the cruddy theology that shapes that kind of thinking.

If I was reading past journals today, I'd be looking for a reference to Daniel Berrigan, who died over the week-end.  I think of him as shaping my theories of social justice and Christianity, although it was through the way he lived his life rather than through his writing.

I think of the ways that I've tried to live my life as witness.  It hasn't been as flamboyant as the ways that the Berrigan brothers lived their lives.  We can't all be dumping blood on government records  and nuclear warheads, after all.

Last night, my spin class was cancelled, so I headed home.  Our Comcast service is disrupted again, this time the phone, not the Internet.  So I called and requested that my bill be reduced to reflect that I only had a half month of service--this was granted.  My spouse grilled the fish, and we headed to the porch for supper.

What a delight.  My spouse is finishing up a semester of teaching Ethics at the community college, and he's been having a great time.  We talked about how teaching Humanities in general, Ethics specifically, is the most important subject, about how the Humanities teaches students how to live an honorable life.  I like to think that our work is as important as the work of the Daniel Berrigan, although it's a different type of work in some ways.

And let me just contemplate this:  our work might impact more people in the end than the more flamboyant social justice demonstrating.  In so many different settings, we have both worked with students who come from a disadvantaged place in society--education may be their best shot at a better life, and we have helped.

In these later years, I've worried about the amount of debt that students take on as they work towards this better life.  I've worried about being part of the system that enslaves the modern student.

I suspect that Daniel Berrigan would lecture me about how I am complicit and therefore must make different choices.  I think of students who need more people like me, people who care about their success and want to help them through.

Ah, living the moral life--it's not as easy as my 19 year old self thought it would be.

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