Not for nothing do I choose to be an anonymous blogger. When you start ranting about “praying”, you better watch your back…and the “you” I’m talking about here is “me”.
So, kind of like my antipathy for “sweet girl”, which was the catalyst for my post regarding that phrase (making the point that there’s nothing wrong with either being “sweet” or being a “girl”, but there’s a lot wrong with using the phrase “sweet girl” ad nauseum), there’s absolutely nothing WRONG with praying and everything RIGHT with praying, if you are a believer, which I am.
Here’s the problem as I see it, and it usually encompasses all the areas in the post title: poetry, praying, and posturing.
Someone has a real problem in their life, states the problem, and then requests prayers on Facebook (this could spin off into a whole nother rant-post for Mrs. Hate). Or maybe they do a “vague-post” and just say “requesting prayers”…which is certainly problematic for a reader like me (the somewhat suspiciously cynical, yet kindhearted, sort), because then I’m wondering “are they such a dimwit that they’ve dreamed up a horrible problem like “I just don’t know what flowers to plant in the side yard…maybe I better request prayers on Facebook”, or is it a “real” problem??”. Hmmmm…nevertheless, the person is requesting prayers.
Sometimes the poster (for clarity here, the one requesting the prayers) waxes poetic in their request for prayers, but here’s how it usually goes…those who comment on the post now have a wide-open field to either say “praying!!”, “praying now!!”, “prayers going up!!”…which always reminds me of a bunch of jack-in-the-boxes popping up…or they spin like whirling dervishes and go forward into a most poetic rendition of grandiloquent and bombastic sentences. I’m not EVEN going to string together a bunch of what I would consider “grandiloquent and bombastic sentences” because, in all seriousness, I would get dangerously close to taking the Lord’s name and the concept of prayer in almost a vain way, and that is NOT good.
And what if you know the person, they have a real problem, everybody is posting “praying!!” and you DON’T post along with the herd, even if it’s all very legitimate and very sad?? And you are praying great drops of blood and sweat for them anyway, but just don’t care to hop on the Facebook prayer train?? THEN (the dangers of small-town life) “people” might “think” you, the non-poster, are so cold and uncaring. AARGHHHH. BLAHHHH.
When I ask myself what IS it about requesting prayers, using Facebook as the vehicle, that bothers me, I guess it comes down to this…I don’t believe in drawing attention to myself, I don’t believe in putting all (shoot, ANY) of my stuff out there on Facebook, whether good or bad, and I don’t believe in trying to be posturing-poetic.
Then my spiritual mind started rambling, and a BIble verse came to mind: Matthew 6:6.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
I’m no BIblical scholar, and I know it’s easy to take a verse and twist it to suit your own needs, but to me, this verse stresses “don’t pray in a show-offy way”.
I did a little Internet searching on this verse and found comments containing these phrases:
- prayer in public that is motivated by a desire to show off
- prayer promoted by the spirit of ostentation
- a flowery, public prayer might be based in a desire for people to speak well of you and how kind you are instead of letting God reward you
Law, law…and I’m not talking about policemen here. I’m talking “lawzy me” over the disintegration of knowing how to act.
Sadly, Facebook and its narcissistic, stupefying influence has taken over many people’s lives, and sometimes I feel like I’m a voice crying in the wilderness, but, as always, my philosophy is to stay private, avoid fluff, and be your own person. Maybe I’ve missed something, but I’m getting too wore-out with how to write this post without coming off like a complete unfeeling, hardass atheist to think further.
To soothe my brain, I will re-read “Valhalla for the Inarticulate”, a column by Taki Theodoracopulos. Quotes from the column and links below; Taki T. states much more beautifully and incisively than I ever could my feelings about Facebook and modern culture.
“And don’t get me started on Facebook, whose concept has been explained to me by my son and daughter.”
“The urge to blab and spill one’s innermost secrets to strangers is more than weird; it’s sickening. It springs from a navel-gazing culture of narcissism that would have made even poor Narcissus blush.”
“The slovenly emotionalism of Oprah has replaced privacy, good taste, reticence, and other such restraints people of my generation grew up with.”
my friend, if you’re reading this, it’s
writing about our fun times together
when you were a patent in the hospital
do you remember how we talked and laughed?
do you remember telling me about your boys and their personalities
and how sweet their wives and your grandchildren are?
do you remember talking about men and women
“honey chile, that’s just how men are”?
do you remember telling me about the cake that your mother said was
“a sufficient cake”?
I remember all those times, even if you don’t…
because that bad Alzheimer’s had to go and upset your brain’s wiring
Cornelia will always be the friend you thought she was…
a little thing like being called by a different name didn’t really matter
as long as we were having a good time together
The patient, Mrs. X, was the quintessential old-fashioned Southern lady. She was soft-voiced, humble, comfortable and gracious around presidents and their subordinates and captains of industry—and yes, she truly was around them—as well as those without a penny to their name. Though I could tell by our conversations she was an excellent cook, Mrs X would just laugh that sweet laugh and say “oh, it’s just plain old cooking like I grew up with”, but such is the self-deprecation of one who knows that there is no need to “put on airs”. She had the elusive talent of being both self-assured and modest, a personality combination we would do well to emulate.
To the patient, I was “Cornelia”. At the beginning of her hospital stay, Mrs. X called me by my Christian name; I might have had to remind the patient of my name every morning, but that was no problem. One day, however, I walked in and was dubbed “Cornelia” by the patient, and from that moment on, Mrs. X and “Cornelia” shared many confidences. One of the most poignant moments I experienced with Mrs. X was when Mrs. X was unsure about whether it was a good idea to have the CNA give her her bath before therapy. I saw the hesitation and confusion on the patient’s face, the CNA was standing there with soaps and towels and basins, and then Mrs. X’s voice dropped a little and she whispered “Cornelia, what do you think? Do you think this is a good time for my bath?” So “Cornelia” said “well, yes, I think it would be a fine time.”
What went through my mind during this interchange? How unsure, yet trusting, Mrs. X was? How hard it is to witness a human’s decline, whether it be mental or physical? How easily those without strong minds and strong bodies could be taken advantage of in all sorts of ways by those with evil intentions? Of course—all these thoughts and more.
I know that we can’t solve all the world’s problems, but allowing this patient to exist in these in-the-moment safe bubbles of idly talking and laughing and reminiscing with the one she thought was her childhood friend “Cornelia” seemed to be the answer to the problem of “how to give an Alzheimer’s patient a little respect and joy on just an ordinary day”.
Granny was probably one of the very few people who could smoke and not get lung cancer or emphysema or anything mere weakling mortals would. You see, Granny was tough.
Her fingernails may have been just slightly yellow, and her Buick and little back porch may have always smelled of stale Winstons, but I’m guessing Granny’s sheer toughness repelled anything bad catching hold of her (“bad” being cancer or emphysema or such as that).
Or, was it her pound cake that formed a shield against ill health??
All I know is, she could have easily cooked a thousand pound cakes in her long life. I should know…there was usually one on the kitchen counter on Sundays for strawberry shortcake.
And what’s interesting about this to me is, Granny cooked only ONE pound cake recipe her entire life. It was a good pound cake, and it tasted the same year in and year out…a classic, if you will…but I’ve tried all sorts of pound cake recipes and enjoyed every minute of it. Furthermore, I’ve analyzed this recipe-trying trait in myself and have decided it’s very obvious that it comes down through my mother and my grandfather (Granny’s husband), in that the desire to try new things and be stimulated and curious and restless and have challenges both large and small comes from the mother and the grandfather, not from Granny.
Granny was even of temperament to the point of being functional, phlegmatic as described in the Russian tea story, and pretty much devoid of curiosity…therefore, one pound cake recipe. It would be a disservice to refer to her as “shallow”, but she certainly didn’t display her emotions. And all of that was all right, because she was Granny.
You see, Granny was about 5’3” tall, probably weighed 100 pounds, smoked Winstons until she was 93 (and only quit then when the cute young doctor told her she needed to), had a worm bed a.k.a. compost bed that was beyond superb, had Guillain-Barre syndrome in the 1950s and was in an iron lung machine, got hit in the head when she was 80 for her pocketbook in a Greyhound bus station bathroom on the way back from visiting older sister in New Orleans (I cried when I went to Granny’s house across the road to check on her as soon as she got back, but Granny didn’t cry), picked pecans up in the sleet in November at age 93 (bending straight over from the waist to pick them up), shot at cows with a BB gun when she said they were putting their hooves in the cow trough and messing up the water, chopped snakes’ heads off with a hoe, drove home from her mountain house, a 6-hour trip, at age 89…89!!!…all by herself with double vision and said “oh, I just shut one eye and then I would see only one car coming”, and lived to be almost 100.
Why be creative and curious when you can do all that??
WIthout further ado, here is Granny’s pound cake recipe. Frequently served with strawberries crushed up with a little sugar and whipped cream for…ta-da…strawberry shortcake. It should last close to a week before a little staleness might start creeping in, but—as we all know from reading so very many cookbooks—pound cakes tend to improve after the first day or two and get moister and moister and moister.
GRANNY’S POUND CAKE
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/3 cups sifted cake flour
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Mix the standard way
Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 10 minutes in a greased and floured Bundt or tube pan
HATE POINT: I’m a little afraid of being bushwacked by a pound cake hit squad being sent after me, but…cream cheese pound cake and sour cream pound cake
LOVE POINT: loving that hopefully one gets such an interesting mix of character traits and personal quirks from all parts of the family gene pool that each individual will make his or her own unique way in this world, enjoy life to the hilt, and be thankful for their family heritage
IF FACEBOOK AMERICA GETS ANY FULLER OF “SWEET GIRLS”, WE’LL BE A NATION OF DIABETICS…FRIDAY RANT, PART 3Posted: May 16, 2014
“sweet girl” this
“sweet girl” that
“mean girl” thinks we need to chat
And I sincerely apologize if this title offends any diabetics, but there is such a strong association between sugar and diabetes that this title seems valid.
What’s wrong with being sweet? What’s wrong with being a girl? Absolutely nothing…both delightful states of being.
But “sweet girl”??
Now we’re entering into a cotton candy world full of fluffy pink clouds, vanilla ice cream cones, bakery birthday cupcakes, and cloying candle scents, a world where many of the female sex feel compelled to glorify other females with sugary, syrupy salutations.
We’re also entering the abhorrent world of lack of imagination, linguistic triteness, paucity of expression, and the “pigs rushing off the cliff in the Bible” scenario (also known as…if everybody else stuck their head in the oven does that mean you have to, too?).
Thus begins Part 3 of how Facebook encourages, advances, subliminally promotes, whatever you want to call it, paucity of expression.
If you take as a given that “sweet girl” could be improved upon, here are some alternate suggestions from Mrs. Hate for overwrought verbal sugar:
- You are so sweet
- You are some more sweet
- You are the sweetest thing
- You’re just too sweet for words
- If you got any sweeter you’d be a Baby Ruth bar
You may still be yapping on about how “sweet” this “girl” is, but at least it’s phrased in a little more original way.
And not EVEN going to get off on the tangent of…”her?? sweet?? everybody knows she’d stick a knife in you before the sun comes up!!” But NO…in the cotton candy world, every girl is sweet and floats around in some alternate universe of fluff.
Once again, with this “sweet girl” thing, I’m boggled—and masochistically fascinated—at how a phrase comes out of nowhere and enters the public domain. Phrases like:
- it is what it is
- reach out
- whatever floats your boat
get on my nerves in varying degrees of irritation (mainly a high degree), but there’s just something about phrases having to do with people that go beyond the pale for me. (See prior posts on “DH” (Part 1) and “strongest woman” (Part 2) )
It just seems like you’re not respecting the person’s individuality by referring to them with a phrase that you refer to…everrrrybody with.
Please, people…don’t you see that whatever sweetness a girl has is being diminished by repetition? That the phrase “sweet girl” is something that even the most witless person will eventually begin to stare at blank-eyed when scrolling through Facebook?
I don’t predict any monumental changes in folks’ thought processes and their subsequent written expressions, but this “mean girl” feels like, once again, she has a duty to call attention to and call out linguistic triteness.
Otherwise, two hundred years from now, Earth’s inhabitants will say “my gosh, was everybody that sweet except that foaming-at-the-mouth Mrs. Hate?”
if she were still alive, would she like being called
I’m guessing she would…
young-at-heart doesn’t even begin to describe her
she was another one of those repeat patients
maybe even a three-peat
frail in body, wild in spirit
that accent so rich and so exotic
to those of us with the country drawl
some moments with patients are almost
crystallized in time
her crystal moment was the time we both realized
that we knew some of the same people from her hometown
up the road
her wild spirit sensed it might be an interesting conversation
she drew those bony knees up to her bony chest and said
“oh goody, let’s talk!!”
we were both sitting on her bed facing each other
and as I looked into those pale little snapping blue eyes
and watched that mouth with its limited number of teeth
curl excitedly into a grin at the prospect of what she termed
I told her
“it’s just like a slumber party when you’re a teenager!!”
we forgot the thirty-year age difference
we forgot the hospital room…
we remembered how it was to pass the time
without a care in the world
This patient was WILD, and I say that in the most complimentary of ways. Slightly “dramatic” with her aches and pains (the daughter would sit in a chair and just smile and shake her head), but that was okay, because it was just part and parcel of her fun, intense, I’m-riding-this-galloping-horse-of-a-life-all-the-way-to-the-decrepit-end essence.
Drama also came when she talked about her family. I’d hear the this and the that, the good and the bad parts of her life, the patient would tear up and look all wistful and forlorn, but then…I’d see that snaggly grin and those inquisitive sparkly eyes and I’d wonder…is she enjoying my wonderment at her exploits?? Short answer…YES.
And a little gossip?? Lord yes!! “Girl talk” would be a euphemism for some good-old chatty small-town gossip. Nothing too spiteful or hateful on her part…and hey, I’m just sitting there letting her run on…but I’m thinking it took away the dreariness of being 84 and practically bedridden, so “judge not” on her propensity to swing the sword of alcoholism, affairs, cheating at Bridge, and all other things that make life so convoluted.
Bless you, my dead friend. You might enjoy knowing you’re in the spotlight today. xoxoxo
“I’m the strongest woman I know!!”
“No, I’M the strongest woman I know!!”
“The hell you say…y’all are weaklings…I’M the strongest woman I know because I just had a root canal…or changed a dirty diaper…or worked on Valentine’s Day in a flower shop…or chaperoned a class of first-graders on a field trip!!”
Get the ridiculousness of where this phrase could go???
So what’s up here??
This is what’s up with all this “strongest woman” stuff…you can’t read hardly one Facebook post without reading this phrase in the comments, or maybe in the post itself…”she’s the strongest woman I know”.
Oh, really?? REALLY????
I personally think I’m a strong enough person and have had some trying times that have strengthened my character, but I could throw a rock and hit any number of people that I know and say they are all strong. Is there a PARTICULAR “strongest woman I know”???
I definitively say NO, and for these reasons:
- You devalue all others and their strengths in the face of their trials by elevating one person to the status of “strongest woman I know”.
- And why is there never a reference to “the strongest MAN I know”??? Shouldn’t men be given the respect that they, too, might have awfully hard times that they persevere through??
- And not to mention this phrase is so overworked, so trite, so sappy, that it just shuts me down ASAP and puts me in a very Mrs. Hate mood over the inanity of many people’s communication skills and thought processes.
Did people go around saying “she’s the strongest woman I know” a hundred years ago, even fifty years ago??
I doubt it. The most one might have said would be “now that’s a strong woman” when she carried on after her husband was, say, electrocuted while working on the farm and she was left with five or six children and how was she going to feed and clothe them (this would be at a time when most women did not work “outside the home” and before the days of massive government assistance).
But flowering it up and gussying it up and hyperbole-ing it up with “the phrase I’m sick of hearing” would just not happen, in my opinion.
You took what life threw at you…it might not be fun, it might not seem fair, it might not be pretty, but you didn’t expect to be lauded and praised and made much of.
You got through your trials, or maybe your trials were never exactly over, but continued on, and you gritted your teeth and endured. You didn’t expect praise; all you might want is a little empathy now and then, or a home-cooked meal or an offer to do a chore, but that would be about it.
To repeat a statement from Part 1 in this rant series (see last Friday’s post): Our brains are in danger of turning into mush. Looks like it to me, anyway, from reading Facebook and blogs.
Coming up next Friday: Part 3, featuring “sweet girl”.
Now, how could Mrs. Hate find fault with calling a girl sweet????